Mexico Struggle (Yes, Struggle) in 5-0 Rout of Guyana
It took a while for Mexico to wake up.
In today's FIFA/ Coca-Cola World Rankings of soccer, Mexico is 19th in the world. Guyana, Mexico's opponent this past Friday night, was ranked 122nd.
By all accounts, Mexico should have had a convincing 3-0 victory that night at BBVA Compass Stadium. Instead, El Tri struggled to win 5-0.
And it's not like Mexico was devoid of stars. They had European-based players like Chicharito Hernandez of Manchester United and Andres Guardado of Valencia CF. They had high-profile players from Mexico like Maza Rodriguez, Gerardo Torrado and goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco.
Guyana's so-called luck started before the match. Their task was simple: be one of the best baby givers of the middle. And their luck struck early.
In the third minute of the match, Mexico's Chicharito Hernandez was awarded a penalty kick after being brought down inside the box by Guyana's goalkeeper, Derrick Carter. On the ensuing kick, Hernandez was denied a goal in what would become of a common theme of the night.
Chicharito's shot was blocked only by the goalposts. In fact, the woodwork was responsible for three near-misses for the Mexican National Team in the first half of the match.
As expected, Mexico controlled the game entirely, dominating possession of the ball and outshooting its undermanned opponent. What was not expected was the compact, impenetrable defense that was on display from Guyana. They almost lasted the entire match with a complete-game shutout.
It wasn't until the 78th minute that Mexico got on the board. On a routine rebound after a corner kick was denied, Mexican midfielder Andres Guardado blasted a 20-yard shot Carter for the 1-0 lead. It was then that Mexico's goals came in a flurry.
Seconds later, forward Oribe Peralta scored in front of an empty net after a quick give-and-go with Chicharito. After an own goal by Guyana captain Christopher Nurse in the 82nd minute, Chicharito found his name in the scorecard with a header from just outside the six-yard box. Not to be outdone, second-half sub Angel Reyna blasted a shot from outside the 18 to complete the 5-0 rout.
All the goals came in an eight-minute window just before the end of regulation. After the match, Mexican head coach Jose Manuel de la Torre commended his players for showing patience in breaking down their opponent Friday night.
He was even extremely patient with Chicharito Hernandez, who was booed by the 12,115 spectators in attendance for a series of misses. He finished the match with a goal and an assist.
Guyana, meanwhile, was praised for holding a firm backline against CONCACAF's best team. They were 12+ minutes away from posting a shutout before they completely unraveled.
With the win, Mexico became the first team to advance out of the CONCACAF group stage and into the final round, a six-team hexagonal round. The top three teams from the final round advance to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.