Mexico ended their summer matches with an away tie against Jamaica, ending in a 1-1 score. Mexico overcame an early Jamaican goal to be overall the better side in a tough venue against a Jamaica that was a lot closer to their A squad than Mexico. Mexico now closes the participation of their senior team before their next friendly on August 31st against Paraguay.
The first half started as Mexico made a number of changes from the starting lineup that played on Saturday against Suriname. A minute into the match, Mexico had a great chance when cross into the area was lowered for Luis Chavez to get a left footed shot from close range. Chavez’ shot forced Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake to make a great save. The ball rebounded straight to Uriel Antuna, who made a terrible blunder by missing the open net opportunity with a wide shot. Jamaica answered immediately, making Mexico pay. The Reggae Boyz got a cross into the area and a terrible defensive mistake allowed Leon Bailey to get a wide open header past Mexico goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota for the 1-0 lead for the home side. Then off of a corner kick, Shamar Nicholson rose to get a header that hit the post. Jamaica was in control of the match, and Mexico was reeling after their good start. Mexico had a chance off of a counter, but after Antuna’s cross into the area got to Orbelin Pineda, he took too long and then his shot went wide. Mexico got a good chance when a pass into the area found Kevin Alvarez, who got off a right footed shot that forced Blake to make a good save. Mexico had retaken control of the possession, and were dictating the pace of the game while Jamaica sat back. On a quick counter, Bailey easily went by a struggling Jesus Alberto Angulo, but his left footed shot went wide. Mexico then wasted a great chance when a great pass by Santiago Gimenez into the area would have left Antuna a great chance, but Antuna fell in the area and got yellow carded for a dive. Then in the last play of the first half off a free kick, Luis Chavez got a great cross into the area where Luis Romo jumped, getting off a great header that went past Blake for the 1-1 equalizer. It was a good goal and a just reward, as Mexico had done enough to get a deserved tie.
The second half started with both teams hoping to improve on their first half performance and hoping to get the win. Jamaica had a great chance early when Bailey found Nicholson, who chipped the ball over Cota, but an incredible diving save from Romo cleared the ball off the line in what would have been a sure goal. A great back heel play from Alvarez would have been a great play, but Fernando Beltran’s pass went right to a Jamaican defender, wasting a good play from Alvarez. Off of a free kick, Chavez almost surprised Blake with a shot that went just over the goal. Mexico then subbed out Orbelin Pineda for Diego Lainez. Lainez would immediately dribble through two Jamaican defenders and get off a left footed shot that was saved by Blake. A minute later, a great cross into the area found a wide open Antuna, but he got off a terrible header that went wide. Mexico got a great counter when a Lainez long ball found Antuna, who then left the ball into the path of Chavez, who got off a left footed shot that was saved by Blake. Mexico subbed out Santiago Gimenez and Fernando Beltran for Henry Martin and Erick Sanchez. Rain started to fall in Kingston in what later would turn into a storm. With the conditions on the field going south fast, Mexico still tried to go on the offense. After Jamaica lost the ball, Lainez got into the area and got off a strong right footed shot that made Blake make a great save to stop the goal. Jamaica then subbed out Kevon Lambert for Rolando Aarons. Later Chavez got a left footed shot from outside the area that went just wide. Antuna then hit a shot from outside the area but it was easily saved by Blake. It was the last good chance of the evening, and the match ended with a tie.
Mexico came back to get a good result in the Nations League. It was far from a great performance for the team, but it was a better result that many people thought. Jamaica is always a tough foe for Mexico, especially away. Although Mexico was mostly a B team since the main starters were left out of camp for the Nations League, Jamaica had close to their A team including their best attacker Leon Bailey, now depending if Michail Antonio continues in the team or not. Mexico was overall the better team, but what is more important for Coach Gerardo Martino is seeing which players impressed en route to that final squad list for Qatar 2022. Once again Diego Lainez looked to be the best Mexican National Team player. It was also a great game for Luis Chavez, who might be the biggest surprise this summer. Kevin Alvarez also showed good things in his first start for El Tri this summer, and Luis Romo scored his first national team goal, which had him bounce back after a slow start. On the other side once again Jesus Alberto Angulo had a very weak performance, and although Santiago Gimenez didn’t shine as much as he had in past games, once Henry Martin came in, he was strongly missed, another black mark for Martin. Mexico showed some good things on Tuesday and got a good result, but now they have to forget about the tournament and pay attention to the World Cup and to the next friendly to be played in two and a half months.