Rodolfo Pizarro, Erick Torres missing in action as Mexico bows out of Gold Cup
Jamaica earned a historic 1-0 semifinal win over Mexico in the 2017 Gold Cup on Sunday night. Thanks to a late game-winner from Kemar Lawrence in the 88th minute, the Reggae Boyz have now sneaked past El Tri and earned themselves a spot in the tournament final.
As for Mexico, although manager Juan Carlos Osorio brought a backup roster to the competition, it's fair to say that a place outside of the championship match is a major disappointment. Despite his excellent run of form during World Cup qualifying, pressure will only continue to mount on the manager who had little room for mistakes.
It's very difficult to find positives for Mexico, but the performance from Edson Alvarez is worth noting. No matter what position he has been placed in, the youngster always finds a way to shine with his tireless energy.
In a tournament where numerous up-and-coming talents never really stepped up for El Tri, Alvarez stood out from the rest with his consistent and impressive matches.
Where to begin?
The attack was predictable, the team was caught making too many unnecessary fouls and promising names such as Orbelin Pineda, Erick Gutierrez and Rodolfo Pizarro failed to make much of an impact.
This tournament was supposed to be a huge opportunity for numerous developing and intriguing options to make a name for themselves. Other than Alvarez, and maybe Raul Lopez, there isn't another young name from this roster that can hold their heads up high after the Gold Cup.
Manager rating (out of 10)
6.5 -- With the suspended Osorio watching from afar, assistant manager Luis Pompilio Paez was once again left taking charge on the sideline.
Should the management be criticized for Sunday's loss? Most definitely. If there had been fewer experiments in the group stage, Mexico might have been able to enter this match with more cohesion and unity built in the starting XI. Leaving a player like Lopez out of the starting XI, and only giving him a small cameo in the second half, is also questionable.
That said, the lineup that was laid out should have gotten the job done. Although it's easy for media and fans to blame management, a significant amount of criticism should also be put on the disappointing players.
Player ratings (1-10, with 10 the best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Jose de Jesus Corona, 7 -- Were it not for Corona, Mexico might have lost this match by two or three goals. His positioning could have been better for the lone one that was conceded, but he was also one of El Tri's best with his massive saves throughout the defeat.
DF Edson Alvarez, 7.5 -- Against Jamaica, Alvarez was superb with his interceptions that helped kick-start attacking plays. The 19-year-old, who also produced near-perfect passes, continues to exceed expectations.
DF Hugo Ayala, 6 -- A solid performance that will be tarnished by a late foul. After knocking down Michael Binns in the 86th minute, Ayala provided Jamaica with a free kick which led to the game-winner.
DF Jair Pereira, 6.5 -- The high-pressing defender at times looked like a midfielder with his daring runs forward. Pereira was also another leader on the pitch that was barking out orders.
MF Jesus Duenas, 7 -- Active and hard-working, Duenas was the glue that helped spray out passes to the frontline. The veteran was also a bit unlucky to not score an early goal.
MF Rodolfo Pizarro, 3 -- Where was Pizarro? The result could have been entirely different if Mexico had a central attacking midfielder with more spirit and energy on the field.
MF Jesus Molina, 6 -- Molina had a decent start which became increasingly worrisome as the game progressed. In the second half, the defensive midfielder was left chasing Jamaican counters one too many times.
MF Erick Gutierrez, 4 -- Another name which didn't have much of an influence. When Gutierrez did have the ball at his feet, he either made conservative passes or lost possession.
FW Elias Hernandez, 5 -- Credit to Hernandez for at least attempting crosses, but most were far too inaccurate. The winger's finishing was also underwhelming.
FW Erick Torres, 3.5 -- A depressing end to a dull Gold Cup for Torres. Other than a clear chance that was headed straight to Jamaican goalkeeper Andre Blake, and one interception, there was little that "Cubo" did well.
FW Orbelin Pineda, 5 -- Similar to Hernandez, Pineda was at least trying to make something happen in the attack. Unfortunately for Mexico, most of his dribbling and passes lacked creativity.
FW Angel Sepulveda, 4 -- Was substituted on for Torres during halftime. Although Sepulveda mixed things up with more runs than Cubo in the attack, the striker was just as ineffective in the frontline.
FW Jesus Gallardo, 5.5 -- Was substituted on for Gutierrez during the 59th minute. Gallardo was a much-needed but unsuccessful source of energy on the wings. The 22-year-old added to the long list of inaccurate crosses.
FW Raul Lopez, N/A -- Was substituted on for Hernandez during the 79th minute.
Cesar Hernandez covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @cesarhfutbol.