This game marked the first test for Pedro López as head coach of the Mexican Women’s National Team. Their opponent, Chile, were looking to find its best version since they are participating in the World Cup playoffs soon.
It was the second call-up for one of Club América’s best players this season, Nikki Hernandez. The first time she was called by former MexWNT Monica Vergara, but didn’t get to wear the jersey on the field. This time, the outcome was different. This game also marked the return of one of Mexican’s veterans to the national team.
This was Mexico’s starting XI:
From the start, it was clear the hosts were in control, but couldn’t find the ways to test the Chilean goalkeeper — Antonia Canales — more than once in the first 20 minutes of the game.
At minute 21, Mexico found themselves with a lot of space ahead of them, with only three defenders separating them from goal. It was three attackers against Chile’s backline and it looked like a promising good opportunity to open the score. Stephanie Mayor carried the ball and passed it to Scarlett Camberos, who was on the right. She could’ve shot, but instead crossed in the ball trying to connect with Maria Sánchez. That decision was very unlike her, since we have seen over and over again how she, more often than not, goes for a shot when she has those kinds of opportunities at her club. In the end, she couldn’t connect with her teammate, and Chile were surely more than relieved to see the ball bounce away from their box.
In 30 minutes of the first half, the Mexicans looked a bit frustrated, making bad decisions and committing hard fouls.
The first goal of the match came at minute 34. It was a surprising goal for at least two reasons; First, it was Chile who opened the score although they hadn’t created much until that point; Second, it came from a mistake by two reliable players: Nancy Antonio and goalkeeper Itzel González.
Antonio passed the ball back under pressure and González couldn’t control it. The ball bounced from her feet and Daniela Zamora sprinted to get to it first, and with one touch buried it in the back of the net.
After that shock, it took Mexico a few minutes to get back on their game, but as the first half was coming to a close, Camberos sent a through ball to Mayor. The latter couldn’t get to it as the goalkeeper did first.
Camberos didn’t give up and created another chance in the dying seconds of the first forty-five minutes, but Alison González couldn’t connect with the good pass and the first half finished with Chile winning by one.
Coach López made some changes at halftime, putting Diana Ordóñez in for Alison and Jacqueline Ovalle for Sánchez.
The substitutions proved to be exactly what the team needed. Those two players brought more verticality to the attack and created good looks. And it was Ordóñez who almost scored the equalizer after a great pass by Camberos. Unfortunate the striker’s back heel didn’t go in but she was going to have her redemption.
And speaking about Scarlett Camberos, she was the best player in the team regarding chances created in this match with 4, but she also had the chance to score after a cross sent in by Ovalle. She headed the ball, but goalkeeper Canales made a good save. And about Lizbeth “La Maga” Ovalle, she registered the highest number in terms of duels won with 6 (Opta).
Diana Ordóñez is one of the best Mexican strikers nowadays and she proved it in this game. She had a great impact from the minute she stepped on the field and was the one who scored the equalizer. Of course, Stephany Mayor was the creator, but the young striker did her part to put things 1 - 1. It’s the little things that make the difference in the score and she gets it.
Ordóñez finished the game with a total of 4 shots, 3 of them on target. Those stats make her the player with the most total shots although she only played 45 minutes.
After a series of fouls and injured Chilean players, a much anticipated moment arrived at minute 70. Veteran player Charlyn Corral made her return to the field with the National Team after spending more than 3 years without dressing.
Just seconds later, Ordóñez pressured Canales when she was about to send a long pass from goal and almost scored her brace.
At minute 77, Natalia Mauleón made her overdue debut with the senior national team after being the best player for México at the U-20 World Cup last August.
One of the coolest moments in the game came when Charlyn Corral shot with her left foot from outside the box and made Canales stretch to barely make the save with the palm of her hand.
Coach López made two more substitutions when he put Aylin Avilez and Karla Nieto in the match and subbed out Nicki Henández and Diana García.
”La Joyita” Aylin Avilez could’ve scored the winning goal at minute 89. Once again, Ovalle carried the ball all the way to the left byline and sent in the cross. The initial shot was blocked and the ball fell to Avilez. She got her shot off, but not the way she would’ve wanted and the ball went out.
The referee added six more minutes on to the game and Mexico had to endure them with only ten players on the field. Joseline Orejel received her second yellow card at minute 90+1’ and was therefore sent off.
Even though at first sight this was a winnable game for Mexico, they’re just getting started under coach Pedro López’s tenure. There were some new faces on the field as well as some absences and the coach was simply testing what works and what doesn’t.
The players were a little nervous in the first half and understandably so. They’re being led by a new coach and wanted to impress him, but maybe played a bit too hard because of it at first, and things didn't go their way.
Mexico shouldn’t underestimate any team, and Chile proved to be a tough opponent. Maybe they resorted to some time wasting at times and that made ‘El Tri’ a little anxious, causing them to lose a little flow in their game, but that’s a pretty common strategy teams use in football, and they should learn how to handle it.
Many fans started to criticize Jocelyn Orejel after she was sent off, but the truth is she was one of the best defenders in this game, red card aside. Orejel was the one who registered the most duels won — along with Diana García — with 5. She had the most aerial duels won with 3 and the player with the most number of clearances with 4 (Opta).
This match also showed us some interesting new things and confirmed others. A good “new” thing is how well Charlyn Corral and Lizbeth Ovalle understand each other, although they barely played together on the National Team. Something we have confirmed: Scarlett Camberos is here to stay. She registered the highest number of chances created with 4 and had the most successful crosses with 4.