Mexico vs. Costa Rica: 8 Things We Learned from El Tri's Win
On Friday night, Mexico defeated Costa Rica 2-0 in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying.
El Tri got goals from Carlos Salcido and Jesus Zavala during their road win in San Jose.
With the win, Mexico separated themselves from the pack in Group B as they now sit on top of the group with nine points.
Now, all Mexico needs is one win in three matches to advance to the final round of qualifying.
For Costa Rica, they are still safe in second place with four points, but they will have to get some results in their next three matches to advance to the final round.
Here are eight things that we learned about both sides from Friday's 2-0 win by Mexico.
Mexico Is Going to Win Group B Easily
If this was not a fact before Friday's match, it is a fact after the 2-0 win over Costa Rica.
El Tri were the strong favorites to win the group before play even started and with three wins in three matches, they are already close to clinching first place in the group.
With Costa Rica in second with four points and El Salvador and Guyana struggling to even beat each other, there are no challengers to Mexico's throne.
If Mexico beats Costa Rica on Tuesday at Azteca, it will give El Tri 12 points and a place in the final round, also known as the hexagonal round due to it having six teams.
Costa Rica Are Still Safe to Advance to Final Round
After the loss on Friday night, Costa Rica still sit in second place with four points in Group B.
Most people expected them to lose both games to Mexico, with the second game coming up on Tuesday.
After Tuesday's match at Azteca, two matches remain for the second place team, one at El Salvador and one at home with Guyana.
The match against Guyana is as close to a guaranteed win as you can get.
The match against El Salvador on the road will be a tough one but even if they only take a draw out of that match, Costa Rica should be in good shape.
Tuesday's Match in Mexico Will Result in Same Outcome
On Tuesday, Costa Rica will travel to the fortress known as Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.
It will be Mexico's first match at their home stadium since their loss to the United States in August.
Tuesday's match will only be the third time that El Tri has played at Azteca this season and they will be looking to make their fans proud again after failing to beat their CONCACAF rivals last month.
The final score on Tuesday may end up being worse as Mexico are at home and will be motivated by the home crowd to pile on the goals.
No Gio, No Problem
The one glaring omission from the Mexico roster for the two Costa Rice matches was midfielder Giovani dos Santos.
Dos Santos, who has been one of the key figures for El Tri for the past few years, was not on the roster due to an injury he picked up at the Olympics.
With the advancement to the final round imminent, dos Santos may not be on the Mexico roster for the final two matches of the third round in October as El Tri may look to give younger players some experience.
Andres Guardado Can Fill in for dos Santos as Mexico's Star Player
With the absence of Dos Santos, someone had to step up and be the best Mexican player on the pitch.
On Friday night, Andres Guardado was that player.
Both goals by El Tri were set up by corner kicks taken by Guardado.
Guardado has always been one of the top players for Mexico, and with their current best player out of the squad, the Valencia midfielder stepped up in his absence.
On Tuesday, look for Guardado to play the same role and for Marco Fabian to also play a bigger part in the Mexico gameplan.
Mexico's Loss to United States Meant Nothing
After Mexico's 1-0 loss at home to the United States in August, everyone wondered what effect it would have on the Mexican team.
That question was answered in a dominant fashion on Friday as Mexico took care of Costa Rica and the United States lost to Jamaica.
Although the win for the Untied States was their first ever in Mexico, it was just a friendly.
When it mattered on Friday in qualifying, the best team in CONCACAF were able to win easily.
When the final round of qualifying comes around and the two top nations in CONCACAF play each other in a competitive match at Azteca, then we will see if the United States will be able to beat Mexico.
Carlos Salcido's Goal Was Very Unorthodox
Carlos Salcido has played in over 100 matches for Mexico in his career, and he probably has never scored a more unorthodox goal.
Salcido scored the first goal of the match in the 43rd minute off of Andres Guardado's corner kick.
At the time of his shot, Salcido's right foot was almost level with chest, a position where not many players score a goal from.
Mexico Is CONCACAF's Best Hope to Win World Cup
There is one thing that has been debated for the past month after Mexico's Olympic gold medal and that is if they can win the World Cup in Brazil.
El Tri may not be the best team in the world, but they are surely the best team in CONCACAF at the moment.
The United States are too inconsistent at the moment to even contend for a World Cup, but if Mexico has all their pieces together, they could make a run in Brazil.
However, there is still a year and a half along with plenty of football to still be played until the next edition of the world's most popular sporting event begins and many things can happen from now until then.
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