Tuesday night’s 2-0 win for Mexico against Canada wasn’t the most exciting victory for El Tri. After the dominating 3-0 win against the Canucks in Vancouver last week, fans were eager for the following match in the Estadio Azteca. With an intimidating atmosphere in Mexico City and confidence from the recent victory, many were expecting a high-scoring game from the CONCACAF giants.
Unfortunately for most, the result was reserved in comparison to the last match.
Jesus “Tecatito” Corona’s beautiful goal late in the first half was the only true highlight of the game. For supporters watching at home and in the stadium, the goal salvaged a match that was mostly filled with conservative passes from Mexico and the occasional long ball down the wings.
For those Mexico fans who felt bored or underwhelmed by the result, were their feelings justified? Perhaps not.
It wasn’t an ugly affair, in fact, it was practical and pragmatic from manager Juan Carlos Osorio. Recognizing the home advantage and the opposition, no offense Canada, the manager utilized a few backup options in the starting XI and seemed to have no qualms with El Tri’s leisurely movement on the field.
Although some supporters were bothered by the changes in the starting XI, there should be little blame on the manager who is still trying to test out a few options before the Copa America this summer. By the time the next game rolls around on May 28th against Paraguay, Osorio will need to have already selected his roster for the Copa America in June.
As for World Cup qualifying, the Mexican federation couldn’t have asked for a better start. El Tri has yet to allow a goal in any competition during the last six games and has racked up 13 goals during that time. Mexico is the first CONCACAF team to qualify for the final hexagonal round of World Cup qualifying and has now extended the side’s current unbeaten run to 17 games.
Although it was a dull affair, the 2-0 win over Canada has placed Mexico in an excellent position for the summer and for the rest of the World Cup qualifying process.
However, all of this good news may initiate some unwanted feelings for El Tri aficionados.
Mexico dominating early rounds of World Cup qualifying and looking nearly perfect? Sounds plenty like the process before the nightmarish hexagonal run in 2013 that nearly kept Mexico out of the 2014 World Cup.
Perhaps that is why some are justifiably cautious over Osorio. Maybe, if El Tri scored four goals instead of two against Canada, there would be less doubts about a possible failure in the next round. 2013 wounds still appear fresh for some fans, with many not trusting Osorio just yet after their hearts were broken beforehand by he who must not be named, Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre.
FMF fools you once, shame on you. FMF fools you twice, shame on us for having another awful run in the hexagonal stage.
Then again, it might be unfair for fans to compare one to the other. Osorio is working with an entirely different batch of players and has yet to make a mistake. The only mistake he has so far made is having a similar but successful run that was also made by Chepo beforehand. Our worries and problems may also seem miniscule in comparison to our rivals, the USMNT.
While fans argued over the starting formation for Mexico on Tuesday, U.S. fans were just hoping that they would even have a chance to make it to the next round of qualifying.
There seems to be two schools of thinking for the recent wins against Canada. The first sees it as a true stepping stone to not only an amazing year, but an amazing World Cup qualifying run which will have Osorio leading Mexico to Russia in 2018. The second sees the wins as a given, there was no reason why any coach would have lost against Canada and Osorio still has plenty of prove.
The truth is that the reality is a mixture of the two. We have to give credit to what Osorio has done but we must also be cautious about the future. Osorio deservedly received praise for his decisions but his first true test as manager will arrive this summer in the Copa America.