Mexico got a win in their U-17 CONCACAF Championship debut against Jamaica on Wednesday. While Mexico was the better team and showed it, they will probably not be too happy with their performance and the fact that all their domination didn’t translate into too many dangerous opportunities.
Mexico will now face what most people think it’s their least talented rival in the group stages, Bermuda, on Friday while Jamaica will play Trinidad and Tobago the same day.
It wasn’t the best of starts for Mexico, with Jamaica coming close to taking the lead after only a minute.
Mexico would bounce back, but about 20 minutes into the match, a huge rainstorm started to flood the field. The game continued with Jamaica sitting back and depending on their speed to counter attack, while Mexico kept trying to implement their passing game in tough conditions.
Mexico had another great opportunity when the Jamaican goalkeeper failed to clear a shot, but Brian Gonzalez slipped and sent his effort wide.
Jamaica should’ve gotten a red card when Israel Luna got brought down by a harsh tackle by Dandre Shaheed, but he was only given a yellow.
Mexico continued dominating possession but the wet conditions really caused problems for Mexico’s style of play as well, as the physical play that was being allowed by the refs. The first half then came to an end, and although Mexico had been the better team, they hadn’t shown much danger for all their better play.
Mexico subbed on Efrain Alvarez a the start of the second half looking for some sort of spark, but it was Jamaica who had their first chance of the period when a cleared effort bounced inside the Mexican area.
Mexico then had a great chance when a shot was saved by the goalkeeper in a play that eventually resulted in a foul. Off that same foul , Mexico took a quick free kick and the ball fell to Leonardo Correa, who passed it back to Jesus Gomez to score the 1-0.
Off a corner kick, Jesus Gomez came close to scoring a his team’s second goal when he got the ball in the area, chested and volleyed it into the far corner, forcing the Jamaican keeper to make another great save.
Jamaica almost equalized when, off a counter attack, they almost beat the defense but goalkeeper Eduardo Garcia made the save.
After several more close opportunities from Mexico, the game continued being choppy. At the end, Mexico got the win and probably the ticket to the knockout stage.
With three of the four teams in the group making it to the next round, Mexico’s victory over the tough Jamaican team virtually gives them the ticket to the knockout stage. Still, Mexico’s lack of efficiency up top might raise some alarms. Also of notice is how the rough play and the conditions bothered Mexico, something that might bring trouble in later dates especially against better opposition. However, Mexico looked to be by far the most technical side so far in the competition, and should they improve on their cohesion as the tournament goes forward, they should be a tougher team for others to handle. Now coach Marco Antonio “Chima” Ruiz should get his side ready for the next game, especially since the teams they will face in the group stage are very similar (although possibly less talented) to Jamaica.