Mexico defeated Paraguay 4-2 on Tuesday Night at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. Mexico’s two early goals within the first 10 minutes set the tone for what turned into a wild night in the Bay Area.
In the 6′, a long ball came to Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez. Running full-speed, he jostled a defender and headed the ball to the center of the 18-yard box where Jonathan Dos Santos nailed a half volley in the upper left corner for Mexico’s first goal. Three minutes later, there was more confusion on the Paraguayan back line as captain Gustavo Gómez attempted to block a low cross but his trailing leg redirected it past the keeper. The own goal was devasting as Paraguay allowed two goals in three minutes.
Tata Martino’s men were ruthless since the first whistle. In the 24′, Jonathan Dos Santos made a beautiful one-touch flick to Chicharito inside the box. Breaking the back line, Hernandez was immediately 1 v 1 with the keeper and blasted home Mexico’s third goal.
The momentum changed in the second half after the former Atlanta United talisman Miguel Almirón took the pitch. La Albirroja launched a fierce counterattack featuring Almirón, current Atlanta United player Tito Villalba, and Hernán Pérez. After two quality exchanges, Pérez would be the last one on the ball and score Paraguay’s first goal.
That momentum that came with Almirón’s presence was short-lived as the Newcastle United star was issued an instant red card after fouling Mexico’s José Juan Vásquez from behind. While Miggy was in total shock and relatively calm, Mexico’s Miguel Layún took exception to the dangerous foul and approached the Paraguayan star. Soon after, tempers flared and eventually, goalkeepers got involved and the benches cleared.
Paraguay didn’t give up and continued the pressure in Mexico’s defensive third. Confusion on the back line caused Paraguay to press and cause a mistake for El Tri. After Paraguay recovered the ball inside the box, the ball fell to the feet of Derlis González who finessed a shot from about 10-yards out past Mexico’s Raúl Gudiño.
Just when the Paraguayans were on the brink of settling a three-goal deficit, Luis Montes sealed the match in the opening minute of stoppage time. Keeping his composure, Montes was 1 v 1 with the goalkeeper, dribbled around him, and calmly slotted it home to calm the nerves of the Mexican faithful.
Tonight’s victory makes two-straight for Tata Martino whose men are not only adjusting to his style of play but thriving on it. With seven goals across two matches, the Mexican attack and high pressure is a carbon copy of what was seen at Atlanta United under Martino. What’s even more impressive is that today’s victory came with mostly new players. So after scoring three goals against Chile, Martino rotates the squad and scores four goals against a respectable Paraguayan side.
Things are looking up for Mexico and fans should be excited about the second leg of the #MexTour as well as this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup. La Selección will play their next match as part of the aforementioned tour June 5 at Tata’s old stomping grounds Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA.
Photo: James Lyons