As voted by you guys, here is #2 in the top 5 most memorable moments of 2014 in Mexican soccer.
#2 “Memo” Ochoa vs. Brazil
Few things from 2014 resonate more in the minds of El Tri fans than Guillermo Ochoa’s magnificent performance against Brazil in Fortaleza. After sitting in the bench in 2006 and 2010, 2014 was the moment for Ochoa to shine. It was the game against the hosts, Brazil, that Ochoa finally arrived on the international stage.
Prior to the game, hundreds of Mexicans stood outside the team’s hotel to serenade the team. In a beautiful act of engagement with the fans, the players went outside to the hotel’s balcony and sang along. That moment was memorable in itself, but what would transpire hours later would be even more memorable.
On June 17, 2014, Mexico faced Brazil in a packed Estadio Castelao. Mexico’s performance that day would be heroic if not inspirational. The game would end in a 0-0 draw, but the overall sensation after that game would be one of accomplishment. El Tri went into a game where few gave them a chance and could had even won the game after 90 minutes.
No other player epitomized Mexico’s performance that day more than “Memo” Ochoa. It was in the 26th minute that Memo made the most iconic save of any Mexican goalkeeper at a World Cup in recent memory. Dani Alves sent a beautiful cross into the box. Neymar leaped a few inches higher than Rafa Marquez and sent a powerful header towards goal, but Memo was there to spectacularly deny Neymar of the opening goal.
Mexico would withstand every single Brazilian attack following that marvelous save, and against all odds, Mexico would come out of the Castelao with a point.
At that moment, Fortaleza was the place where Mexican soccer finally reconciled with their fans after a horrendous World Cup qualifying campaign, and the place where they found inspiration in the gloves of Memo Ochoa. History would not be kind to Mexico on their return to Fortaleza, but location will be nothing more than an anecdote when Ochoa’s saves are shown again to future generations to come.