Mexico fell to Paraguay 1-0 on Wednesday night before a packed stadium of 51,387.
Mexico’s starting XI: Carlos Acevedo (GK), Kevin Alvarez (D), Cesar Montes (Captain)(D), Jesus Angulo (D), Jesus Gallardo (D), Luis Romo (MF), Carlos Rodriguez (MF), Uriel Antuna (MF), Luis Chavez (MF), Roberto Alvarado, Alexis Vega (F)
Paraguay starting XI: Anthony Silva (GK), Ivan Piris (D), Bruno Valdez (D), Saul Salcedo (D), Mateo Gamarra (D), Richard Ortiz (Captain)(MF), Andres Cubas (MF), Richard Sanchez (MF), Lorenzo Melgarejo (MF), Derlis Gonzalez (F), Carlos Gonzalez (F)
Since the match took place outside of the FIFA window, both sides used a mix of players domestic league players from their respective countries. Players like Rodolfo Pizarro (CF Monterrey) and Kevin Álvarez (CF Pachuca) showed up for Mexico while Luis Zárate (Olimpia) and Santiago Rojas (Nacional) took up arms for Paraguay.
Mexico didn’t waste any time testing Paraguay’s backline. Within minutes, Cesar Montes connected a solid header on goal but goalkeeper Anthony Silva sprung into action to parry the ball away. Mexico’s pursuit continued as Silva was beaten to his left by Mexico’s Carlos Rodriguez. After drawing the keeper off his line, Rodriguez tapped the ball across the face of goal but hit the sidebar.
In the 29′, Jesus Gallardo had a chance for a half volley off of his chest but was called offsides after Silva deflected his attempt. Just a few minutes later, Roberto Alvarado snuck a cheeky chip into Luis Chavez but his off-balanced shot went wide of the keeper. By halftime, Anthony Silva was the hero of the half and Paraguay’s most important asset.
In the 50′, Paraguay finally broke the deadlock and went on to win the match. Derlis Gonzalez scored the match-winner for “La Albiroja” and deflated the Mexican squad. La Selección launched a full offensive, tallying 13 shots and earning nine corner kicks, but were unable to beat Paraguay’s, Anthony Silva. Mexico out-possessed Paraguay 72%-28% but it means nothing if they can’t score goals.
Mexico head coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino heard the boos after their loss but that’s nothing new for him. “If they really knew me, they wouldn’t boo,” he commented post-match. He also noted that his utmost concern is for the players’ psyche.
Mexico’s next friendly will be against Peru on September 24 in Pasadena, CA. Martino’s men will have to find their form soon as the World Cup is just two months away.