Mexico closed out another week of World Cup Qualifiers with a 1-1 draw against Costa Rica. An own goal from Cristian Gamboa in the 42nd minute put El Tri up 1-0. Then, in the 82nd minute, Marco Ureña brought the hosts level with a golazo. Overall, it was a solid performance from a Mexico side that wrapped up a spot in the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Friday with a 1-0 win over Panama.
Seven changes were made to the starting XI. With qualification booked, it was a great chance for Juan Carlos Osorio to experiment. Having two more games left in the Hexagonal, Mexico are in great position to finish top of the group.
Here are some talking points from Tuesday’s 1-1 draw.
Mexico Plays Costa Rica to 1-1 Draw: Three Thoughts
When the lineup came out it was considered Osorio would be conservative and play for a draw. Through the first 15 minutes Mexico came out guns blazing in pushing forward. Raul Jimenez is a good backup option for Mexico. It is safe to say if Chicharito goes down, Osorio can play Jimenez in his place. Hirving Lozano was by far the best player on Tuesday. With ten duels won and five complete dribbles, Lozano has become an attacking threat for Mexico. Lozano or Jesus ‘Tecatico’ Corona is a threat down the wings and either one serves as a good bench option.
Defensive Midfield Problems
Osorio still continues to place Diego Reyes in the defensive midfield position. Reyes couldn’t get much started going forward, but had a few bright moments defending. With loads of options, it’s surprising Osorio doesn’t look toward other personnel at this role. The versatile Edson Alvarez should be given a chance as he continues to impress and exceeds expectations when given a start. Overall, it was an okay showing from the midfield this week. Much improvements need to be made going forward in the coming months.
Memo Ochoa is the Number One Keeper
Seeing Memo Ochoa in the starting XI for Mexico against Costa Rica came as a surprise. But it shows he has won the trust of Osorio. Mexico has a load of backup options from Jesus ‘Chuy’ Corona, Rodolfo Cota, and Miguel Fraga. Without Alfredo Talavera, out due to injury, that lowers the competition for the number one keeper. Ochoa’s performance against Costa Rica essentially solidified himself as the starter. There was nothing he could’ve done on Ureña’s fantastic strike.
Overall, this round of qualifiers showed the good and bad from Mexico. There is plenty of work to be done. With plenty of time left until October’s concluding matches in the Hex, as well as friendlies in November, Mexico has time to work out the flaws. The future is bright for Juan Carlos Osorio and El Tri. Fans still await the ultimate goal to achieve under Osorio, ‘el quinto partido.’