Mexico vs. Costa Rica: 6 Things We Learned
Mexico had never tied three consecutive games at the Azteca in World Cup qualifiers before. El Tri received Costa Rica on home turf only to continue its winless drought.
The crisis is so deep that Mexico has not scored at the Azteca since September 2012, when the team defeated Costa Rica 2-0 in the third round of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifier.
The fans that attended the stadium in hopes to see El Tri win demanded the sacking of the manager, José Manuel de la Torre, chanting, “Chepo out, Chepo out.”
A tough night for Mexico, especially if you consider that it has one more game in its account, compared to the other Hexagonal contenders.
Here are six things we learned from the game.
A Bunch of Clueless Players
This is supposed to be football, which means teamwork is a must. These guys are not doing their jobs. They run, they shoot, they attack, all of the above, just because.
There is no clear strategy on the pitch. The players are desperate to score, which makes them nervous.
You can tell how clueless they are because they play fast but without thinking their moves through. They want to get things done quickly, so they do not control the ball, they lose it constantly and the midfield is a disgrace.
The manager needs to work on this closely and come up with a strategy soon.
Predictable in Every Line
Mexico has two scenarios when attacking.
A) Jesus Corona grabs the ball and clears it. The player that grabs sends it to the wingers. They take their chances with a cross, in hopes that the strikers have a decent chance to shoot.
B) The team has a set piece. Whoever takes it sends a cross to the heart of the box; those inside try a header.
That is it. Seriously, any squad that has played against Mexico has realized that cutting the attack is somewhat easy. But most importantly, they know how to hurt El Tri. The counterattacks seem to be the perfect fit for this purpose.
As long as Mexico keeps adjusting to the rival and does not set the rhythm of the game, this will not change and the victories will not come.
Some Players Should Not Be in This Team
What in the world is Pablo Barrera doing in this team? Seriously, he is not at his best and he should leave.
Pablo Barrera was once a brilliant footballer for the national team. Today he is a good midfielder for the local league, period.
Pablo's credentials do not back him up anymore. The same goes for Gerardo Torrado; despite not playing tonight, it is obvious that he has to go.
And finally, Francisco Rodriguez. He can pull some great stuff because he is experienced, but little by little, he is becoming careless. Sooner rather than later he will hand his place to Hiram Mier or Diego Reyes for good.
The Azteca Is Not as Impressive Anymore
This has been Mexico's worst performance at a World Cup qualifier on home soil.
Never had El Tri tied three consecutive matches before, let alone without scoring once. Jamaica, United States and Costa Rica grabbed one point each, something almost impossible before.
For the “Ticos”, this result is like a win and they have a lot to celebrate. A scoreless draw against the CONCACAF giant is huge.
For Mexico, this is worrisome. In previous World Cup qualifiers, the team might have not been playing at its best, but the rivals were intimidated by the structure itself and the ambiance; not anymore, apparently.
The Team Needs a Playmaker
Where is Cuauhtemoc Blanco when you need him? Remember those days when he not only scored but actually created plays?
"Chepo" needs to find someone who is able to unbalance the rivals and bring some creativity to the table.
Andrés Guardado fulfills this role at times, but not on a regular basis. The same thing happens with Carlos Salcido. Tonight they tried without success, which also happened against Panama. They were like ghosts.
Too Much Hope in a Single Player
There is one player that every Mexican fan has been thanking for months: Jose de Jesus Corona.
The Cruz Azul goalkeeper has proved to be the El Tri's savior. It is true that Corona has been one of the most consistent keepers in the local league and that he usually fulfills expectations, but if we have to define a breaking point in his career, it would be the 2012 London Olympics.
Jose de Jesus Corona was a cornerstone for the U-23 squad that won the gold medal. He rejected all sorts of shots from Neymar, Hulk and Damiao to keep Mexico’s advantage in the final match.
He brought that momentum to the senior squad. Against Costa Rica, he kept it going. However, it is not healthy to put all the responsibility on him.
Yes, it is his job, but in all fairness, most of his latest saves have been the result of defensive mistakes. If he falters, what will happen? People will crucify him and forget that this, again, is a team sport.
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