Thanks to another fantastic performance, Mexico has all but made it to the Round of 16. Their 2-1 win over South Korea was a solid performance: not total domination like against Germany, not total submission like in a few previous matches. Here’s what we can take away from the match.
1. Chucky Lozano continues to impress. The PSV winger put on a show against South Korea on both sides of the ball. His runs were dangerous, forcing South Korea to result to fouling. The Taegeuk Warriors picked up 24 fouls and four yellow cards on the day. Much like his horror-movie namesake, Chucky carved the defense open time and again. His assist on the Chicharito Hernandez goal was typical Chucky, playing a smart ball to put Chicharito in a good position to shoot or cross to the open and onrushing Vela.
Chucky also showed up big on defense, making a couple of key stops when South Korea went on the counterattack. This stop on Yong Lee showed Lozano’s range and versatility (FC Barcelona, take notice).
Great defensive effort by Chucky Lozano! Raced back and sacrificed his body to prevent the shot. Potentially goal-saving play by the #ElTri winger. #KORMEX #VamosMexico #Mexico #MEX pic.twitter.com/vy3RimI4Gm— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) June 23, 2018
2. Carlos Vela played a fantastic game as well. Remember when Vela was trashed for leaving Spain’s Real Sociedad to come to Los Angeles FC in Major League Soccer? Vela has come into this World Cup in form and has been a critical component in the success of El Tri. Converting the penalty for his first goal of the tournament after the death of his grandfather is a testament to his mental fortitude.
3. Mexico is still leaving a lot on the table. El Tri was dangerous today, but the scoreline could have easily been 4-1 or 5-1 had some better shots been taken. Mexico had 13 shots but only five on target. If the penalty isn’t converted or Memo Ochoa doesn’t bail them out every time, I feel like this becomes a huge story. Mexico needs to test Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen early and often on Wednesday.
4. Juan Carlos Osorio’s redemption song continues. In Mexico’s final matches leading into the World Cup, Osorio was booed out of Estadio Azteca after beating Scotland by a 1-0 scoreline, and #FueraOsorio picked up steam after the 2-0 loss to Denmark. He’s now defeated Germany and South Korea, with fans in Rostov-an-Donu singing his name to the tune of Seven Nation Army. No more concern over rotaciones, and his only mis-step seems to be bringing on Rafa Márquez against South Korea. Much like Vela, Osorio is quieting his doubters.
5. Mexico’s fans are the best. The Mexican fans have been among the most visible, and could be the 2018 version of the Ireland fans at the 2016 Euros. Every game seems like a home game for Mexico, with the national anthem being sung loud and proud by the fans in attendance giving us at home goosebumps. Cielito Lindo is the unofficial anthem of the tournament, and it seems like El Grito finally died in Rostov-an-Donu.
Everywhere we go is home, fam.— FMF State of Mind (@FMFSoM) June 23, 2018