"Chepo" Jose Manuel de la Torre learned a bit about his team on Wednesday night, and saw some encouraging play from fringe youngsters.
El Tri was seriously lacking in a cutting edge going forward, while their defense lacked composure, but Mexico were excellent between the boxes in their 1-1 draw with Denmark. The quality of Javier Hernandez and Giovani dos Santos, as well as the all-around game of Hector Moreno, were sorely missing, but the rest of the squad performed well.
Both teams scored through rather soft penalties. Mexico's came in the 67th minute on a mistake by the referee. Javier Aquino drew a foul outside the box, but in the estimation of the referee, the foul occurred inside the penalty area. Marco Fabian stepped up to bury the penalty. Jorge Torres Nilo gave away Denmark's penalty in the 77th minute, which Andreas Cornelius finished.
The biggest highlight was the central midfield pair of Carlos Salcido and Hector Herrera, who were very good defensively and in their distribution to the wingers. They appeared to have an excellent understanding in the center, with Salcido generally holding his position while Herrera was given more creative freedom. Angel Reyna and Aquino were good as well, while Fabian put in an effective shift off the bench.
Chepo opted to play two strikers rather than starting Fabian as a No. 10, and that move did not pay off. While neither Oribe Peralta or Aldo de Nigris was poor, they lacked creativity. With Mexico deploying more tricky and inside-out wingers than classic wingers, the two-striker setup was ineffective. De Nigris looked more capable of being Chicharito's deputy on the evidence of Wednesday night's performance, but neither striker was great.
At the back, Hugo Ayala looked much more composed and capable of starting in the hex than veteran 'Maza' Rodriguez, who was a bit off the pace. Given Rafael Marquez's injury problems (and form), as well as Maza's performance in this match, Chepo will need to think seriously about completely ushering in a new era at the back for competitive matches. A central defense pairing of Ayala and Moreno should at least get a run-out in the near future.
All in all, Wednesday night's match was hardly a great performance, but Chepo learned a bit about what he has going forward. Ayala and Herrera look ready for the big time immediately, while Aquino, de Nigris and Fabian are almost certainly great bench options in competitive matches going forward.