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Man of the match: Mexico vs. Iceland

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Mexico and Iceland engaged in an international friendly in Las Vegas. 

Soccer: Iceland vs Mexico Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Mexico defeated Iceland 1-0 at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas in an international friendly on Wednesday night.

Juan Carlos Osorio’s lineup consisted of mostly domestic league players. A handful made their case to be featured more consistently on the national side rather than remaining on the fringe. Orbelín Pineda was amongst the most active throughout the night: he generated a couple of shots in the first half, including a 39th minute shot that was blocked in the box. Most other action waned after a pinpoint pass from Giovani Dos Santos found Alan Pulido surging forward to head in for a score in the 21st minute. Dos Santos had a rather somber rest of the night even though Mexico had little trouble moving up and down the flanks.

Jürgen Damm and Hirving Lozano, while two of Mexico’s younger and more exciting players, were not able to capitalize on plays they generated and seemed to hesitate an instant too long on the ball. Raúl López came on in the second half and had a few nice touches while sending in quality crosses from the flank with ease. His ability on the ball on the night gave him the most notable performances amongst the substitutes in this relatively quiet game.

El Tricolor’s defense was not tested too often on the night, but answered when called upon. Néstor Araújo and Oswaldo Alanís played the full 90 minutes and positioned themselves intelligently throughout the game. Araújo has seemingly picked up on the finer nuances of the game as of late when it comes to positioning: not only is he currently leading scorer for his club, Santos Laguna, but he forced a save after positioning himself well enough for a shot in a 26th minute set piece. Rafael Márquez celebrated 20 years with the national team and consistently distributed well when he was on the pitch.

Man of the Match: Alan Pulido

Pulido did well to free himself from Iceland’s defense on his scoring play, but he also improved slightly when distributing on the attack as the game wore on. He showed an understanding of what his team needed on offense throughout the game as his passing became more precise.

Here are the ratings for the entire Wednesday night squad:

Alfredo Talavera: 7

Oswaldo Alanís: 7

Rafael Márquez: 7.5

Néstor Araújo: 7

Jürgen Damm: 7

Jesus Molina: 7

Orbelín Pineda: 7.5

Jesús Gallardo: 6.5

Giovani Dos Santos: 6.5

Hirving Lozano: 6.5

Alan Pulido: 7.5

Substitutes:

Luis Reyes: 6

Raúl López: 7.5

Hugo Ayala: 6.5

Edson Álvarez: 7

Luís Montes: 6

Elias Hernández: 6