Mexico’s Victor Guzman, Raul Jimenez get high marks for offensive showcase in win
Thursday night was filled with a number of ups and downs for Mexico. In a slightly chaotic game with defensive issues yet a resurgent attack, El Tri walked away from its latest friendly against Costa Rica with a 3-2 victory. Following the win at Estadio Universitario in Monterrey, the national team will now travel to Queretaro to prepare for its next friendly against Chile this upcoming Tuesday.
After stumbling to a 2-1 deficit by halftime, Mexico did an excellent job of bouncing back through a more dynamic and hungry attack in the second half. Key players such as Raul Jimenez, Jesus Corona and Henry Martin were vital as they quickly dominated the visiting Costa Rican side in the latter stages of the friendly.
Without a number of high-profile players in this month’s call-up, it was refreshing to see fringe options help lift Mexico from what could have been another disappointing defeat.
Things aren’t getting better defensively. Edson Alvarez had an off day and Jesus Angulo appeared to always be one bad pass or step away from creating a disaster in the backline. In net, newcomer Gibran Lajud did little to help shore up the defense after causing a couple of mistakes.
Manager rating (out of 10)
7 — Win, draw or loss, interim manager Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti should be given credit for providing a chance to numerous back-up players. Regardless of his utilization of some European-based players in the second half, Ferretti should be applauded for going with an all-Liga MX starting XI that featured several young players.
Player ratings (1-10, with 10 the best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Gibran Lajud, 3 — Mexico fans might need to wait a bit longer before Lajud becomes a key national team player. During his national team debut, the 24-year-old goalkeeper looked nervous as he caused noteworthy errors.
DF Josecarlos Van Rankin, 6 –– Despite the fact that Van Rankin was active on the right flank and provided an assist, the fullback was also at fault for a clear handball in the penalty area that gifted Costa Rica a second goal.
DF Edson Alvarez, 5 — Although he wasn’t nearly as defensively porous as Jesus Angulo, Alvarez struggled to contain Costa Rica’s attack throughout the game. A forgetful performance from the Club America player.
DF Jesus Angulo, 4 — Angulo just can’t cut it as a central defender for Mexico. The 20-year-old, who seems to have plenty of potential as a fullback, had a number of problems with his responsibilities in the heart of the backline.
DF Gerardo Arteaga, 6 — A busy night for Arteaga. The left-back was impressive with his role in much of the build-up going forward for Mexico. Unfortunately, his poor marking cost Mexico a goal in the first half.
MF Jesus Duenas, 6 — Not much to say about the squad captain. Aside from a dangerous cross which nearly earned him an assist, Duenas had a fairly average game filled with conservative passing.
MF Erick Aguirre, 7 — A quiet start for Aguirre which eventually developed into an exciting finish. The midfielder connected well with the frontline through his distribution and was also a crucial member of the revived momentum late into the game.
MF Victor Guzman, 8 — Thanks to his incredible goal in the 33rd minute, Guzman will be sure to steal plenty of headlines tomorrow. The 23-year-old once again showed tonight why he has the capabilities and confidence to be an important figure in the future of Mexico’s midfield.
¡Lo podemos ver mil veces! 😍
— Selección Nacional (@miseleccionmx) October 12, 2018
FW Isaac Brizuela, 6 — A somewhat satisfactory evening for Brizuela. In spite of a handful of decent runs and clever passes, the Chivas player regularly went quiet throughout the match.
FW Angel Zaldivar, 6 — After creating a couple of dangerous opportunities, Zaldivar was a bit unlucky to not find the back of the net. All that said, the performance by Raul Jimenez in the second half did plenty to highlight the significant progress he still needs to make.
FW Roberto Alvarado, 7 — Given more time, Alvarado could have potentially finished with a goal or assist on Thursday. During his 61 minutes on the pitch, the 20-year-old shined as a playmaker on the left wing and as a second striker.
FW Henry Martin, 7 — Substituted in for Zaldivar during halftime. Martin looked highly-motivated as he stepped onto the pitch and provided Mexico’s second goal during the 56th minute. The striker appeared eager to make an impact in the second half.
FW Jurgen Damm, 7 — Substituted in for Van Rankin during halftime. Although the pacey winger launched a handful of inaccurate crosses, one eventually hit the target. The Tigres player stepped up with an assist to Martin’s goal.
GK Raul Gudino, 7 — Substituted in for Lajud during halftime. Gudino was a considerable improvement over Lajud. Granted, he had less work to do than his goalkeeping counterpart, but he looked much more confident and in control of the net during the second half.
FW Jesus Corona, 8 — Substituted in for Alvarado during the 61st minute. “Tecatito” was a creative revelation for Mexico. Costa Rica’s defense immediately fell apart while the risk-taking winger constantly zig-zagged past the opposition on the left wing.
FW Raul Jimenez, 8 — Substituted in for Brizuela during the 61st minute. If Javier Hernandez isn’t healthy or out of form, fans can rest easy knowing that Jimenez is now thriving for club and country. The striker scored the game-winner off a penalty in the 71st minute and nearly scored a second that hit the woodwork late into the match.