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Costa Rica disappoint, Carlos Vela shines as Mexico go top of the Hex

Photo by Hector Vivas/LatinContent/Getty Images

Three quick takeaways from the morning after Mexico’s 2-0 win over Costa Rica at the Estadio Azteca.

Costa Rica disappoint

It's difficult to know what Costa Rica were thinking here. For a team that some claim is the best in CONCACAF, this was by no means an inspiring performance from the Ticos. From a Costa Rica perspective, this was suppose to be the game in which you roll up your sleeves and show Mexico who is boss in the region. Instead, there was an air of resignation from the Ticos from the very first minute of play.

Typically, teams know that when you press Mexico high, they are are their most vulnerable. Not only did Costa Rica not press Mexico's center-backs, there were occasions when Hector Moreno, who is arguably Mexico's most technical defender, was allowed to connect with Carlos Vela at will. It was all a bit bewildering from coach Oscar Ramirez.

Then there is no hiding place for the lack of hunger the Ticos showed in the second half. The mood around the team was of one that was okay with losing after just 45 minutes. How can you take pride in that?

Carlos Vela makes his mark

Carlos Vela was Mexico's best player, and if they are to do something special in this summer's Confederations Cup, he will need to be at the heart of Juan Carlos Osorio's gameplan. Here, Vela took home two assists, and while he tired out late in the game, he quietly drove the team on.

Sure, Chicharito will steal the headlines for scoring his 46th goal with the national team, a goal that ties him with Jared Borgetti for all-time goal-scoring leader, but Vela was brilliant. He pushed positively down the right flank, and his pass for Chicharito's opener was genuinely magnificent.

Vela looks to be in his best version in years with the national team. Now it is just a matter of him staying healthy and not trailing off form. He is the kind of player that can make all the difference for El Tri.

Estadio Azteca feels like home again

Friday's performance had a vintage feel to it. The last few years, the relationship between the Mexico national team and the Estadio Azteca has been defined by a distinctive feeling of shakiness. No longer the stadium it used to be, fans have been treated to underwhelming or boring performances, with some arguing the magic has been taken out of the venue.

Furthermore, Mexico's decision to train in Cuernavaca and outside Mexico City has sparked even further debate about whether El Tri should maybe try other venues like Guadalajara or Monterrey in the foreseeable future.

But all of a sudden, the Estadio Azteca felt valuable again. There was a genuine connection between the fans and the team. Sure, this won't go down as one of the most memorable nights in history, but it will definitely be one in which the fans left very satisfied.

Perhaps that's the value of having a side like Costa Rica visit and then beating them. It's as if instead of "Cielito Lindo", fans should have been singing "y volver volver, volver a tus brazos otra vez".

This love fest couldn't come at a better time either, as the next two home games for El Tri are against none other than Honduras and the United States.