Mexico vs. Honduras: 6 Things We Learned
Is the World Cup dream over for Mexico? The team is in big trouble after losing to Honduras at the Estadio Azteca on Friday.
The lineup surprised everyone. Javier Hernandez, Andres Guardado, Javier Aquino and Javier Rodriguez started on the bench. Jose Manuel de la Torre bet on the same squad that defeated Ivory Coast.
The plan seemed to work, at least for the first half. El Tri seemed to be more comfortable and left the pitch with a 1-0 advantage.
However, in the last 45 minutes, Honduras exposed Mexico’s weaknesses yet again.
Carlos Salcido Is Not Up for This Team
Carlos Salcido continues to appear in the starting lineup despite not playing at his best.
Honduras tied the game after Salcido couldn’t get hold of Carlo Costly, who shot from outside the box and gave Jerry Bengtson a good position to score.
There is no doubt that Carlos has been one of Mexico’s finest defenders but his fitness and level of play is far from what the national team needs.
CONCACAF Teams Have Grown
Panama, Honduras and Jamaica are neither weak nor small teams. El Tri is no longer the CONCACAF giant and that is a fact. This has been Mexico's worst Hexagonal. For the first time they are fighting to avoid the playoff round, against New Zealand, instead of qualifying automatically as they have always have.
The first step in the healing process is to acknowledge that the other teams in this confederation are no longer pushovers and that they deserve respect.
Diego Reyes Was Overwhelmed
Diego Reyes was unrecognizable. The clever and confident defender who blossomed in the past year was erratic as never before.
The Porto player was responsible for Honduras’ second goal. He also missed a potential Mexico equalizer.
Reyes seemed overwhelmed, which is unheard of for him. He was not pressuring the opponent as he normally does. He lost the ball constantly.
If we have to describe his performance in a word, it is “disappointing.”
Gerardo Torrado Was the Worst Mistake in the Lineup
Gerardo Torrado is a 34-year-old midfielder who has played three World Cups, three Confederations Cups and four Gold Cups, to name a few.
No one denies what he did for Mexico in his past appearances, but he does not belong anymore. Torrado does not contribute and hardly ever recovers and keeps the ball.
There are better and younger midfielders in the team. Those players have proven their quality and desire to get a chance to play regularly, like Hector Herrera.
Mentality Is Mexico's Worst Enemy
Mexico has always had a mentality problem. Now, adding pressure, their mindset becomes a disaster.
Players and staff know that results at the Estadio Azteca are key to any qualifying process.
Instead of making adjustments and working as a team, which is what Mexico needs right now, the players ran all over the pitch and continued to display overconfidence.
After the first half they did not fight as they should have. When Honduras scored the equalizer, the team fell apart.
The Estadio Azteca Is No Longer a Factor
For the first time in history, Honduras defeated Mexico at the Estadio Azteca. Costa Rica also achieved the feat in 2001, during the Korea-Japan World Cup qualifier.
The Estadio Azteca is not a sacred turf anymore. The United States, Jamaica, Costa Rica and Honduras have all left the place with at least one point this year.
Mexico was confident of winning all of its home matches. That would have resulted in securing 15 points. Instead, the team has three.
Altitude is no longer an advantage for Mexico. Honduras and Jamaica put El Tri in distress and they proved that, physically, they have what it takes to perform.