Jorge Hernandez's club form carries over in strong showing for Mexico
After an embarrassing 2-1 loss to Croatia last week, Mexico bounced back with a comfortable 3-1 win over the Republic of Ireland on Thursday night. Thanks to goals from Jesus Corona, Raul Jimenez and Carlos Vela, El Tri was able to breeze past its opposition at MetLife Stadium.
Following the friendly victory, Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio must now whittle his roster down to 23 players. Whether Thursday's match will greatly influence his decision to keep or cut certain options remains to be seen.
Either way, with World Cup qualifiers and the Confederations Cup set for this month, fans can breathe a sigh of relief after watching Mexico's impressive display.
Mexico was thrilling to watch Thursday. The team was precise with its passing and exciting going forward. Despite Ireland's early momentum in the match, the opposition was eventually stunned by El Tri's creative and quick movement on the field.
After the loss to Croatia, Mexico's win will provide a much-needed confidence boost before next week's qualifiers against Honduras and the United States.
Was there any noteworthy negatives for Mexico? The team did start to look a bit off in the second half, but most of that was likely due to the six changes that Osorio made after halftime. Yet, despite those numerous changes, Mexico was still able to maintain possession and plenty of high pressure against Ireland.
Other than the team's late arrival to New York last night and the one goal allowed, there isn't much to say about the team's misfortunes.
8.5 -- Osorio was not only able to test out a few different options but was also able to gain a necessary boost in morale with the win. The manager put plenty of trust in fringe option Jorge Hernandez, and the decision paid off handsomely with a man-of-the-match performance from the Pachuca player.
Player ratings (1-10, with 10 the best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Rodolfo Cota, 7 -- Other than the lone goal, Cota did an excellent job of commanding his net. Although it's highly unlikely that he will get a starting role in next week's qualifiers, the goalkeeper proved to be worthy of his call-up.
DF Carlos Salcedo, 6.5 -- Were it not for his yellow card in the first half, Salcedo might have had more than 45 minutes to play. A decent defensive performance from Mexico's right-back that had no real trouble from Ireland's attack.
DF Diego Reyes, 6.5 -- Reyes improved upon his previous start against Croatia, but has yet to transition over his confidence that is regularly seen in Spain with Espanyol. It's up in the air if Osorio will consider him as a starter for next week's qualifiers.
DF Hector Moreno, 7 -- Mexico's captain was crucial with his long passes and defensive interventions in the backline. Moreno should continue to be an unquestioned starter for Osorio this month.
DF Jesus Gallardo, 6.5 -- Was he more of a wing-back or a left midfielder? Gallardo took some time to find his rhythm but eventually became more involved in the attack during the second half.
MF Jonathan dos Santos, 8 -- One of Mexico's best on the pitch. Dos Santos was near-perfect with his distribution and proactive movement forward. Osorio will likely be very pleased with the 27-year-old's dominant presence in the midfield.
MF Jorge Hernandez, 9 -- He provided the assist for the first goal and the pass which led to the penalty for the second. The 27-year-old, who was the hardest working player on the field, looked like he has been playing with Mexico for years.
MF Hector Herrera, 5 -- At this point, fans should be accustomed to Herrera's inconsistencies. The midfielder was far too quiet in his starting role and almost appeared to be shying away from the ball.
FW Carlos Vela, 8.5 -- Vela was creative, dangerous and risk-taking. Osorio has plenty of winger options but must give a starting spot to the La Liga player who easily scored Mexico's third goal of the night.
FW Raul Jimenez, 8 -- If Mexico needs a penalty-taker, the team should look no further than Jimenez. The striker provided the second goal off a penalty and did well to track back in order to maintain possession.
FW Jesus Corona, 8 -- When "Tecatito" is at his best, there are few defenders who are able to stop his breathtaking runs. During the 16th minute, the winger scored a world-class golazo for El Tri.
DF Miguel Layun, 7 -- Substituted in for Salcedo during halftime. Layun was eager to impress with a few daring runs forward in the second half. Not much was produced from those opportunities, but it was clear that the defender was keen on standing out.
DF Oswaldo Alanis, 5 -- Came on for Moreno during halftime. Did Alanis need more rest after the very short break from the Liga MX season? The defender's hesitance on the field was perfectly embodied by his poor clearance that led to Ireland's goal.
FW Oribe Peralta, 7 -- It may not have been pretty, and slightly clumsy, but Peralta produced the pass that led to Vela's goal. The veteran also had a late shot which almost secured a fourth for El Tri.
FW Javier Aquino, 7.5 -- After coming on for Corona in the 58th minute, Aquino hit the ground running in his late cameo. The winger was hungry for a goal and provided plenty of dangerous runs from the left flank.
MF Orbelin Pineda, 7.5 -- An active and flashy showing from the Chivas youngster. Whether he makes the Confederations Cup roster or not, Pineda is a name to keep an eye on.
MF Rafael Marquez, 7 -- Substituted in for Vela during the 68th minute. With the game all but decided, Marquez moved into the defensive midfield position late into the match. The 38-year-old dictated the pace with his clever and accurate passing as he made his return from injury to the national team.
Cesar Hernandez covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @cesarhfutbol.