Pablo has edge on Winston

Pablo Barrera was in the thick of the action as his Mexico side warmed up for the CONCACAF Gold Cup with a 3-0 defeat of Winston Reid's New Zealand on Wednesday night.

The friendly in Denver, Colorado was the final warm-up match for the North American side before they begin their continental campaign at the weekend. Mexico were always in command and, with strong support in the crowd, had the match won by half-time.

Barrera was a constant threat on the right wing, and made the third goal for Aldo de Nigris just before the interval after two earlier efforts from Giovani Dos Santos. It was a strong display for the Hammers man, who could be a key man in the finals that take place across the United States between 5-25 June.

The 23-year-old has been capped more than 30 times and is expected to be one of the first names on Jose Manuel de la Torre's teamsheet when Mexico open their Gold Cup challenge against El Salvador in Arlington, Texas, on Sunday.

The group stage also sees Mexico face Cuba and Costa Rica. "I am looking forward to it," said Barrera. "You need to be at your best if you want to be in the squad for the Gold Cup. We have talented players with Mexico. Our team is one that is improving so we just need to prove that on the pitch now.

"We need to do things right as we did in the last tournament. We want to keep the title. It's a tough tournament but we just need to work hard."