Juan Carlos Osorio liked what he saw from his team at MetLife Stadium Thursday night. (Michael Lewis/FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)
By Michael Lewis
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Well, here is a sure-fire recipe for disaster:
You have a nightmare time getting to your city for an international friendly, arriving at the ungodly hour of 1 a.m. the night prior due to travel difficulties because of the weather.
If Mexico showed any ill-effects of their long day, they did a great job of hiding it Thursday night
Playing a team mixed with regulars, experienced players and others trying to impress head coach Juan Carlos Osorio, El Tri had a relatively easy time with the Republic of Ireland, registering a 3-1 victory before a crowd of 42,017 at MetLife Stadium.
Jesus Corona, Raul Jimenez and Carlos Vela scored for the Mexicans, who were supposed to fly into Newark, N.J. Wednesday night. Threatening weather, however, diverted the team plane to Allentown, Pa. They eventually bussed here and after a good night’s sleep, they essentially put on a show.
After a disappointing 2-1 loss to Croatia in Los Angeles last Friday, Mexico demonstrated how dominant it could be against a one-dimensional Irish side that lacked several regular players. The North American side held the ball for long periods of time, searching for holes in the Ireland defense. More often than not, the Mexicans found it.
El Tri, which kept Chicharito (Javier Hernandez) on the bench, is putting the finishing touches on what will prove to be a long summer in three parts.
Part I will be a pair of home World Cup qualifiers, against Honduras June 8 and vs. the United States three days later.
Part II will be the FIFA Confederations Cup later this month, which is a dress rehearsal for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
And Part III will be the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July, at which the Mexicans are favored.
Part I is essential if Mexico wants to return to Russia next summer in the World Cup.
“Both games will help us to have two very good competitive games that could well put in perspective our qualification to the World Cup,” said Osorio, who coached the Red Bulls in 2008-09. “Hopefully we can repeat both performances against Honduras and the United States. I think the players that have the opportunity to represent Mexico in these two games have put more pressure to the other players, which is good. It should be a healthy competition for a place on the national team, especially a place on the Mexican national team. I think both games have been very good for us and hopefully we can show it next week.”
Mexico head coach Juan Carlos Osorio talks World Cup qualifying.
تم نشره بواسطة Michael Lewis في 2 يونيو، 2017
It was more than enough for Ireland, which missed the likes of the experienced John O’Shea, Seamus Coleman, Glenn Whelan, Shane Long, Jonathan Walters and James McCarthy.
“Mexico played much better than us and deserved to win the game,” Ireland head coach Martin O’Neill said. “As far as I’m concerned it was great. I was delighted to take the game on. It will only help us in terms of physical preparation.
“At certain stages of the game, Mexico dealt with the ball very, very well and I thought they were much fitter than us.”
Several players put their best foot forward while impressing Osorio, especially midfielder Jorge Hernandez, who commanded the Mexico attack and was awarded player of the match for his efforts.
Hernandez set up Corona’s goal in the 16th minute. Jimenez converted a penalty kick in the 25th minute for a 2-0 advantage before Vela tallied a deserved goal off a feed by 2012 Olympic gold-medal hero and second-half substitute Oribe Peralta in the 54th minute. Stephen Gleeson pulled one back in the 77th minute for the Irish, who showed much more life toward the end, but it was too little and too late.
While Mexico showed very few ill effects of its long travel day, O’Neill’s team experience at MetLife hasn’t been exactly a walk in the park.
“Well, we were here three games and we played against Portugal who were going to play in the World Cup and they beat us well,” he said. “And Mexico beat us. So, I don’t want to come back again.”
The media laughed.
Then O’Neill got serious.
“It’s a really fantastic stadium,” he said. “The noise was really excellent, in terms of atmosphere.”