It was a nervy start for El Tri. Which seems to be the standard for friendlies w/new players adapting to Piojo’s system. The new guys had to adapt to the 3 man backline since all 3 play with 4 in the back at their clubs. I think they did well after a shaky start and the backline was solid after the first 20 or so minutes. While I don’t agree fully with Piojo’s assessment of his new look back 3, they improved as the game went along.
“Me gusto mucho, los 3 centrales jugaron rayando en lo perfecto”: Miguel Herrera
— DIARIO RÉCORD (@record_mexico) October 10, 2014
Overall, it was solid game for Mexico. Lets dive into the details.
The first third of the game was defined by all the rough tackles happening all over the field. All this was going on with no cards from the ref and it was coming from both sides. Honduras’ possession, coupled with their tackling, saw them somewhat control the game. But their possession leaned toward quantity instead of quality. They were never any danger to Ochoa and did little to hint they would create the game’s first goal. I was dreading a boring 0-0 tie but Chicharito had other plans.
A nice ball from Peralta put him through on goal and he knew what to do with opportunity. It was a classic Chicharito goal, created by his understanding of space. He opened himself up and created a lane to receive the ball from Peralta and had no hesitation. This is when he is at his best. One final thing about the goal, it was all created from the pressure Marco Fabian put on. That pressure led to Peralta getting the ball before delivering the final pass to Chicharito. Fabian has been somewhat of a ghost in recent times for Mexico, not really influencing games. This was not one of those games. Alanis would go on to score from his nice corner kick to put El Tri up by 2 before halftime.
It was nice to see him have a nice performance all around for Mexico. The midfield is deep for Mexico and Fabian needed to step up to show his worth to Herrera. That is exactly what he did for Mexico, hopefully this will spring him into better form for Cruz Azul. For a team that was playing kind of tight, the goal opened them up and they started to attack more. Attacking down the flanks seemed to be the preferred choice. This might have more to do with Rios being overrun and overpowered in the middle than anything else. Rio struggled for portions of the game against the Honduras but kept the attack moving with his passing.
I have not brought up Hector Herrera and that should pretty much tell you about how I thought about his performance. He did not play poorly but he was not great. I can’t decide if my expectations for him have increased too much where I always expect him to boss the midfield. He was okay and that’s okay. But he did have this nice move early in the first half.
The second half was more of the same from the first. Honduras was not really threatening to score and Mexico tried to put the game away with a third. The pace of the game slowed down as the half progressed. As most friendlies do, they became stagnant when the mass substitutions started. Quick thoughts on other aspects of the game
-Mexico keeping another clean sheet and increasing their scoreless streak to 270 minutes. I know these are friendlies but when your defenders are not familiar with the system, keeping clean sheets are a good sign they are learning and adapting to it. Especially considering each game has a new back 3.
-Memo did as well as to be expected. He was not tested much but did what he had to do. Also, he started a couple attacks with his quick long throws. I hope that trend continues.
-Pizarro looks like he is adapting well as a wing back in Herrera’s system. He is the youngest player in camp and an infusion of youth is good for Mexico. Pizarro has shown a willingness to track back defensively and that is key for him since he usually has less defensive responsibilities at his club.
-Playing the game within Mexico was a good idea by the federation. The atmosphere was great. I know this was not as much a moneymaker as the US friendlies but the federation needs to incorporate more “home” matches into their plans.
-Mexico plays with 2 up top and 2 wing backs. You would think that would lead to crosses being sent into the box. Aguilar and Layun seem more comfortable cutting into the box then trying to cross one in to the forwards. Chicharito and Peralta are 2 forwards who are good in the air (as are other Mexico forwards) but I don’t think I saw one good cross come their way. A good cross is another avenue Mexico can score goals. One that needs to be used.
-Not sure about this goal celebration from Chicharito