On Friday March 23rd, Mexico beat Iceland in a friendly match at Levi's Stadium with a crowd of about 68,917 spectators. (Me included) The final score was 3-0 but the overall game was competitive. Not a back and forth type of encounter where you experience; goals hitting posts, goalies making unbelievable saves, referrers missing calls, and ping pong type of attacks from both sides. At Levi's both sides had opportunties to score and it was Mexico who had the ability to close out plays. I guess you can say for once, Mexico had the Levi's stadium gods on their side as they were able to win a match and not draw or get blown out.
Marco Fabian gave Mexico their initial lead from a set play and the two goals came from Miguel Layun's passing ability, this time passing balls in the net. Like I said nothing spectacular but very efficient. I was really disappointed that Tecatito, Vela, Lozano, nor Jiminez were not able to get one through. I mean they are the strickers and Mexico needs one of them to be top form come June.
In a World Cup year, March is a time when the soccer national teams (playing in the tournament) prepare their squads and look to see if their is any hidden talent, a diamond in the rough type of player that gets accepted in the team.
Mexico finds themselves in the group stage with two European teams: 1 giant - Germany and 1 disrupter - Sweden. Its clear why in their two friendlies for March they choose to take on European teams. (Iceland and Croatia) Following Friday's victory, most Mexican fans would think that because they defeated Iceland 3 - 0 all is going as planned. Well, hold on to your horses as its not always about passing, as sometimes you want to force your team in a corner to see how resilient they are and how they can overcome adversary. Or testing new talent that hasn't been tested would have been a better use case. Juan Carlos Osorio (Mexico's head coach) fielded a really comfortable side with 3 players being the difference if say the World Cup match was on Friday:
Yesterday vs. Iceland: Corona, Layun, Salcedo, Araujo, Moreno, Reyes, Guardado, Fabian, Corona, Jimenez, Gallardo Hypothetically: Ochoa, Layun, Salcedo, Araujo, Moreno, Reyes, Guardado, **Lozano**, Corona, **Chicharito**, **Vela**
I know its a choice Osorio has, (being head coach and all) but my personal opinion is we already know the story of what happens when Osorio decides to follow a path of one strategy with players being rotated into it. Now if you look at the results for the 2017 Confederations Cup and 2017 Gold Cup, you'll notice that its not working well for Mexico. It seems he doesn't want to learn from his past and thinks he is close enough to get the players to buy into his strategy.