Risking reading too much in a 90-minute friendly featuring plenty of inexperienced national team players, Mexico were far from impressive during their 0-0 draw with Guatemala on Wednesday night. At Camping World in Orlando, El Tri had plenty of ball but weren’t able to smash their Central American opponent.
In the year of the Mexico World Cup, a friendly match is one of the many opportunities that coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino can take lessons from in the roster and adjust his approach through exhibitions and official matches.
After Wednesday’s draw, here are three notes that stand out from the match.
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Different menu, same Mexico
Regardless of the fact that the young roster had only two players who had played more than 10 matches with the national team, and regardless of Martino not being available to travel to the match due to recovering from an eye surgery, Mexico looked a lot like the team. Which has problems in the World Cup qualifiers. Lots of possession, lots of horizontal passes and switches, but in the final third…there’s not much to say.
His assistant Jorge Teller afterwards, who replaced Martino, said: “We had the ball and controlled the game. Today, we only missed scoring chances.”
There was a noteworthy amount of energy from XI starting a passion with an average age of 23.5, but no matter what they drove, it led to rare instances of danger to Grid. Of the 19 shots for Mexico, only two hit the target. According to TruMedia/StatsPerform, triThe long list of shots was only able to generate an xG total of 0.71. Guatemala, like many of the other CONCACAF opponents, was more than happy to gradually sit down and absorb the pressure of Mexico.
Up front, strikers such as Santiago Jimenez, Alejandro Zendegas, Roberto Alvarado and Sebastian Cordova struggled to connect. While most of these names had some distinct moments, they rarely worked collectively – especially with Jimenez as a striker. With no real consistency, Guatemala had no problems earning closure.
Of Mexico’s last six matches in all competitions, only four goals have been scored. In a match that was supposed to offer some answers to some of Mexico’s problems in attack, it looked like more of the usual problems seen earlier this year.
Arsenal’s Flores has more to prove
Again, it’s not ideal to judge a player by just one performance. In the case of Arsenal’s 18-year-old academy producer Marcelo Flores, there is also a warning from the young Mexican-Canadian who only had 29 minutes left on Wednesday.
However, it was fair to expect more from Flores after his recent comments about the future of his national team.
Although he hasn’t played badly, there has been a surprising amount of caution from the player who recently said: “Canada wants me too, but I think if Mexico calls me to the World Cup, I think that’s where I want to be. ”
Basically, he is putting more pressure on himself and on Mexico to consider his participation in Qatar 2022 after making only one appearance before the last friendly match.
Flores’ response on the field was rather mediocre at best. Desperately in need of a risk taker or game-changer, Mexico was instead given a performance shy of Flores and nowhere near anything a World Cup participant could offer.
The teenager has a huge amount of potential and is likely to make his Premier League debut soon, but for now, he still has a lot to prove at the international level before he secures a place for Qatar.
The usual Mexican beginners can breathe a sigh of relief
As Wednesday approached, there was growing enthusiasm from Mexican football fans and the media over the replacement slate that had called up Martino. Almost as if he had finally succumbed to the endless complaints about youth and backup options that the manager didn’t get enough attention, Martino used his latest amicable method to test out some new faces.
After 90 minutes on Wednesday, it’s hard to say that any of the players made significant moves in the depth chart. Among the most impressive names at first glance, right-footed midfielder Alejandro Zendegas has been highly involved in building plays and has been fantastic at tracking a comeback. Behind him, right-back Kevin Alvarez was also distinguished by his daring run on the wing.
Outside of them, only midfielders Luis Chavez and Eric Sanchez may have been the standout players, but they also had to create more opportunities going forward.
For Martino’s usual and heavily criticized options, this is all great news. In a match that was supposed to be a straight win over CONCACAF, several Mexico players failed to impress.
However, some of these backups may still have opportunities going forward.
“It wasn’t the last chance for the players, that’s what Gerardo Martino decided,” Teller said. “We’re still playing.”
And in those subsequent matches this summer, the entire group of players will need to improve if Mexico is to impress the fans in Qatar.