Mexico City, Mexico. — Mexico defeats El Salvador at home, 3-0, in debut match as they hope to reach CONCACAF’s final World Cup qualifying stage. Mexico enjoyed a comfortable score but failed to impress the Estadio Azteca crowd who jeered the team.
Captain Andres Guardado was the first to score for Mexico converting a well-taken set piece outside the 18. Hector Herrera followed up with the 2nd goal just before the half as he attempted to connect with Javier Hernandez, who mistimed his kick, but distracted the El Salvador keeper enough for the ball to bounce into the back of the net. Carlos Vela put the game out of reach with a sublime chip goal.
El Salvador Manager Ramon Maradiaga was forced to call an alternative squad due to a labor dispute. His squad lacked experience which Mexico attempted to exploit. Maradiaga noted Mexico’s sputtering superiority on the field stating “the Mexican squad fell short. The score could have been catastrophic” for El Salvador’s World Cup qualifying dreams.
Mexico Manager Juan Carlos Osorio surprised many pundits and fans. Leftback Luis Fernando Fuentes earned his first cap. Upstart Jesus ‘Tecatito’ Corona played a full game. Both players repaid their manager’s confidence by performing far above expectations. Fuentes defended his flank well and provided forward runs to overload the opposing defense. Corona was a nightmare for the Salvadorean right flank as he exploited the available space with improvisational dribbling runs. The Corona and Fuentes partnership is a looks promising for Mexico’s ambitions.
Less of a surprise was fullback Miguel Layun’s, who usually plays on the left despite being naturally right footed, deployment on the right (RB). This move was highly debated by pundits and fans. Layun did not appear comfortable as RB and was substituted in the 2nd half for starlet Raul Lopez.
Mexico’s Hernandez will want to forget the night as his finishing was poor. He did well to be a constant threat to the guanaco backline as he made darting runs to pull them out of shape.
Hernandez’ striking partner, Oribe Peralta, will be looking to bounce from the poor night as well.
Mexico’s backline proved stout and aware, intercepting opponents and snuffing dangerous counterattacks early. Osorio evaluated his team stating “when you control the tempo of the game, for close to 90 minutes, dominate your opponent, limit their possession, independent of the rival in front of you, and don’t allow them any clear goal scoring opportunities, then we can state the team did its job defensively.”
Key absentees for Mexico were Guillermo Ochoa, who sat on the substitutes bench for Moise Muñoz who was giving the nod at goalkeeper, centerback Diego Reyes, and midfielder Jonathan dos Santos.