Hirving Lozano, Raul Jimenez solid but defense fails Uruguay test
Mexico has kicked off its new World Cup cycle with a bittersweet defeat by Uruguay. Although El Tri was clearly inferior in the 4-1 loss to the South American side, a prominent silver-lining in the result was the eye-catching performance from a handful of promising young players.
Following the defeat, interim manager Ricardo "Tuca" Ferretti will aim to help Mexico bounce back next Tuesday when it faces off against the United States.
A match in which in the result alone doesn't tell the full story. There's no doubt that Uruguay was the better team in the thrashing, but Mexico fans might still feel hopeful after watching budding talents such as Hirving Lozano, Roberto Alvarado, Victor Guzman and Diego Lainez shine in the friendly. During the second half, these young names nearly helped revive Mexico through a number of dangerous opportunities going forward.
Defense remains a worrisome issue. On Friday, nearly every member of the backline proved to be disappointing in the one-sided loss. In spite of the absence of key players, Mexico's defense was far from satisfactory against an Uruguayan side that had no complications when it came to finding the back of the net.
Looking elsewhere, more experienced names such as Elias Hernandez and Alan Pulido were dismal in a match that provided them with a golden opportunity to make a name for themselves on the international scene.
Manager rating out of 10
4 -- The 4-4-2 just wasn't working for Mexico. Without a true defensive midfielder, Ferretti left a giant gap of space open in the middle of the field for the opposition. Later in the game, it was confusing why the manager attempted to find a late goal through crosses after his side struggled to win much in the air.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Guillermo Ochoa, 5 -- Much of the blame for the four goals shouldn't land on Ochoa, but the goalkeeper could have potentially done a better job halting some of the chances. Overall, an average night for the team captain.
DF Luis Rodriguez, 4 -- "Chaka" was ineffective going forward and defensively sluggish. Friday's loss did little to help his relevance to the national team.
DF Hugo Ayala, 5 -- Ayala was the slightly more reliable presence in a porous backline. All that said, he regularly failed to contain many of the counters from Uruguay in the loss.
DF Jesus Angulo, 3 -- It's clear that Angulo still needs to be given more time before he earns a key role for the national team. The 20-year-old, whose foul led to a penalty and ensuing goal for Uruguay, lacked a serious amount of confidence.
DF Jesus Gallardo, 4 -- Inconsistency continues to plague Gallardo. The 24-year-old had a few dangerous runs and passes going forward but was also constantly left chasing the ball on the left flank.
MF Elias Hernandez, 3 -- Far too quiet of a game for Hernandez. Although the winger has been brilliant this season for Cruz Azul, he still has plenty to prove on the field.
MF Jonathan dos Santos, 5 -- Some of the best and worst moments arrived from Dos Santos. Despite his long tally of clever and crucial passes, the midfielder was also caught losing the ball on a handful of occasions that hurt Mexico.
MF Erick Gutierrez, 5 -- Gutierrez, like Dos Santos, was excellent with his distribution and connection with the attack. However, he was also at fault for failing to control his area of the pitch.
MF Hirving Lozano, 8 -- Mexico's best player on the field. The PSV Eindhoven player earned a penalty and finished the night as the most impressive and risk-taking member of the frontline. Lozano was also unlucky to not find the back of the net after a couple of close chances.
FW Alan Pulido, 2 -- Very little to say about Pulido. As a fringe national team option, the veteran should have had plenty of motivation to step up. The striker looked lost.
FW Raul Jimenez, 7 -- Credit should be given to Jimenez's energetic evening. Even though he only scored off of one of his two penalty attempts, the 27-year-old was tireless with his tenacious and proactive approach to the game. The Wolverhampton striker was one of the more determined players on the pitch.
MF Jonathan Gonzalez, 5 -- Substituted on for Dos Santos during halftime. The 19-year-old Californian wasn't much of an upgrade over Dos Santos. Although he didn't lose the ball nearly as much, Gonzalez also didn't have the same influence with his distribution.
FW Roberto Alvarado, 8 -- Substituted on for Pulido during halftime. A brilliant cameo appearance for Alvarado. The 19-year-old took charge with his breathtaking dribbling and accurate crosses. Alvarado also won a penalty after being fouled late into the second half.
MF Victor Guzman, 7 -- Substituted on for Gutierrez in the 60th minute. The Pachuca player took full advantage of his short time on the field. Guzman quickly stepped up with his crafty passing and a noteworthy strike that hit the crossbar.
MF Diego Lainez, 7 -- Substituted on for Hernandez in the 66th minute. Lainez was another exciting late addition to the game. Uruguay's defense struggled to control the 18-year-old who was eager to impress with his sly dribbling and accurate short passes.
FW Angel Zaldivar, N/A -- Substituted on for Lozano in the 73rd minute.