Skillful sub Guardado earns 9/10 in Mexico's win over Canada
That's now two wins in two Gold Cup matches for Mexico manager Gerardo "Tata" Martino. El Tri had an impressive performance with a 3-1 victory over Canada on Wednesday night, only days after a 7-0 thrashing of Cuba in their opener. With a spot nearly secured in the knockout round of the tournament, Mexico has one remaining match in the group stage against Martinique this Sunday.
Ahead of the close of the group stage, here are a few takeaways and player ratings from Mexico's recent win.
No matter the injury problems and lack of marquee players, Martino has continued to enforce his attack-minded style of play through a clear and imposing identity in a 4-3-3 formation. Against Canada, Mexico was eventually able to break down a rigid defensive approach from the opposition that initially frustrated Tata and his men.
Let's not skip past those injuries though. Erick Gutierrez strained what appeared to be his right hamstring during the first half and was forced out of the match. Later in the second half, Luis "Chaka" Rodriguez suffered a knock of his own but did eventually return to the field. It remains to be seen whether they'll miss the next game as a precaution.
Manager rating (out of 10)
9 -- Martino's system is working and all of his players are buying into it. Whether it be a veteran or newcomer, every member of his roster has seamlessly transitioned into his style of play and tactics. The only (slight) issue on Wednesday were a couple of strange substitutions, although Martino did have a limited bench to work with due to the growing list of injury problems they have had.
Player ratings (1-10, with 10 the best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Guillermo Ochoa, 7 -- Despite the fact that it was a fairly easy evening for Guardado, the goalkeeper did have to step up with a few occasional saves. The 33-year-old also shouldn't be given any of the blame for Canada's lone goal either.
DF Luis Rodriguez, 7 -- The fullback was adventurous with his passing and runs on the right flank, almost to a fault, but it did regularly benefit Mexico. A highly active match from the Tigres player who bounced back after being dealt with a slight knock in the second half.
DF Diego Reyes, 5 -- Reyes was a weak link in the backline and a constant target through Canada's counters. He'll have to improve if he wants to hold onto a starting role.
DF Nestor Araujo, 6 -- Were it not for his blunder that gifted Canada a goal, Araujo would at least have rated higher for his clearances and tackles. Nonetheless, the mistake can't be ignored.
DF Jesus Gallardo, 8 -- Gallardo was fantastic for Mexico. The 24-year-old fullback stayed busy as a vital source of tackles, crosses and interceptions on the left flank.
MF Jonathan dos Santos, 7 -- Dos Santos had a quiet yet diligent performance. Buzzing around the midfield, the LA Galaxy player did well to pressure Canada and connect with the frontline.
MF Edson Alvarez, 8 -- There seems to be no doubt that Alvarez is Mexico's best defensive midfielder. The 21-year-old patrolled his area of the pitch while constantly yelling out instructions to his teammates.
MF Erick Gutierrez, 5 -- Gutierrez struggled to have a presence on the field and almost seemed to shy away from the ball. To make matters worse, an injury forced him out of the game in the 37th minute.
FW Uriel Antuna, 8 -- After being a part of the build-up of Mexico's first goal of the night, Antuna later provided the assist to make it 3-1 over Canada. Credit should also be given to him after needing to play as a right-back in the final minutes of the win.
FW Raul Jimenez, 8 -- No goals and no assists, but let's not overlook the fact that the hard-working striker had a role in all three of Mexico's goals on Wednesday. In spite of his missed opportunities, Jimenez can hold his head high for his constant effort in the final third that helped El Tri find the back of the net.
FW Roberto Alvarado, 7 -- Alvarado didn't shine as brightly as Antuna or Jimenez, but he was able to open up the scoresheet with a goal in the 40th minute. A decent evening for the left winger who sporadically made things difficult for Canada's backline.
MF Andres Guardado, 9 -- Substituted in for Gutierrez during the 37th minute. What more could you ask of the veteran? With no time to warm up, Guardado replaced the injured Gutierrez and carried Mexico with his two goals in the win.
FW Luis Montes, 6 -- Substituted in for Alvarado during the 68th minute. Not much to say about Montes. The midfielder -- who was placed on the left wing -- saw little of the ball and had no real impact with his conservative passing.
MF Carlos Rodriguez, N/A -- Substituted in for Dos Santos during the 73rd minute.