In a summer which was very disappointing for Mexico which almost resulted in coach Jose Manuel De La Torre losing his job, the team was in urgent need to play well and win against Ivory Coast on Wednesday night. Well, the liberated Mexico came to play as it handily defeated Ivory Coast 4-1 in a friendly at MetLife Stadium.
Before the game, there was a clear sense of change from ‘Chepo’ De La Torre in terms of how he conducted his press conference with the Mexican media. Chepo recognized his errors and admitted to doing some reflection and self-criticizing with some admonishment from his bosses.
For the first time, he admitted it was obligatory for Mexico to qualify for the World Cup next summer. With a more calm, relaxed and jovial atmosphere, the players called up for this game seemed more relaxed during training.
De La Torre showed his commitment to change and modify things as he sent his team out in a 4-3-3 formation with Jesus Corona in goal, a defense highlighted by European products Hector Moreno and Diego Reyes at center back, one defensive midfielder in the form of Gerardo Torrado flanked by Christian Gimenez to his left, and Fernando Arce to his right.
Up front, Oribe Peralta played as the center forward with Angel Reyna flanked to his left and Giovani Dos Santos playing behind as a floating attacking player.
This attacking lineup came out and attacked the Ivorian defense, pressing them up high. Mexico would see its attacking gameplan rewarded 10 minutes in as a give and go between Reyna and Peralta resulted in a own goal by the Ivorians. With the early lead, Mexico continued pressing and attacking.
Mexico took a 3-0 lead into half as Oribe Peralta scored goals no. 2 and 3. While the team slowed down in the second half as a result of their comfortable lead and because of the number of substitutions made, it still showed improved attacking play and team play. Reyna closed out a great night for Mexico as he scored a well-earned goal to finish off the game 4-1 for Mexico.
The win for Mexico was much needed, but just as needed was the fact that the team played well while looking very dangerous in attack without being predictable.
In particular, the quartet of Gimenez, Reyna, Dos Santos, and Peralta appeared to be a threat each time they were in or approached the final third. With an important World Cup Qualifier against Honduras at the Azteca Stadium on September 6 coming up, Mexico could not have asked for a better performance to boost its confidence.