Earlier this week, a Honduras player said his team wasn't going to hide after a poor result. In his mind, that would only be necessary if he'd committed a robbery or other crime.
Mexico may want to lay low for a while.
The 1-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago in Port of Spain wasn't a smash-and-grab result, but it may have been petty theft. The team definitely escaped with a result — one it might not have earned. Luck, or the assistant referee, smiled on El Tri and the team leaves with six points from this window's two matches. Mexico's 10 points also keep the team atop the Hexagonal stage of World Cup qualifying.
"Today was a game where we had to roll up our sleeves and work for it, and the guys understood that," Osorio said at his postmatch news conference. "All in all, I think the plan gave us really good results. The national team continues winning, the guys continue contributing and we continue putting together a really good team that in every scenario shows that it deserves to win."
Joevin Jones had the ball in Alfredo Talavera's net in the 32nd minute but was ruled offside, though it appeared he was at worst level with Nestor Araujo when the pass was struck. Mexico got a break with its goal as well. That's not to take anything away from Miguel Layun'sgorgeous service or Diego Reyes' header to score, but other chances in the match were few and far between.
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There are going to be matches like this in the Hex, in which playing surfaces and conditions and atmospheres in the stadiums can create uncomfortable situations for visiting sides. However, in many ways, Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio brought this difficulty upon himself.
Worried about the Soca Warriors' height and speed, Osorio put out a conservative lineup with Diego Reyes and Jesus Molina in the middle and dropped Carlos Vela, one of the team's sparks.
And after praising Hector Herrera for being able to play centrally, he moved him up, between the defensivemidfielders and the forwards. The player never plugged into the match, hitting the post with an individual effort but failing to create the same chances for others that he did as Mexico comprehensively topped Costa Rica four days earlier.
We know Osorio has faith in his methods, but at times he needs to put more faith in his players. The result was earned either way, but it could've come easier had Mexico simply rolled out and played the same brand of soccer it did at home. The coach is right to respect every opponent, and his preparation that goes into each game is admirable. But sometimes in CONCACAF, you really can ride your talent advantage to three points.
"It's really tough to play pretty football on these types of fields and these types of opponents," center back Hector Moreno said after the game. "I think the team tried to do it, but also you have to be ready because because, it's happened to us in the past, the last games against Trinidad and Tobago were 3-3 and 4-4. So we knew that it was important to keep a clean sheet and after that look for a goal on a play, and we got it."
Mexico is sitting pretty at the moment. The type of crisis that plagued the team in the last cycle has been averted. Osorio has led the team to seven points in three away matches.El Tri will qualify for the World Cup — that much seems clear. But a better team than a Trinidad and Tobago side still getting accustomed to new coach Dennis Lawrence would've been able to see out a result Tuesday.
Mexico will be facing those teams in Russia.Mexico will be facing those teams in June when it hosts Honduras and the United States.
Osorio has plenty to think about before then, though he may not want to overthink things. Many of his critics have charged him with that "crime" before, but Tuesday night they were right.
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