By DAN KARELL
Mexico’s 1-0 victory over Jamaica on Tuesday night may have convinced fans of El Tri that the team could find goals in difficult road CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers.
Instead, all it provided was false hope.
Javier Hernandez limped off with an injury in the second half and Mexico were forced to settle for a 0-0 draw against Panama on Friday in Panama City, El Tri’s third such draw in their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign since the start of the Hexagonal round. Also in action in CONCACAF qualifiers, Costa Rica defeated Honduras, 1-0, to go to the top of the Hexagonal table.
Panama’s Blas Perez had his side’s best chance just three minutes after halftime, but his left footed strike on goal in the box lacked power and was saved easily by Mexico goalkeeper Jose de Jesus Corona.
Mexico struggled to get the ball at the feet of their midfielders and forwards, as central defenders Hector Moreno and Francisco Rodriguez had the ball at their feet along the half-way line for good portions of the match.
In nearby San Jose, Costa Rica, Roy Miller became an instant trivia answer while scoring the game-winning goal against Honduras, leading the Ticos to a 1-0 victory at home.
The New York Red Bulls left back rose highest and sent a looping header over the head of Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares in the 25th minute after a free kick from Costa Rica midfielder Celso Borges was parried back into the danger zone by Valladares.
Borges was the key cog in the Ticos attack, making 43 successful passes across the center of the field as well as being the first line of defense when Honduras picked up the ball. Honduran midfielder Roger Espinoza had himself a good day but was unable to find teammates Carlo Costly and Jerry Bengtson in the box with a trademark cross from the left.
The result creates a log-jam at the top of the Hexagonal group, with Mexico, Costa Rica, and the United States all level on seven points. Costa Rica currently leads the U.S. on goal difference, while Mexico sits in third place due to having played one more game than the Ticos and the U.S.
Honduras meanwhile went from the top of the group in mid-March to second from bottom, having failed to win either of their last two matches. Panama slots in at fourth place with six points, just one behind the leaders, while Jamaica remains at the bottom with just two points from five games.
What did you think of Friday’s matches? Do you feel that Mexico is in trouble? Impressed with Costa Rica’s resolve?
Share your thoughts below.
I still think Mexico have the most class in the confederation. What they do lack and its very apparent now is a true creative midfielder who can break down a squad that’s relying on defending and taking their chances with counter attacking. Another big question is who is going to help Chicharito? Mexico’s goal drought is no one on the squad has the pace to play alongside Hernandez. A creative mid would help create a few chances, but Chicharito is no powerful force up front as he struggles with North American squads. He has some real class about his game, but needs someone to take some of the mark on his chest. I know Mexico have enough talent to even play with some of Europe, but I’m just not impressed with the tactics this manager is using. I don’t like seeing anyone get sacked, but Mexico needs to make some sort of quick change and idk if sacking the manager is the right decision but everything needs looked at. On another note I still look for Mexico to qualify without having to deal with any sort of playoff with another confederation. The U.S. appears to be a lock given they don’t let this match slip. They are playing much more organized football and that’s due to klinsmann’s intelligence of the game. But I know a lot of U.S. followers who think this squad is quarter final ready in a World Cup. Sorry, a loss to a hazard-less Belgium, a friendly win against what was basically a 1-2 German nationals with the rest being a mix of Germany’s u-21 and their B squad. Not impressed. This is the flipping concacaf, a country like the US should blow through this quilifying hex and look to put up a good fight to Germany’s top flight not be content with squeaking out a win against their recent call ups bc their key players were playing a champions league final lol. I think klinsmann is doing the best he can with what he has. But at the end of day the United States should thank God they play in a confederation like this. I see 4-5 squads in Europe who are better right now than the United States that won’t even qualify for Brasil. But the United States will qualify. My picks are simple for this confederation hex.
1. United States – will be atop this hex with the results they’ve put in lately in the hex.
2. Mexico – will turn things around. I feel they feel a lot of heat and pressure at home. It’s rare but I think this squad looks forward to going on the road. They’ll be one of the 3 no doubt.
3. Costa Rica – they aren’t the 3rd best squad in north/central America, but they have picked up results of late and huge results at that. Ruiz is playing inspiring football and while they wot score many goals nor pose any sort of challenge to anyone in the World Cup they’ve done what’s needed to qualify thus far.
4. Panama – a loss in the US isn’t great, but they have a decent enough squad to fill the 4th spot and overall are probably the 3rd best squad in terms of talent.
Jamaica – just not impressed with them lately. I don’t even hold this federation to high standards, but Jamaica has been disappointing thus far.
Honduras – a more experienced and a much better squad in the talent department than Costa Rica, but they’ve been less than pleasing and just haven’t gotten it done. I don’t look for this campaign to change. The US/Mexico/costa rica are through with Panama possibly winning a playoff to book their ticket to brazil as well.
Costa Rica’s on the rise again.
Mexico will qualify. 100%. I’m not a fan – god i’m no fan- but there’s too much skill, too much Azteca, too much history, too much Chicharito for them not make it. Class will win out. And I hope they do cause I’ll admit they’re easy on the eyes when they get that fluid Barca-lite thing going.
So back in 2002 their first five games in the Hex went like this: 0-2 (US), 4-0 (Jam), 1-1 (T&T), 1-2 (Costa Rica) at Azteca, 1-3 (Honduras) That’s 4 points after 5 games. There was talk of Mexico not making the Cup but I knew, as sure as El Matador Hernandez was not a natural blonde, that Mexico would make it. And they did. And we’re glad they did since it led to “Dos a Cero” but that’s another story.
Today they have 7 points after 5 games. Not bad. Not great. But not bad. Yes Mexico, please go beat up on Costa Rica, Honduras and Panama and we’ll happily clatter along in your wake winning weird games in blizzards or through the grace of some guy named “brad evans”.
USNT needs to continue to win, we need mexico not win and start to lose.
Does anyone know if it’s still the case that one of US and Mexico will be seeded as one top 8 teams in the WC? If so, how exactly is it decided?
No one from C’CAF will be seeded.
How are the seeds determined? FIFA picks their 8 seeds, then creates a formula to make that happen. True story. See France 2010.
That’s not guaranteed at all, and while Mexico had an outside shot at a seed before, that looks even more shaky now.
Basically, Brazil is guaranteed a seed as the host nation, and then a committee determines the other seven. There is no geographic spread guaranteed. It will just be the seven teams that committee feels are the strongest. They don’t rely on the FIFA rankings, but everyone is looking at the same things. The FIFA rankings are formulaic, while I believe the seeding committee is free not to be. Still, you won’t see too many surprises.
Spain, Germany, Argentina, Portugal and Italy seem like locks. The other two spots will be between England, Russia, Ivory Coast, Croatia, Colombia, Belgium, etc. I don’t think the Dutch are in the running after Euros, but they have looked better since. Mexico was my favorite dark horse before the Hex. Now I’d put Japan there.
Thanks. Didn’t realize that it was fully subjective
The seeds are done similarly to the college football BCS rankings. An arbitrary formula is set up and the teams are chosen from the top. I’m not sure if they use the FIFA rankings but it is something similar. Mexico tends to get seeded well because the formula gives neutral and away games a higher ranking than home games and Mexico set up “neutral” games in Los Angeles often in world cup years to score big wins that count extra.
Mexico was seeded in 2006, though.
I just want to point it out that Mexico got 4 points from two away games …….in case no one noticed
Mexico doesn’t scare me. They look average
Their front four of Aquino/Dos Santos/Guardardo/Chicharito have looked terrible. They are playing very far from their potential.
They scare Klinsmann, who chose to bunker in Azteca instead of attacking them.
When does Chepo get tossed aside?
Idk if anyone has noticed but Mexico’s goalie Corona has looked outstanding, looks like well have to deal with him for years
On paper, that’s a heck of a team. Maybe a defender away from being considered one of the true favorites at the next World Cup. But that’s on paper – on turf, something isn’t working right. It almost looks English, in that they may be over-forcing feeds to Hernandez and just hoping that one player can find a way to carry the attack load.
Mexico a favorite at the WC? Have you compared their roster to a Germany or a Belgium? Not even close.
Cheech is quality, but come on. They are throwing out a washed up Salcido and Torrado along with “blah-rerra”.
They are good, but not nearly the powerhouse that some people think they are.
I agree- their attacking four of dos santos, guardado, Hernandez, and maybe even de negris are class; but their previous strength at CM is a weak spot now.
Very true. The gold standard is still European football, especially the top 4 leagues and not very many Mexicans play there. Most play in Liga MX and the Mexican NT traditionally does not do well against European teams, especially the bigger, more powerful teams from northern Europe. They even had trouble in a friendly this year against a Denmark that was missing a # of first teamers.
Without Corona, Mexico might have lost two games that they drew. He’s been the best GK in CONCACAF that I’ve seen, much better than Howard.
I agree, he really has, they might’ve gotten 1 point the last two games without him
Too bad Panama couldn’t win.
This. It could be I have the last gold cup fresh in my head, but it seems to me that Panama has an opportunity to play spoiler here, especially if Mexico keeps leaving points on the table.
While injury to Jones and card accumulation to Zusi don’t make it a lock, the US is bring served a great opportunity to put some distance between themselves and the pack. If the US cannot secure two wins, a draw against Panama and a win against Costa Rica (and more drifting by Mexico) would be ideal.
From the perspective of a USMNT fan (which presumably we both are), the better result would be Mexico winning.
Right now, let’s say Jamaica is out of the running with only 2 points in five games played. That leaves five sides in the running for three spots. Unless you are rooting against Mexico just because, you have to figure they are still likely to be one of those three. Panama is one of our targets not to be up there.
It’s not like we have a shot at getting one of the top eight seeds in Brazil, so winning the Hex is meaningless. Mexico may have had a shot at that before the Hex began, but unless they lift the trophy at the confeds cup and win the Hex, that boat has probably sailed. More than likely, at this point, everyone is looking at just getting to Brazil.
I agree. I think it’s more beneficial to the US for Mexico to beat up on Honduras, Panama and Costa Rica.
Still think it will go U.S.– Mexico — Honduras — Costa Rica.
Although I wouldn’t mind having Panama nip CR for that 4th spot.
Mexico has now played half its qualifiers and has been the biggest disappointment thus far (from the perspective of its fans). Before the Hex, I would have said any predictions that didn’t start with Mexico first were out there. Now, given that their starters will have to also play in the confeds cup, this thing is up for grabs. The door is even open for scenarios in which, gasp, Mexico might have to beat New Zealand to advance to the finals.
I’ve said all along that CR was for real. I know Honduras looks and feels like a national program on the rise, but starter for starter, CR players still have a little bit more impressive collective resume, and CR has a reputation for over-performing in these qualifiers. The only thing that may have kept CR from a bigger lead in the group is the Denver blizzard. Does any USMNT fan really want to replay that game on a clear/dry field?
Agree Mexico has looked terrible and i’m now wishing the 4th place team would have to play a south american team like in years past just because it’s a very real possibility that Mexico comes in 4th, would love to see them not make it. It looks like US or CR for the top spot and I’ll go Mexico for the 3rd with Panama and Honduras fighting it out for the 4th
Sorry, it was early and I didn’t have my specs on. I agree that we have a shot the top spot but I think Mexico is fading.
Listening to the announcer last night, it occurred to me that Jamaica has a lot of Jermaines on their team; four. Although we have more Germans, we have but one Jermain, who is a German, but it’s probably not germane to the situation.
Nice play on words
A lot of Jermaines, Jones, and Johnsons!
Not sure this is germane to the subject.