Thursday’s 0-0 draw was arguably the most boring match played by Mexico in the Juan Carlos Osorio era.
Due to Jamaica immediately parking the bus, and a lack of creative ideas from El Tri in the attack, the recent group stage clash proved to be dull and tedious to follow. Other than a couple of dangerous moments from Mexico in the first half, the match was filled with an incessant amount of conservative passes from El Tri and a defensively scrappy approach by Jamaica.
My son watched YouTube videos while I watched this Mexico game and sadly, I’m the one that wasted my time watching bad television.
— Amelia Lopez (@AztecaAmeliaaa) July 14, 2017
With a point in hand, the result will likely feel like a win for the Caribbean side that is now level with Mexico at four points in Group C. As for El Tri, the boos and jeers from the crowd at Denver’s Mile High Stadium were indicative of the frustration toward the Mexican roster.
At the very least, El Tri has been able to remain undefeated after two matches, and is now set to face a much easier Curacao roster this Sunday. That said, Mexico’s upcoming opponents will likely use Thursday’s game as a model that could once again stifle the CONCACAF giants.
Here are three El Tri talking points from the 0-0 draw:
1. Defense vastly improved
Against El Salvador last Sunday, Mexico’s backline was by far the weak link of the starting XI. Were it not for some well-timed saves by goalkeeper Jose de Jesus Corona, El Tri might have allowed more than just one goal in the squad’s tournament opener.
Although Jamaica was clearly sitting far back, Mexico’s defense proved to be much more efficient when the opposition created dangerous counters. Edson Alvarez, who is traditionally more of a central defender, once again excelled as the team’s right back. Hedgardo Marin also had a solid performance and was as a near-perfect distributor going forward.
It might not have been the most thrilling game for Mexico, but considering the defensive issues that have emerged for El Tri in recent matches, it was mildly pleasing to see the backline avoid problems.
— Jason Marquitz (@soccermexicana) July 14, 2017
2. Mexico was in desperate need of more risk-takers
Other than Orbelin Pineda and Elias Hernandez, no other member of the attack took charge with much-needed creativity or gambles.
On Thursday, it was baffling to see El Tri casually make a number of cautious passes. With Jamaica aiming for the 0-0 result through a highly-defensive approach, it’s no surprise that the match ended in a scoreless draw.
Names like Rodolfo Pizarro, Jesus Gallardo, Erick Torres and Martin Barragan were disappointing for Mexico. When the squad was in desperate need of a risky shot or adventurous dribble, the aforementioned names were regularly ineffective.
Whether it be a matter of playing style, formation or just motivation, something must be altered for the national team ahead of the next match against Curacao.
— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) July 14, 2017
3. Was Juan Carlos Osorio making decisions during his ban?
Way up in a club box at Mile High, Mexico’s suspended manager was left watching the game away from the sideline.
Following an incident during the third place match of the Confederations Cup, FIFA’s disciplinary committee dished out a six-game ban for the national team coach. With four more matches left in the suspension, Osorio will not be able to lead El Tri during any game in the Gold Cup.
However, was Osorio communicating with his team on Thursday?
Late into the first half, television cameras showed a moment in which the Colombian scribbled onto a note which was then handed to one of his assistants. Immediately after receiving the note, that same assistant was then seen leaving the room and heading toward the ground floor.
Despite the fact that nobody actually knows if the note made it to the locker room, or what exactly the note said, it will be interesting to see how or if CONCACAF deals with this situation.
— Michael Lewis (@Soccerwriter) July 14, 2017
Osorio can’t give any type of instructions
— Wiso Vazquez (@WisoVazquez) July 14, 2017
Mexico’s best player against Jamaica — Orbelin Pineda
At times, Pineda was the only player pushing for a win. While others produced safe passes, the 21-year-old midfielder was proactive with his dangerous runs and audacious distribution. If only Mexico had just two or three more players with the same kind of spirit on Thursday, El Tri might have been able to garner a victory.
Looking ahead, the midfielder should be able to hold onto a key role for Mexico after the recent match.