Herrera screamer saves tie for Mexico



Mexico 3 : 3 Trinidad and Tobago

Match gallery
The international friendly between Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago ended in an action-packed 3-3 draw at Rio Tinto Stadium. The Soca Warriors looked set to pick up an unlikely victory against their much-vaunted CONCACAF opponents, but a stunning late goal from Hector Herrera spared the blushes for the Mexicans.

Mexico were coming into the game in a peculiar transitional phase – they’d won the Gold Cup in July, but soon after, had their then-coach Miguel Herrera sacked following a physical altercation with a commentator.

Ricardo Ferretti has been appointed as recently as late August, and has little time to imprint his brand of soccer on this Mexican team before their showdown with USMNT in a crucial Confederations Cup playoff in a month’s time. Skipper Carlos Vela spearheaded his attack, while Leverkusen-bound Javier Hernandez was starting on the bench.

Trinidad & Tobago had a decent Gold Cup themselves and were fine-tuning their game before the start of the World Cup qualifiers in November. Ahead of the game, coach Stephen Hart stressed the need to try new players against a Mexican side he thought was the “best in CONCACAF”. He was, however, missing the services of team captain Kenwyne Jones and defender Sheldan Bateau.

With a vocal, partisan crowd behind their back at the Rio Tinto, Mexico were effectively coming into the game with a home-field advantage – but the players on the pitch were barely able to match the electricity in the stands in the opening minutes.

Indeed, it was T&T who got drew first blood – forward Jonathon Glenn got T&T ahead as early as the 7th minute, when a deflected low cross from Earthquakes Cordell Cato fell nicely for him in the box. The forward took full advantage of the space afforded to him in the box to stun a vociferous crowd.


Mexico dominated the next period of play, playing quick direct balls to the forwards and pressing high without possession. T&T were able to withstand the barrage, however, and stretched the lead in the 39th minute mark, when defender Oswaldo Alanis sloppily gave the ball away to forward Jonathon Glenn at the edge of his box. The T&T forward teed up Keron Cummins in the box, whose deflected shot beat keeper Talavera Alfredo to give T&T a 2-1 lead.

Alanis’ slackness in possession wouldn’t have pleased coach Ferretti, the goal was really manufactured by Jonathon Glenn, who showed great perseverance and adhered to his task of defending from the front.

T&T were barely allowed breathing space as Mexico pulled one back almost immediately. A Torres Nilo cross from a wide-left position was met by Carlos Esquivel in the box, who neatly slotted the ball from close range.

Despite the goal from Esquivel, T&T coach Stephan Hart would’ve gone into the half-time break as the happier of the two coaches.

While occasionally lacking in composure in possession, his side showed good organization in defense and good pace on the counters, and made it evident that they were good value for their 2-1 lead.


The second-half started with Mexico out of the blocks quickly – but largely continuing their approach of playing direct at fast tempo while maintain width through wide-forwards. Paul Jiminez was introduced 10 minutes into the second half, and made an instant impact. The forward made a penetrating run into the T&T box to get on to the end of a Carlos Ezuivel flick-on, before bringing the ball nicely on to his chest. His deflected shot from close range ricocheted off T&T defender Daniel Cyrus to goal, pulling Mexico level in the 56th minute.

Mexico appeared to be the team in ascendancy, but once again, T&T found resources to score out of nowhere. In the 70th minute of play, T&T won a free-kick at the edge of the Mexican box following a counter-attack. Joevin Jones stepped up and scored from a brilliant left-footed curler to leave Talavera stranded. The team in red, once again, had a lead to hang on to.


It was all Mexico In the closing stages, as T&T dropped deeper and deeper into their box. Javier Aquino had a wonderful chance to equalize in the 80th minute following a good build-up play in the T&T box. With the goalkeeper slightly off-line, Aquino shot from an acute angle, but his shot was wide of goal.

There was one more twist to come, however. In the 85th minute of play, substitute Hector Herrera put El Tri level with a screamer from long-range after Mexico worked a short-corner routine that found Herrerra in space. The Porto midfielder still had plenty to do, and his curled long-ranger found the top corner past a hapless T&T keeper.

Ferretti’s first match showed a glimpse of the style of play that might follow from this Mexican side – quick, direct attack through the flanks and an emphasis over penetration rather than possession. Mexico face Argentina at AT&T stadium in Texas on Tuesday, and it be interesting to see if he maintains a similar approach against a much stronger opposition.

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