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Mexico end Gold Cup preparations with win over Ecuador

Soccer: Equador at Mexico Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Mexico National Team remained perfect in the Gerardo “Tata” Martino era as El Tri earned a 3-2 win over Ecuador in their last friendly ahead of the start of the 2019 Gold Cup.

Luis Montes, who endured a tough game last time he played at AT&T Stadium when he fractured his leg before the start of the 2014 World Cup, came close to giving El Tri the early lead when he sent an arching shot just inches above Ecuador’s crossbar.

However, Montes’ initial effort was a warning of things to come when minutes later Jonathan dos Santos sent a long-distance shot into the bottom corner of the net to give Mexico the lead.

Mexico’s turbulent fortune with injuries continued in the 33rd minute after Hector Moreno appeared to have picked up a knock, forcing him to exit the match moments later.

El Tri weathered the storm and went into the half with the lead. But just seconds into the second period, León forward Angel Mena scored from a free kick to level the score at one.

Mexico retook the lead in the 63rd minute as the lively Luis Montes teed up from his own free kick and put the ball past Ecuador keeper Maximo Banguera for the 2-1.

Montes’ goal was fitting to say the least, but Mexico’s joy didn’t last very long, with a corner kick ending with Ayrton Preciado beating his marker and heading home the equalizer.

Ten minutes later, Jesus Gallardo released Luis Alfonso “Chaka” Rodriguez inside the box with a fine cross and the Tigres fullback stepped up to drill in the winner and his first career national team goal.

Mexico had a chance of doubling their lead minutes later through Rodolfo Pizarro, but at the end, El Tri held on to make it four out of four under new coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino.

The result will no doubt fill Mexico with confidence ahead of their 2019 Gold Cup debut, which will take place next Saturday in Pasadena, California when they take on Cuba at the Rose Bowl.