It took a second half Oribe Peralta goal, but Mexico edged Panama in their last warm-up game ahead of the CONCACAF Hexagonal.
Here are my three takeaways from Mexico’s win over Panama:
Shallow game but Mexico win
All things considered, this was a desperately shallow game between Mexico and Panama. Beyond a brief flashpoint from Giovani dos Santos in the 43rd minute, the first half was one to forget. Mexico was far from satisfying, struggling in holding the ball up-high and finding a cutting edge, only receiving a boost in the second half when Hirving Lozano came on for Isaac Brizuela.
A goal eventually came in the 59th minute. Oribe Peralta seized on a perfect pass laid on by Giovani dos Santos after some good work from Lozano. But that was it. Other than Oribe Peralta’s goal, a late Moisés Muñoz save, and a bitter exchange of words between players near the end of the game, this was a snoozefest.
Giovani dos Santos has earned his spot
If for whatever reason one decides to go back and watch these past two Mexico games, the one player that clearly stands out is Giovani dos Santos. The LA Galaxy forward produced another energetic performance on Tuesday, notching an assist in Peralta’s goal.
Sure, Giovani didn’t look 100% like his old self, but he did show some spine. Both his performances were spirited — against New Zealand, Giovani did plenty of the dirty work, and against Panama, he essentially gave the game-winning assist. Moreover, he didn’t gradually fade as in so many previous matches with the national team.
Osorio’s hope was these games would offer Giovani a general lift in confidence after a lengthy absence with El Tri. It is fair to say Gio has benefited from these pair of friendlies and should be one of the names in Mexico’s squad for next month’s World Cup qualifiers.
Osorio still a man under pressure
No doubt, albeit wins, many will see these past two friendlies as further proof of Juan Carlos Osorio’s “hapless” campaign in front of El Tri. For many in Mexican sports media who appear more interested in criticizing Osorio than making a brief analysis of the games, they will petulantly take the airwaves to complain, senselessly adding more pressure to the situation.
The fact of the matter is, if Juan Carlos Osorio doesn’t get results against the United States and Panama next month, he is gone. The Colombian has been so far removed by the press that there is no margin for error. In November, it’s two good games or be sent packing.