Hector Moreno's late goal rescues a point for deserving Mexico
On Sunday, Mexico kicked off its Confederations Cup run with an entertaining 2-2 draw against Portugal. Thanks to goals from Javier Hernandez and Hector Moreno, El Tri was able to steal a late point from its most daunting competitor of the group stage.
With a well-earned draw in hand, Mexico will now travel to Sochi in order to prepare for its next match against New Zealand on Wednesday.
Despite the fact that El Tri entered the game as the underdog, the squad was able to dictate the pace of the match with plenty of possession. When Mexico lost the ball, the team also did an excellent job of immediately closing down Portugal with high-pressure.
As mentioned beforehand, the point earned is also vital for Mexico. Following the draw, El Tri's chances of qualifying for the knockout round have easily gone up.
The defense was a serious worry on Sunday.
Even with less possession, Portugal was able to create plenty of dangerous opportunities against Mexico's lackadaisical backline. Were it not for Guillermo Ochoa, El Tri could have easily lost its Confederation Cup opener. Juan Carlos Osorio might need to reconsider his current defensive starters for the rest of the group stage.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Although credit should be given to Osorio for fielding a strong lineup, it's also fair to question a couple of his substitutions.
Carlos Vela, who was taken out early on in the second half, was Mexico's most dangerous player before being substituted. The late inclusion of 33-year-old Oribe Peralta was also questionable, especially when Osorio had more agile and exciting names like Hirving Lozano and Javier Aquino on the bench.
Also worth noting was Hernandez's somewhat strange position on the left wing. The striker had a praiseworthy performance, but one can't help but think if he would have had another goal or two if he played in a more central role.
Player ratings (1-10, with 10 the best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating.)
GK Guillermo Ochoa, 7.5 -- Despite the goals scored by Portugal, Ochoa made a few crucial saves that helped Mexico clinch a point. Whether he remains as a starter for El Tri's next match, remains to be seen.
DF Carlos Salcedo, 4 -- The right-back nearly scored on his own net and was mostly at fault for Portugal's first goal. A disappointing performance from the talented defender.
DF Diego Reyes, 6 -- Reyes was never truly able to take control of his defensive area. In spite of the fact that he stepped up with occasional clearances, the 24-year-old lacked confidence throughout his 90 minutes.
DF Hector Moreno, 7 -- Moreno's horrific marking had a part in Portugal's first goal. That said, the central defender compensated for his mistake through an equalizer in the 91st minute.
DF Miguel Layun, 4.5 -- An off day for the left-back. Layun failed to connect with the rest of his roster and never made much of an impact in the attack.
MF Jonathan dos Santos, 8 -- Mexico's best player on the day. Dos Santos frustrated Portugal with his interceptions, high-pressure and constant running. The 27-year-old, who never ran out of energy, later provided the assist for Moreno's equalizer.
MF Hector Herrera, 5.5 -- An underwhelming match for Herrera. The Porto player was far too quiet in midfield and was never much of a threat in the attack. Herrera's poor clearance also led to the opposition's second goal.
MF Andres Guardado, 6.5 -- Another member of the midfield that was far too reserved. Other than his constant supply of passes, there isn't much to say about the team captain.
FW Carlos Vela, 7.5 -- Vela stepped up for Mexico with dangerous runs and an impressive assist for Hernandez's goal in the first half. A bit confusing why Osorio decided to substitute him out during the 57th minute.
FW Javier Hernandez, 7 -- The striker helped keep El Tri alive with a well-placed header that secured a goal in the 42nd minute. Although he wasn't playing in his usual position, Hernandez was still able to greatly influence the attack.
FW Raul Jimenez, 6.5 -- Jimenez's dangerous moments going forward were too infrequent for Mexico. However, it must be noted that the striker worked hard by dropping back and connecting with the midfield.
FW Giovani dos Santos, 5 -- Was substituted in for Vela in the 57th minute. Where was Gio? The 28-year-old constantly appeared lost during his appearance in the second half.
DF Nestor Araujo, 6.5 -- Was substituted in for Salcedo during the 67th minute. Limited time for the defender who was brought on for the disappointing Salcedo. Couldn't do much to help prevent Portugal's late goal.
FW Oribe Peralta, NR -- Was brought on for Jimenez in the 79th minute.
Cesar Hernandez covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @cesarhfutbol.