The date and venue might have been different, but the result remains the same for Mexico: A 2-0 loss to Argentina. Following a defeat in Cordoba last week, Mexico followed up the result with another similar loss to La Albiceleste in Mendoza on Tuesday night.
Mexico has now ended 2018 with a worrisome tally of seven losses in the last eight games in all competitions.
Optimists could point out that Mexico nearly found the back of the net in the second half. Thanks to dangerous opportunities from Jesus Gallardo and Victor Guzman, Mexico was a bit unlucky to walk away without a single goal on Tuesday. Looking elsewhere in the roster, Edson Alvarez and Henry Martin also shined in an otherwise dismal evening for El Tri.
All that said…
The ease with which Argentina regularly moved through Mexico’s midfield and defense was alarming. Once Mexico found a way to steal back possession, the attack constantly struggled to breakdown the organized South American backline. There was also no real urgency from the Mexican side that looked far too comfortable with conservative passes that rarely tested Argentina.
Manager rating out of 10
3 — Interim manager Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti might be more focused on Tigres than Mexico. Although he fielded more young options tonight, a lack of intensity and drive likely stemmed from the temporary coach. In both of the games against Argentina, Ferretti showed that he wasn’t able to compete with the likes of the South American giants.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Jesus Corona, 6 — Only one save from the goalkeeper who didn’t have very many shots to block. Despite the fact that both of the goals weren’t his fault, it would still be difficult to find fans who will be singing his praises.
DF Jesus Duenas, 5 — Plenty of good and bad from Duenas. The active fullback’s tackles, high-pressing runs and passes down the flanks were inconsistent at best.
DF Edson Alvarez, 7 — An impressive performance from the 21-year-old who provided a number of crucial tackles and clearances. Although he could have done a better job halting the two goals, Alvarez was the main reason why Mexico didn’t stumble to a 3 or 4-0 loss.
DF Julio Dominguez, 4 — At 31 years of age, it was fair to expect more from the central defender who lacked the energy needed to keep up with the opposition’s attack. Dominguez also could have done more to stop the build-up of Argentina’s lone goal.
DF Gerardo Arteaga, 3 — Arteaga was nonexistent defensively. When the promising 20-year-old pushed forward down the left-hand side, he then frequently lost the ball far too easily.
MF Erick Aguirre, 4 — Aguirre clearly has an eye for accurate short passes, long passes and also switching the field. All that said, the central midfielder had no real defensive presence and proved to be a liability when Argentina initiated counters.
MF Erick Gutierrez, 3 — The 23-year-old was nowhere to be found on Tuesday. Gutierrez will have to wait a bit longer before he can potentially secure a key spot with the national team.
MF Victor Guzman, 5 — Credit should be given to Guzman for the creation of two threatening attacking plays late into the game, but there isn’t much else to say about the midfielder. Like Gutierrez and Aguirre, the young player still needs more time to fine-tune his abilities.
FW Isaac Brizuela, 3 — Another player lost in the futile battle against Argentina. Brizuela has shown time and time again that an important role with Mexico might be too much for him to handle.
FW Henry Martin, 7 — Alvarez and Martin were the only players on the pitch who were playing with the drive necessary to get a good result. The striker nearly became a headache for the opposition that was left fouling him on a number of occasions.
FW Javier Aquino, 3 — Aquino was regularly muscled off the ball on the left wing. In his 45 minutes, one decent cross is the only thing that truly stood out about the Tigres star.
DF Hiram Mier, 5 — Substituted in for Dominguez during halftime. Mier looked more proactive than Dominguez with his possession but also fell short when it came to stopping the second goal.
MF Jesus Gallardo, 6 — Substituted in for Aquino during halftime. With his daring runs and header on target, Gallardo was a slight upgrade over Aquino.
MF Roberto Alvarado, 5 — Substituted in for Gutierrez during halftime. A quiet match from the 20-year-old that had a tough time sneaking past Argentina’s backline.
DF Luis Rodriguez, 4 — Substituted in for Arteaga during halftime. At best, “Chaka” is a backup or fringe option for the national team. Despite his pace, the Tigres player once again proved that he isn’t reliable enough defensively for Mexico.
FW Angel Zaldivar, 4 — Substituted in for Brizuela during the 63rd minute. Not much to say about the striker who saw little of the ball and struggled to create dangerous chances in the final third.
FW Alan Pulido, N/A — Substituted in for Martin during the 82nd minute.