Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
Jose Manuel de la Torre's team selection and substitutions were absolutely baffling on Wednesday night. Jamaica played hard to earn a draw, but Chepo did not give Mexico their best chance to win the match.
Mexico supporters expected their team to run out comfortable winners against Jamaica, but El Tri simply didn't show up on Wednesday night. Between the poor finishing by all of their attackers, Jamaica's impressive work rate and 'Chepo' Jose Manuel de la Torre's decisions, Mexico never looked like anything close to the best version of themselves. The Reggae Boyz did everything they were supposed to, could have scored on numerous occasions, and completely earned their 0-0 draw.
Chepo decided to make the unorthodox decision to play with two strikers, while playing Giovani dos Santos on the right wing. As one would expect, Gio drifted inside, and at times, all the way to the left flank. Gio, Andres Guardado and Jorge Torres Nilo bombarded the weak Jamaican right side, but they weren't able to find 'Chicharito' Javier Hernandez and Oribe Peralta for easy chances. Guardado, Torres Nilo and Carlos Salcido were all extremely wasteful with their shooting, and fired a number of long shots off target.
Gio's drifting and Chepo's odd team selection regularly left Jobi McAnuff -- Jamaica's best player -- free on their left wing as Paul Aguilar attempted to take on the attacking and defensive responsibilities of two players by himself on the Mexican right flank. This led to a number of good counter-attacks and an easy outlet for the Reggae Boyz to relieve pressure when they won the ball back from Mexico, who had all of the possession in the match.
McAnuff hit the post with an odd cross-shot hybrid attempt in the 8th minute, and the ball bounced to Ryan Johnson for what should have been a tap-in. Incredibly, he managed to kick the ball directly at Jose Corona while the entire goal was at his mercy. Johnson also had the second best chance of the match for either team in the 68th minute, when he put the ball right into Corona's stomach on a breakaway for Jamaica. He had other half-chances, and if his finishing had been any better, Jamaica could have left Mexico City with three points.
As the second half wore on and Mexico struggled to create clear chances, Chepo tinkered with his team. He made a seemingly logical move at halftime by bringing on Javier Aquino for Gio, but a direct 4-4-2 formation with true wingers and center forwards was predictably ineffective against a very tall and athletic Jamaica side. In the 67th minute, Angel Reyna replaced Hector Herrera, which moved Guardado to the center of midfield. Guardado looked out of place in a position he never plays (surprise!), and was quickly replaced by Marco Fabian, who did very little.
The referee showed a stunning six minutes of stoppage time, but El Tri failed to make the most of it. Their best chance of the game came in the 93rd minute when Chicharito was played through on goal, but Donovan Ricketts rushed out to make a save, and Demar Phillips made a spectacular overhead clearance to deny any follow-up attempt. In the 96th minute, Aguilar appeared to have a lane for a cross, but took a heavy touch out for a goal kick with the final touch of the ball in the match.
While players can always overcome a manager's poor tactics if they play well enough, and Mexico should beat just about anyone at home no matter what their manager does, this result has to fall more on Chepo than the players. His initial team selection didn't make sense, his substitutions made less sense, and he never put his team in a great position to win the match.