Mexico suffered a tough loss to Colombia 3-2 on Tuesday night at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. While “El Tri” dominated the first half, Colombia shifted gears and controlled the second.
With this being the final match of Mexico’s send-off series, a win would’ve done wonders all around. Ending their U.S. Tour with a win would boost faith in La Selección before their trip to the World Cup in Qatar, excite the fans before they see their team off, and take off some of the pressure that’s been mounted on manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino.
All seemed to be going well for Mexico in the first half. In the 4th minute, Colombia’s Luis Díaz fouled Mexico’s Carlos Antuna in the penalty area. El Tri’s No. 10, Alexis Vega, stepped up to take the penalty kick and confidently bested goalkeeper David Ospina.
In the 28th minute, Mexico had the opportunity to show off their creativity. A heavy pass turned into a through ball (thanks to a dummy along the way) that landed at the feet of Gerardo Arteaga. After one quick touch, Arteaga beat Ospina to his right and handed Mexico a hefty 2-0 lead with almost 20 minutes left to play in the first half.
Just before halftime, La Selección could’ve (and should’ve) put this game to bed, but a heavy first touch from Alexis Vega would see Ospina easily cradle the ball.
Just three minutes into the second half, Colombia’s Luis Sinisterra put “Los Parceros” on the board with a header. On a corner kick, Sinisterra rose above two defenders and headed the ball past Guillermo Ochoa.
Just minutes later, Jorge Carrascal drove the ball down the right flank and elected to cut back to Sinisterra instead of sending a ball into the box. With just a few feet of space, Sinisterra took his chance and beat Ochoa once again. With the match reaching a fever pitch at 2-2, with a good 30 minutes left to play, Wilmer Barrios put the final nail in Mexico’s coffin.
Barrios hit the sweetest volley you’ll see in this round of friendlies.
Mexico would lose the match 3-2 after Colombia’s three unanswered goals sealed their fate. The sad part about this is that Mexico played well. For what it’s worth, they looked like Martino’s men in the first half, showing glimpses of how they played when he first arrived at the helm. It could’ve been a draw, but in fairness, nobody could’ve stopped that rocket from Wilmar Barrios.
When the opponent’s No. 9 plays for Eintracht Frankfurt, their winger for Liverpool, and the fullback for Juventus, obviously there’s going to be a point in the game they’re going to impose their level. Those are the moments we have to sustain our composure, order, and not commit mistakes.”Gerardo “Tata” Martino post-match
If anything, Tata deserves criticism for his roster decisions. A plethora of Mexican players are making waves at home and in Europe, but Martino hasn’t budged much from his players (those that he continuously chooses). While star players Raúl Jiménez and Jesús “Tecatito” Corona are currently out due to injury, he’s caught plenty of flack for not even considering Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, Mexico’s all-time goalscorer.
Mexico has two matches left before World Cup play begins: Nov. 9 against Iraq and Nov. 16 against Sweden.
Photo: James Lyons