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Mexico stumble in first hurdle, draw with Jamaica

Mexico tied Jamaica 2-2 but still remain on top of the group.

Mexico and Jamaica stand for their national anthems
Rafael Hernandez

Facing their first legitimate test of the tournament, Mexico failed to get a passing grade as they could only get a 2-2 draw versus Jamaica. The draw leaves Mexico in first place, but only because of goal difference. Mexico took a lead and looked the better team in the first half but once again faltered in the second and almost paid dearly.

Mexico opened the score when Diego Lainez sent a great cross to Daniel Lopez, who pressured the Jamaican defender to commit an own goal. Lainez was once again the main player for Mexico and was able to provide most of the danger.

The second half continued with Mexico pressuring and controlling the game but not creating much dangerous chances. Besides Lainez’s individual runs, most of the team failed to create much danger, as they were too slow and most of their offensive plays were easily repelled. To make matters worse, Jamaica started exploiting El Tri with speed before Leonardo Jibbinson eventually tied the game with a low range shot.

With the tied score, Mexico started to speed things up and Diego Lainez was brought down in the area to give Mexico a penalty. Chivas’s Jose Macias converted it to give Mexico the lead.

But after another bad play by Mexico’s defense, a long range shot by Tyreek Magee got deflected into the net for the 2-2 tie.

Coach Diego Ramirez sent in Misael Dominguez and Mexico started to get more control of the game, but Jamaica always looked dangerous with every opportunity.

The game finished with Mexico being the more attacking side but Jamaica held on for the draw, even when Shandel Senior got a red card for Jamaica.

Mexico’s performance on Tuesday night is really worrying. While their top players like Lainez and Dominguez stepped up, a lot of areas were exposed. Especially worrying is defense, where a lot of players did poorly, in particular Efrain Orona. Mexico should count their luck in that the remaining teams of the group don’t seem at all capable of exploiting the Mexican team weakness like this Jamaican team. Still tonight’s performance has definitely been a wake up call and might have severely diminished this teams credit as a title contender.