Five Conclusions from Mexico vs. Panama

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1) Snoozefest in Bridgeview.

In the pool of recent Mexico national team performances, this game is not one that will be remembered for a long time. Moments of excitement were strictly rationed, with the only worthwhile moment of the first half being a saved Giovani dos Santos shot.

The second half was a little better, largely in part to Hirving Lozano. Though Panama put in plenty of effort in defending, Lozano managed to break through in the 59th minute, combining with Oribe Peralta before Giovani dos Santos picked out the Club America striker for the eventual winner.

That would be the high point of the match as Mexico would hold on to an uninspiring victory.

2) Issac Brizuela failed to impress.

Having come on as a substitute against New Zealand, Chivas winger Isaac Brizuela was getting the start against Panama. Brizuela made one familiar surge, his cross leading to Gio’s first half chance, but that was his only proper touch of the game. The majority of Brizuela’s work was done looking anonymous throughout the first half. His woeful performance appeared to be acknowledged by Juan Carlos Osorio, who substituted him at halftime for Hirving Lozano.

As chances go, that was perhaps it for Brizuela. With plenty of noticeable depth on the wing, Brizuela might not have enough to make the roster for next month’s qualifiers.

3) Four-man backline looked more secure.

Judging on Saturday’s performance against New Zeland, this was actually a decent game from Mexico’s defense. Sure, Panama’s pressing created a couple shaky moments, most notably at one point forcing Moisés Muñoz to cover for his slow-to-react defenders, but there can be few complaints.

Having an extra man in the defense allowed Mexico’s defense to pick their moments when coming out playing. Both Hugo Ayala and Hedgardo Marin looked fine bringing the ball forward into midfield and were noticeably more comfortable doing so.

For what it’s worth, though, Mexico’s defense in November will likely include Diego Reyes and Hector Moreno. Still, it was good practice for the pair of defenders.

4) Gio earns his place.

Much of these friendlies, it seemed, was geared towards several players with a chance to impress Juan Carlos Osorio. If there is one player that earned a place in November’s roster, it is Giovani dos Santos. Giovani continued where he left off against New Zealand, and while there were some wobbles to his game again, he was arguably Mexico’s best player during the past week.

For whatever reason, fans had previously lost patience with Giovani after his move to MLS, but as evidence on Tuesday, even in a match where Panama decided to set up shop and park the bus, Giovani found the space to mount attacks.
Mexico’s last two games were far from an oasis of satisfaction, but here, Gio used them to earn the right to be among the 23 players that travel to Columbus, Ohio in November.

5) What matters for Mexico is next month.

“Moleros” or not, what matters most to Juan Carlos Osorio and Co. starts next month. The Hexagonal will be a challenge for everybody, but it is difficult not to get excited about it. Can Mexico put behind the 7-0 and put a proper challenge? How Mexico perform against the United States and Panama next month will be telling. It will also decide if Juan Carlos Osorio stays or if he goes.


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About Rafael Diaz

Fan of good futbol. Rafa runs when he is not busy watching Arsenal drop points away to Stoke.