With the MLS and NWSL season over, some Mexican players had better seasons with their team while others look towards 2023. Here’s a quick look at who had a season worth remembering and who left more to be desired.
Hector Herrera: Looking towards 2023
When the announcement was first made that Herrera would be joining the Houston Dynamo, many were left confused as to why he would leave La Liga to go play in the MLS, especially with the World Cup a few months away. Most speculated it was because of money. Regardless of the reason, there were hopes he would be able to help the team secure a playoff spot. That did not happen, as he only played in 10 games due to a right leg injury and the Dynamo were left without a playoff spot once again. Hopefully for the 2023 season Herrera is able to stay healthy and help the team to their first playoff spot since 2017.
Julian Araujo: Season to remember
The youngster was an integral piece for the LA Galaxy backline. He played 33 games and clocked over 2,700 minutes for the 2022 season. He even provided the lone goal in the game against Nashville that gave them the win and passage to the semis. Losing in the conference semifinals (and to crosstown rivals) is never easy. The season was a bit of a bummer considering most thought the Galaxy would finally get their sixth MLS Cup title. Even with that bummer, Araujo is a player LA wants to keep and build off of for the future.
Chicharito: Season to remember
While this year did not end with a trophy, it was one to look back at fondly for the Mexican international. 18 goals in 32 games, all while helping the Galaxy reach the Western Conference semifinals where they eventually lost to rivals LAFC. For a moment, it did seem as though the Galaxy would miss the playoffs, but Chicharito was there when needed to help the team make the postseason. Unfortunately, he was not able to score in both playoff games, and after a last minute goal by LAFC, their dreams of a sixth title were gone. The last time LA Galaxy won the MLS Cup was in 2014.
Carlos Vela: Season to remember
No Mexican international in the US can say they had a better 2022 season than Carlos Vela. The former El Tri member may have not been front and center like in past seasons, but this year he helped LAFC secure the Supporter’s Shield, the Western Conference title, and their first ever MLS Cup. He has adapted to more of a playmaker role compared to prior seasons, and that was evident when in the Conference Final against Austin FC, Vela set up the first two goals. It’s because of plays like those that LAFC were able to succeed, because Vela and everyone else played as a unit instead of individual players.
David Ochoa: Looking towards 2023
The youngster had a season that he for sure wants to forget and is better off looking forward to next season and starting fresh. The beginning of the season was a tough one as he didn’t have much playing time with Real Salt Lake. He was out due to a right quad injury for the first two months and the last time he was seen on the roster was at the end of April. From there, he was sent to the Real Monarchs where he played two games and it wasn’t until July that Ochoa himself posted on his Instagram account that he was still part of the team but couldn’t train or leave. He was traded to DC United after the social media posts and the trade did not go well. United ended up last place with a goal differential of -35 and they allowed 76 goals compared to first place Philadelphia who allowed 26. With his contract up, it’ll be interesting to see if Ochoa looks for a new team or returns to DC after a forgettable 2022.
Maria Sanchez: Season to remember
While the season didn’t end the way Sanchez hoped it would, the Mexican international had a great first year with the Houston Dash. Sanchez originally played with Houston in June 2021 while on loan from Tigres of the Liga MX Femenil. She then returned to Mexico but decided to head back to the NWSL for the 2022 season where she played a vital role for the Dash. She played in 21 matches, scored 2 goals, and provided 4 assists, but it’s her presence on the field that mattered more. She was a handful on the pitch and opposing defenses had trouble containing her because of how well she could get around them. Sanchez was a bright spot for Houston after a rough start to the season, but they were able to turn things around and make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
Jimena Lopez: Neutral
The Mexican international was a player who did not see much action in 2022, but she did see more minutes than last season. Last season she played in only two games compared to seven this year for a total of 400 minutes. Of those seven games, Lopez was included in the starting lineup in four of them. OL Reign has a lot of depth in every position, so Jimenez will have to fight to earn consistent minutes.
Diana Ordoñez: Season to remember
The youngster was drafted sixth overall and it was apparent she would make a difference for the North Carolina Courage. She scored her first goal in May and didn’t stop there. When she returned from international duty with Mexico, who failed to qualify for another World Cup, it seemed as if Ordóñez took her frustration out and put it towards her club. One month later, she broke the record for goals scored by a rookie in August and subsequently was named Rookie of the Month for her eight goals and went on to score 3 more. The 11 goals did help her land a Rookie of the Year nomination that she did not win, but it wasn’t enough to help the Courage secure a playoff spot. North Carolina are going to want to keep Ordóñez around for a long time because a player of her caliber can and will make a difference for the team.
Karina Rodriguez: Looking towards 2023
This past season was not one Rodriguez had in mind and it’s honestly not her fault. It was a tough season in general for the Washington Spirit who started the season defending their 2021 title, but failed to claim even a playoff spot. The Spirit finished in 11th place where they allowed 33 goals all season and had to fight fatigue because the schedule had them playing games every 3 days, as that would be tough for any team. They had trouble closing games because of the exhaustion and would allow opposing teams to either draw or take the game completely. Unfortunately, there was not much Rodriguez was able to do as she was primarily used as a late sub. She only played eight games for a total of 343 minutes. After the limited minutes, Rodriguez can close the chapter on the 2022 season and move on to next year where she’ll be fighting for a spot in the starting lineup.
What are your thoughts, how did the players do?