With a lot less effort than expected, Mexico enjoyed a good start to the CONCACAF U-20 Championship by crushing Nicaragua 7-0. While Nicaragua looked to be the second toughest side in their group, the reality was that they were outclassed the whole game as Mexico took an early lead inside two minutes and never let go. Nicaragua failed to create any danger and as the game went on, and Mexico’s better physicality and better stamina gave them complete control in the game. The only bad news was the injury to America’s Carlos Vargas, who had to leave the game after only 15 minutes and might miss the rest of the tournament. Mexico will only have one day of rest but will face Saint Martin, one of the two weakest side of the group.
Mexico’s start to the tournament might have produced some worry as they faced one of the tougher sides of their group, but Jose Macias scored two minutes in to settle the nerves.
Despite scoring early, the Mexican players seemed a little too anxious which led to a lack of cohesion with the team. Nicaragua had the strategy of pressing Mexico’s players all over the field and they succeeded in their disruption, the only successful thing they did all game.
Mexico remained dangerous with almost every attack but missed quite a couple of sitters. To make matters worse, America’s Carlos Vargas had to leave after an injury when he had to halt a run as he screamed with a probable thigh strain.
After Nicaragua came the closest in all game of scoring, after a Mexican defender gifted them the ball, Mexico finally started clicking. Daniel Lopez hit a shot from outside the area that went past the keeper for the 2-0. The goal calmed things down and in another counter, Lopez scored his second after the keeper went came out badly and dived too early. At halftime, Mexico had a comfortable 3-0 lead.
The second half started with star Diego Lainez being more involved with his teammates as he moved into the middle of the field. A good pass and shot was deflected by the Nicaraguan keeper straight into the path of Macias, who scored his second goal.
After the goal, Mexico started to dominate the match completely but did so in a calm pace. A corner kick fell into the area and Carlos Gutierrez headed it in for the 5-0.
Mexico continued with their domination, and after a good combination, Gutierrez got tripped by the Nicaraguan goalkeeper inside the area. Adrian Lozano converted the penalty kick for the 6-0- A couple of minutes later, Kevin Alvarez had a great chance saved but the rebound fell to him and he was able to convert the final goal for the 7-0.
Besides Vargas’s injury, it was a very good start for Mexico. They were able to complete a rout with a lot less effort than expected. They might also be inspired that their main group rival, Jamaica, only got a 1-0 victory over Grenada. Still, the field conditions of rain (also expected on Sunday) and the lack of rest (only a day between games) might be a factor for the next game on Sunday. However, they will face Saint Martin, a weaker team than Nicaragua and who could only tie against Aruba 1-1. Mexico should be heavily favored and if they continue to take care of business, it will be only a matter of time before they reach their expected level of the main title contender for this competition.