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Postgame Observations: Osorio breathes sigh of relief as Mexico and Panama finish goalless

It wasn’t exactly a world class showing at the Estadio Rommel Fernández as Mexico and Panama settled for a goalless stalemate in their second game of the Hexagonal.

Here are my three takeaways from another forgettable match between Mexico and Panama:

Peak Concacaf

Perhaps at this early stage of the Hexagonal, the most important thing was not to lose. Mexico and Panama had very different reasons as to why the prospect of draw was not a bad result, and ultimately, that might explain the stalemate that transpired in Panama City.

Nonetheless, there will be some degree of regret for those who sat in front of their television sets for the entirety of this match. The game was a dud. At times, it looked more like a wrestling match than anything else.

Perhaps that should have been no surprise, and Mexico should be used to these type of games in CONCACAF?

To Panama’s credit, though, they did have the most dangerous moments of the game. But this had been a night in which Mexico would have had better luck fielding Saul Canelo Álvarez in the midfield than Jonathan dos Santos.

Midfield struggled again for Mexico

Against a team like Panama, space was always going to be at a premium. Juan Carlos Osorio’s decision of a midfield set-up of Giovani dos Santos, Rafael Marquez, and Jonathan dos Santos made sense on paper but finished well short of expectations.

Contrary to last month’s friendly, there was a certain intensity to the home side, especially when pressing Mexico’s defenders. Panama only saw a drop in energy in the second half, but even then, Mexico’s midfield failed to do much with their possession, choosing to either go wide to Miguel Layun or send a long-ball to Raul Jimenez.

Sure, there was a touch of conservatism from Juan Carlos Osorio’s side, but they should have probably have come away with at least one big chance from this game.

For Panama, Fidel Escobar was outstanding and made a notable impression. To put it simply, Escobar, a center back, showed more attacking intent than all of Mexico’s midfield put together.

A point is a point

Had Mexico managed to lose this game, the headlines would have written themselves. But there will be few real complaints about the final result. All things considered, a win and a draw in Columbus and Panama City respectively is not a bad way to start the Hexagonal. Most importantly, it will dull most post-game talk questioning Juan Carlos Osorio’s continuity with the national team. El Tri’s manager can now breathe a sigh of relief and start working towards what will be a busy 2017 for the Mexico national team.