Mexican National Team: Takeaways From The Chile Friendly

Mexican National Team

Photo Courtesy of the Official Seleccion Nacional de Mexico Facebook Page

Saturday night represented the start of the same old hopes and dreams for the Mexican National Team and the millions of its faithful legion of fans as the team began the 2018 World Cup cycle vs. a strong and tough Chile team who want to prepare themselves with an eye towards winning the 2015 Copa America which they will host. The game had everything you wanted before kickoff. You had two teams who left a very good impression with their play at the last World Cup, two teams who are eye-pleasing in terms of how they play the game, two coaches who are entertaining on the sidelines, and a good crowd was expected. In the end of 90 minutes, the game ended in a scoreless draw but the 67,175 that were in attendance at Levi’s Stadium did not leave disappointed. The game was an entertaining match from the first whistle to the last and therefore did not disappoint in terms of the entertainment value it provided. For Mexico coach Miguel Herrera and fans of the team, the game also provided some valuable takeaways here at the start of this new cycle:

Continuing With The Same Plan of Attack

If there is one thing amongst the many that has been a source of frustration for fans of the Mexican National Team is that at times there has been a lack of identity from the national team. Even though other national teams also see changes in coaching at the beginning of a new World Cup cycle, at the very least you have an idea of what a German or Argentinean playing style consists of. On Saturday night, Mexican National Team fans can truly say that they know for sure as what the Mexican style of play consists of as Miguel Herrera set his team in terms of formation and idea of how to approach the game in a manner which is clear. It is safe to say that ‘El Piojo’ intends to continue establishing and having his team play under a single philosophy.

Midfielder Continues To Develop Into A “General”

One of the Mexico players who shined and impressed during the last World Cup was FC Porto midfielder Hector Herrera. Since the tournament, Hector Herrera has continued to impress at club level early on in the season and on Saturday night, he continued to show growth as a midfield general as he was behind or a part of Mexico’s best scoring chances in the first half. Although he faded a bit in the second half, it is clear that Hector Herrera continues to develop as a player and into that midfield general/maestro that Arturo Vidal has developed into for both Chile and Juventus.
Captaincy Was Not A Burden

With Rafael Marquez now making way and slowly fading out of the picture for the Mexican National Team, time has come for a player who take over the role of captain. Early in the week midfielder Andres Guardado was appointed as captain of the team. While in many ways it was the logical choice, sometimes naming a player like Guardado can prove to be a detriment as having the captain’s armband can affect the play of said player.  On Saturday night, Guardado showed that he is more than capable and deserving of being the captain. Guardado looked the part of national team captain, acted the part of national team captain, and just as importantly, did not let his play be affected with the burden of being national team captain.
Young Defenders Settled In

While the majority of the Mexico starting eleven was made of players who played or at the least were part of the World Cup squad, two of the starters on Saturday night were newbies to the senior national team and they were defenders Oswaldo Alanis of Santos Laguna and Miguel Angel Herrera of Pachuca. Early on both defenders showed some nerves and made a few decisions that clearly showed some nerves given the situation but as the game went along, both settled in and showed that play belong and certainly we can expect to see them going forward if things go well for them.
Why Question Memo?

Going into the game, a number of fans and pundits were wondering if Guillermo Ochoa would struggle in the game against Chile given that he has yet to play a league game for his new club Malaga CF. This ignores the fact that Ochoa did not have a proper preseason and a late one as well. Any of those questions with regards to his match sharpness were ridiculous as Ochoa when called upon came up big, including making goal saving stops in each half. Needless to say, Ochoa will be fine.
Must Not Waste Scoring Chances

If there was a negative from the game on Saturday night for Mexico it was that despite having the best scoring chances in the game, they were unable to put one of them away for a goal and hence ensure a win for the team. This was highlighted late in the second half when Mexico forwards had three clear cut scoring chances, one missed by Giovani Dos Santos who in his defense sustained an injury as he was about to take his opportunity and the other two missed by Javier Orozco.

Lucas Carreras is a contributing Mexican National Team and Liga MX writer for Stoppage Time Soccer. You can follow Lucas on Twitter by following him @maldini3fan


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