In a packed Qualcomm Stadium filled with over 53,000 fans, Mexico emerged from its Gold Cup opener with a 3-1 win against El Salvador. Even without the suspended Juan Carlos Osorio, who was left watching from a club box high up in the stadium, El Tri had little trouble securing three points without its manager.
— Jason Foster (@JogaBonitoUSA) July 10, 2017
Now, Mexico will have little time to celebrate before taking on Jamaica next week in Denver. Despite the fact that the win over El Salvador was fairly straightforward, garnering another victory might not be as simple in the next match.
Before analyzing El Tri’s upcoming group stage clash, let’s first take a look back at the most recent win.
1. The lack of Osorio wasn’t much of a factor
Even without its leader on the sideline, Mexico found a way to gain three points on Sunday night. Although some skeptical fans might see the suspension as a blessing for the national team, there is no denying the number of positive results that the coach has been able to provide for El Tri.
That said, even though he was left hidden in a club box, it was fairly easy to see the Osorio influence in the starting XI and substitutions. If supporters were hopeful of a more serious change without Osorio, the manager will have to receive much more than a suspension that keeps him locked away.
Also, considering Osorio’s infamous methodical tendencies, it wouldn’t be that surprising if the manager spent an immense amount of time preparing Paez for the match. The fact that Osorio thrives on details and preparations likely means that the Colombian had a thorough game-plan set while he sat in the stands.
2. Defensive issues still need to be resolved
In spite of Mexico’s uncomplicated victory, there is still something left to be desired in the defense. Names like Hugo Ayala and Luis Reyes were questionable for El Tri, and were it not for some big saves from Jose de Jesus Corona, El Salvador might have been able to score at least another goal on Sunday.
Looking ahead, Paez and Osorio might want to consider an option such as Cesar Montes in the backline. Also, even though Edson Alvarez put in a solid shift for El Tri, a true right-back such as Raul Lopez or Luis Rodriguez might also help organize the defense.
3. Plenty of promise for Mexico’s attack
Defensive problems aside, El Tri’s attack and midfield was plenty of fun to watch.
Elias Hernandez, Rodolfo Pizarro and Orbelin Pineda were crucial for Mexico with entertaining movement that dominated the second half. Keeping in mind that El Tri still has names like Erick Gutierrez and Erick “Cubo” Torres on the bench, there should be no reason why the team will struggle to create goals in the Gold Cup.
Also, be sure to keep an eye on Hernandez. Although he isn’t the most talented player on the roster, his risk-taking runs and crosses will surely continue to make him a massive factor in the attack.
Elías Hernández has been on 🔥 for a couple of weeks now. #ElTrieng
— Nayib Morán (@nayibmoran) July 10, 2017
Mexico’s man of the match — Elias Hernandez
What a performance from Hernandez! The 29-year-old finished the game with a goal and two assists for El Tri in the win. Once the tournament is over, it wouldn’t be that shocking if the Leon player finished as one of the best players of the Gold Cup.
My MOTM was Elias. Edson, Pineda, and Gallardo also played well. #MEXvSLV
— Bryan W (@BryanRMW) July 10, 2017