Carlos NavaESPN digital writerReading: 3 minutes.
Jimmy Lozano and the new Tricolor may have fallen short of expectations against an Australian team that nearly spoiled the party.
Arlington – Operation Jimmy Lozano And the new Tricolor may have fallen short of expectations against an Australian team that nearly spoiled the Mexican party at the Cowboys’ home.
But Lozano showed his ability to respond with the right changes to repair what already looked like a tri-colour defeat, until in the 83rd minute Cesar Huerta, who came on as a substitute, scored a stunning goal to draw 2-2 with Australia.
The fears that Lozano admitted he had before the match became reality: lack of clarity, excessive possession and little definition, plus initial defensive errors that proved costly.
It was clear to the 52,787 fans who paid admission to AT&T Stadium that it was the first warm-up match after the summer of emotions that crowned the Mexican national team with the Gold Cup championship and the confirmation of Lozano as the absolute coach.
Mexico could and perhaps should have had better luck in this outcome. He had possession of the ball nearly 70 percent of the game. He also kicked two penalty kicks, but only one went into the goal.
On the other hand, the Australians took advantage of the few opportunities they had to control the match almost until the end.
But the goals of Raul Jimenez, also a substitute, and Huerta’s goal at least equalized the first of the two matches that the Mexican national team played in less than a week.
Australia woke up Mexico early with a goal in the 19th minute in an apparent defensive oversight and in the 63rd minute they were adjudged another foul from behind who committed a penalty kick to close AT&T Stadium with goals by Harry Souttar and Martin Boyle, respectively.
Mexico were awarded a penalty kick in the 53rd minute, after Soutar himself was handed a hand in the middle of a split play with Santi Jimenez, who attacked the ball but shot it past the Australian goalkeeper’s right post.
One of the most established players in the national team since Lozano took charge, Johan Vazquez, neglected to make his mark on a free kick, allowing Harri Souttar to get ahead of him, who scored the goal with a header that practically silenced. The entire AT&T Stadium was painted green, white, and red.
From there, the Australians gained confidence but not in possession, something that continued into the first 45 minutes in the hands of the Mexicans, albeit with less creativity and less accuracy.
The one-triangle shot that ended with a Jesús Gallardo shot was the only play where goaltender Matthew Ryan had to go all out.
70 percent of the first 45 minutes Tricolor had possession of the ball, but with only two shots on target.
The second part was similar. Mexico had possession, but more deeply this time. He even won the penalty kick that Jimenez called for when Orbelin Pineda took the ball. But it was wasted.
Jimenez came on for Raul Jimenez in the 59th minute, while Cesar Huerta came on for Alexis Vega.
The Tricolor team tried to fail in definition and coordination, something Coach Lozano himself had warned against and one of his priorities for improvement, spoiling the party once again in the “home of Mexico outside of Mexico”.
To make matters worse, Julian Araujo tripped Riley Macri. Martin Boyle took charge and Australia’s deficit was reduced to 2-0 thanks to a perfectly executed penalty in the 63rd minute.
Jimenez brought Mexico closer by perfectly converting a penalty kick to make it 2-1.
Hector Herrera, who had little presence in the midfield, and Pineda, who was one of those who tried most to attack, left in the 77th minute, and Eric Sanchez and Jordi Cortizo entered.
Now, Mexico will have to leave the encounter behind them to head to Atlanta where on Tuesday they will face Uzbekistan in this fleeting FIFA history to try and return home with better results.
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