Mexico earned a 1-0 victory over Iceland Wednesday in an international friendly in Las Vegas.
Alan Pulido scored the only goal of the match with a header in the 21st minute, helping Mexico win its seventh straight friendly.
While Iceland utilized mostly an alternate lineup without its key players, El Tri started most of their best players. Even though being outside a normal international break prevented any players in European leagues from competing, this was still a strong squad for Mexico.
Giovani dos Santos was part of this lineup, and he responded with a first-half assist and solid play overall before being subbed out at the interval.
Rafael Marquez also played well before coming out in the second half. Cesar Hernandez of ESPN FC praised the 37-year-old:
Cesar Hernandez @cesarhfutbol
Once again, Rafa is looking like Mexico's quarterback. #ElTriEng2017-2-9 03:21:22
Meanwhile, Iceland didn't have a single shot on goal and only took six shots total, compared to 25 from El Tri.
Mexico took control from the start of the match while holding possession and getting several quality chances near the net.
Those opportunities finally turned into a goal in the 21st minute. On a free kick from the left side of the pitch, Dos Santos served the ball into the zone for Pulido to head it into the back of the net.
Tom Marshall of ESPN FC described the effort:
Tom Marshall @mexicoworldcup
Gooool Mexico. Nice finish from Pulido. Made up for his previous miss. Mexico 1-0 Iceland #ElTriEng2017-2-9 03:35:23
The rest of the first half featured complete dominance from Mexico. The squad took 10 shots compared to five for Iceland, earning five corner kicks and holding possession for 74 percent of the time.
Unfortunately, none of this helped El Tri expand upon their lead. Despite a few more close chances, the score remained 1-0 heading into halftime.
Eric Gomez of ESPN.com's One Nacion broke down the first 45 minutes:
Eric Gomez @EricGomez86
- Seriously challenge anyone to point out five DF in better form than Marquez. - This game is only time I'll ever applaud rotation from JCO.2017-2-9 04:04:34
The second half was mostly about the youth, as the friendly gave the coaching staff an opportunity to see some players in a stress-free atmosphere.
Edson Alvarez was among the most notable substitutions, with the 19-year-old replacing Jesus Molina in the 61st minute. Even in limited time, he still made his presence known with a solid handle on the game and one good look at the net in the 71st minute.
Hirving Lozano also found a few quality opportunities to add to the lead in the second half but couldn't put the ball on the net, missing left and high.
Mexico couldn't score another goal, although Iceland never really came close as the contest concluded with a 1-0 finish.
Nayib Moran of ESPN FC summed up the most important part of the match:
Nayib Morán @nayibmoran
The good news from this match is that there's no major injuries, next up, the March qualifiers. #ElTrieng2017-2-9 04:48:20
CONCACAF qualifying continues March 24 with the squad taking on Costa Rica at home before a road matchup against Panama.
Iceland will continue its fight to earn its first World Cup qualification with a matchup against Kosovo on March 24, followed by a big home match against Croatia.
While the match was decided by just one goal, even Iceland's manager understood the dominant play from Mexico.
"It probably was not the most fun game to watch," Heimir Hallgrimsson said, per Jon Arnold for Goal. "It was one-way traffic most of the match."
The result possibly could have been 4-0 or more, but it will go down as a 1-0 final score.