The Mexico Under-17 team defeated the United States 6-3 and won the Torneo de Naciones on Sunday. The four-team tournament took place in the Centro de Alto Rendimiento in Mexico City, and also had Qatar and Portugal participating. Mexico won all three of their games, while Portugal and the U.S. borh ended with four points. Qatar lost all their games and didn't get a single point.
Mexico started the tournament on Thursday with a commanding win against Qatar 4-1. The goals were scored by Marco Ruiz, , Daniel Lopez, Roberto de la Rosa and Alexis Gutierrez. Mexico dominated the match completely and it was by far their most dominating game, although not their best performance. Earlier that day, Portugal and the US had tied 3-3.
The next day Mexico faced their toughest challenge in Portugal, winning 2-1 with a goal in the final play of the game. Portugal defended well and took the 1-0 lead, which they held all the way towards halftime. Mexico tied off a double header in the second half but the game looked set to be a draw. Yet on the last play of the game (and after a nice save by the Portuguese goalkeeper) Mexico scored off a corner after the Portuguese goalkeeper mistimed his jump and missed the ball, allowing for a free header by Luis Olivas. Saul Huertas had scored the first goal. After the game the U.S. beat Qatar 2-1, which set up the final Mexico/U.S. game as the deciding match. A draw or win would give Mexico the tournament, but a U.S. victory would give it to the U.S.
Sunday's Mexico/USA game turned out to be the highest scoring game and the best one for Mexico. The U.S. took an early lead, but Mexico dominated the rest of the first half and deserved more than the two goals it scored. Some early improvement from the U.S, ended with the equalizing goal, but Mexico then scored three unanswered goals. A controversial penalty kick allowed the U.S, to score their third goal, but a last minute makeup call allowed Mexico to set the final score at 6-3. The goals were scored by Roberto de la Rosa (2), Saul Huerta, Luis Olivas, Jairo Torres and Alexis Gutierrez (from the penalty spot). Although he didn't score a goal, Jesus Perez of Queretaro was named the best player of the tournament.
This Mexico win comes after Mexico had won the Niigata tournament by beating Croatia 5-1. Mario Arteaga’s team is preparing for the U-17 World cup qualifiers to be played in Panama next year. Mexico is set to play friendlies in Panama and South America as they look to repeat their performances from the past three U-17 World Cps, where they have gone to the semifinals on all three occasions.