In a game which was meant to fill the coffers of Soccer United Marketing (SUM) and the Federacion Mexicana de Futbol (FMF) the incompetence and disappointment that has been the Mexican National Team in 2013 turned it into a game of some importance.
On Wednesday night, Mexico beat Finland 4-2 in a friendly that did little go answer questions surrounding the team as it heads into its 2014 World Cup Qualifying Playoff against New Zealand next month.
There were a few things which Mexico did as a team that caught the eye as being something to hang on to and see as a positive. The first was the play of the midfield trio of Juan Carlos Medina, Carlos Pena and Luis Montes. All three played well as a unit especially when it came to generating offense, as Medina did a fine job of being the one to break up the play on the part of Finland while also providing the first ball to get an attack going.
This meant that were sustained chances for the Mexican forwards during most of the game. In addition, the introduction of Sinha as a late second-half substitution showed that at age 38, he still gives Mexico that player in the midfield who will know how to vary and control tempo with the ball in the second half, especially with the lead.
While that was something positive, the negative for Mexico came in the form of defending that was shambolic at times. Some will say part of the reason for that is because Herrera plays a three-man defense with two wing backs, but that would be invalid given all the defenders that started played in such a formation either for Club America or Leon.
This was seen in Finland’s second goal where Rafael Marquez allowed a Finnish attacker to easily strip him of the ball, leading to Juan Carlos Valenzuela badly trying to clear a pass for an own goal.
Another instance where Mexico’s defending proved to be a concern was in set-piece defending. In Finland’s first goal, Mexico did not give up the goal directly from a set piece, but it was a bad clearance on the part of the Mexican defense that eventually led to the goal. While the team recognized a need to improve its defending, the fact it looked as bad as it did put fear in all ‘El Tri’ fans looking ahead to the vital playoff games in two weeks.