Mexico vs. Israel: 6 Things We Learned
Mexico said goodbye to their fans at the Estadio Azteca, and they did it by winning 3-0 over Israel on Wednesday.
It was the perfect opportunity for Cuauhtemoc Blanco's farewell, and he took advantage of it. At age 41, El Cuau managed to become a key player and create several goal opportunities.
El Tri is set to face Ecuador next Saturday, May 31, at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
On a sad note, Jesus Corona was stretched off after being accidentally hit on the neck by Francisco Rodriguez.
Uncertainty in the Midfield
Hector Herrera was supposed to take over the center of the pitch until he caught a stomach bug that sidelined him from the competition.
Miguel Herrera decided to put Andres Guardado instead, and the result was far from impressive.
It is true that Guardado's natural position is in the left flank and that his experience could be the reason why he became a defensive midfielder against Israel.
However, Herrera should think of a player who could actually take over that spot, like Leon's Juan Jose Vazquez.
The 5-3-2 system is already risky enough to put some more distress on it.
Counter-Attacks Are Tricky
The fact that Mexico play with one defensive midfielder can turn into a mess.
Israel, with their limitations, managed to put El Tri's in distress on a regular basis. Rodriguez is in no shape to start a game.
A fast and strong attacking midfielder or a forward, like Neymar, Mario Mandzukic or Samuel Eto'o, will see this as an advantage, and they will not forgive.
It is clear that the defense needs to be strong. Rafael Marquez will give this line more structure, while Miguel Herrera should really start looking for another formation or a fierce defensive midfielder who can contain the rivals.
There's a Lot of Dependence on Oribe Peralta
The first half proved that Oribe Peralta is the man everybody is looking to finish plays.
Yes, El Hermoso has proved to be a deadly forward who can put the ball away with both feet or the head, but he cannot be the only option of the squad.
If he is covered, then there's nothing he can do and all the team's efforts from the midfield to the box are dead.
Miguel Herrera needs to find him the right partner to give him some freedom and surprise the rivals.
Set Pieces Are a Threat
Mexico have always suffered when the rival has a set piece, particularly a corner kick.
Israel proved once again that the defense has a lot of work ahead. If it weren't for the lack of accuracy, the Blues and Whites would have scored early on the game.
Diego Reyes is not as sharp as he used to be a couple of years ago at the Summer Olympics, while Rodriguez and Carlos Salcido are slow.
Marquez and Hector Moreno need to step up when they come into the pitch in the upcoming games.
Long-Distance Shots Can Be a Key Factor
All three Mexican goals came after Miguel Layun and Marco Fabian took their chances and decided to shoot from outside the box.
El Tri have several footballers who can do it, like Andres Guardado, Oribe Peralta and Luis Montes, and Miguel Herrera knows it.
It is time for those footballers to take calculated risks and try their luck, especially in these sort of games in which the players are preparing for the World Cup.
Mexico have to understand that when there's a deadlock, a long-distance shot can make the difference, just like it happened with Israel.
Individual Efforts Were Not Enough
Mexico displayed a lot of dynamism and verticality, but the individual efforts were not enough. As a group, they are fast and at times they even need to slow down a bit to structure the offense.
Fabian and Isaac Brizuela are perfect examples of it. They ran and ran and ran, but they can certainly do better.
Fabian's goal was a fantastic demonstration of technique and boldness, but the goal didn't make a real impact in the score as the team was already winning 2-0 and there was little time on the clock.
Brizuela has to step up too. He can be very fast and unbalancing, but if he doesn't create goal opportunities, then he is no use inside the pitch, mainly because he is fighting this position with Luis Montes, who has already proved to be at the level required to play a World Cup.
These two have a couple of more games to demonstrate that they deserve the starting position.