El Tri continued its downward trend, losing to Argentina 2-0 to finish 2018 with a disappointing 6-1-9 record.
Argentina scored right out of the dressing room when Mauro Icardi beat Jesús Corona 75 seconds into the match. El Tri recovered decently enough, but did not threaten on offense despite enjoying decent possession.
During the opening 45 minutes, Mexico simply could not find a way to supply its forwards, while too often allowing Argentina to find space in front of the back four. Coach Ferretti made four changes at the half and El Tri showed some spark – more decisive up front and aggressive at the back, but were unable to convert the opportunities created.
Argentina capitalized on a late counterattack and Mexico now has 3 losses in a row and has lost 7 of 8 as 2018 comes to an end.
Here are my player rankings for El Tri:
Jesús Corona – 6
Can’t be faulted for either goal and was otherwise solid between the pipes, but his clearance kicks rarely led to offense.
Gerardo Arteaga – 5
Argentina’s physical players overpowered him too often and he was late to react to Icardi’s run that led to the first goal (Icardi was not his man, but as the play developed, he was closest and might have cut off the lead pass). Subbed out at the half.
Julio César Domínguez – 5
Was too passive in marking Icardi as scoring play developed. Shook it off and had a decent half – nothing spectacular, but no other mistakes. Subbed out to start the second half.
Edson Álvarez – 7
Good, hard tackling and crisp passing out of the back. The best of El Tri’s back line players on the night. Might have gotten a higher ranking but took the wrong angle on Argentina’s late counter and ran himself out of the play that produced the second goal.
Jesús Dueñas – 6
Played first half at right fullback and in midfield during second half. Was solid on defense but not much of a participant on offense.
Erick Gutiérrez – 5
Was a bit passive and disconnected at the outset (as was Mexico’s entire midfield threesome) but then began asserting himself, trying to direct the offense though he didn’t take chances and wasn’t terribly creative.
Erick Aguirre – 5
In my opinion, he is out of position as a holding midfielder and he had trouble shutting off passing lanes and Argentina exploited the space between lines (Gutiérrez and Guzmán were also guilty in this regard). Just never really established his presence.
Víctor Guzmán – 5.5
Not great helping out the defense during the first half, but stepped up his game in the second half. Forced a nice save with a shot from distance. Was not a genuine impact player.
Javier Aquino – 4
Only played the first half and did not find much opportunity to create on the wing. Only got off two crosses and neither reached a teammate.
Henry Martín – 4
Not sure whether his low ranking should rest entirely on his shoulders. El Tri did not really try to probe the middle (and Argentina’s central defenders marked him tightly) but Martín did not create space to invite passes either.
Isaac Brizuela – 4
Hardly noticed he was out there. Granted, El Conejo was playing a different side than he does with Chivas, but his occasional escape was quickly erased by aggressive tackling. I don’t recall him beating a defender on the night. Subbed out at the half.
Jesús Gallardo – 6
Subbed on at the half. Started slow but then became a danger on the left flank. Had Mexico’s best chance for a goal but his header from close range was blocked at the near post.
Hiram Mier – 6
Paired with Edson Álvarez during the second half, the late call-up (he replaced the injured Néstor Araujo) was physical and played good positional defense. Deserves another look.
Roberto Alvarado – 4
Just not the same player wearing the green as he is with Cruz Azul. Decision-making is questionable. Argentina’s second goal off a breakout started when Alvarado turned the ball over off a set piece, unwisely trying to dribble past three defenders while his teammates waited in the box for a centering pass.
Chaka Rodríguez – 5
Came in for Arteaga to start the second half but contributed little. After a couple turnovers, he became hesitant to carry out from the back but was OK in carrying out his defensive duties.
Ángel Zaldívar – 4
Came in for Brizuela at the 63-minute mark but failed to assert himself. Chance to create a 2-on-2 opportunity went wasting when his drop pass was intercepted. Got up for a header on a corner kick late on, but directed it way over the crossbar.
Alan Pulido – N/A
Came on in minute 82 for Martín, so didn’t have enough time to make a contribution.