Mexico regains upper hand in rivalry beating the US 3-2 in the CONCACAF Cup

Mexico regains upper hand in rivalry beating the US 3-2 in the CONCACAF Cup

It wasn’t the roar of the Coloso de Santa Ursula or the chill of La Guerra Fria in Columbus. No – it was a beautiful sunny day in Pasadena, California. In one of the biggest rivalries in international soccer, El Tri again prevailed in the Rose Bowl arena. Here’s an analysis of what actually happened in the game:

Man of the match: Paul Aguilar


Herrera and Aguilar were #1 and #2 in number of touches and dominated the right flank. Aguilar set up the second goal for Peralta with a perfect one touch pass, and got Mexico victory with a goal in the 118th minute that was masterful. (Peralta was a close second for Man of the Match but the timing of Aguilar’s goal and the difficulty of the last shot gave him the edge)

Key’s to El-Tri’s win:

1. Mexico dominated in the middle of the pitch

Data provided by Opta

El Tri were relentless in the middle of the pitch, creating wave after wave of opportunity for their offense in front of a sellout 93,000 strong crowd. Just as importantly, they quickly shut down many US attempts to clear the ball and counter. This created unrelenting pressure on the US defense, which really struggled to play out from the back. The Americans had 45 possessions end in their defensive half (40% of their total possessions) – often giving the ball back to Mexico after only 1-2 touches. Look at the visual below and how many red dots are in the backfield for the US – whereas Mexico created constant pressure from their possessions.

2. El Tri’s forwards did a great job moving the ball through the US defense

Data provided by Opta

Faced with a physical defense that had the size advantage, El Tri used speed and imagination to create chances and score. Herrera and Aguilar dominated the right side with 126 and 115 touches respectively – creating 23 opportunities to score. In the graphic below, the size of the circle represents the quality of opportunity. Red circles are shots that were off target – if the forwards had been more ruthless at closing, it could very well have been 4-2 or 5-2 for El Tri

3. The US defense got caught pressing too far

Not once, not twice – but three times. Each of the three goals for El-Tri followed a pattern. The US defense got over eager, pressed a little too far up and were beaten by the movement and pace of the Mexican attackers.

Look at the position of the US defense – they are running back on the right side and have no chance of stopping this goal. Beautiful movement between Peralta and Chicharito.

Again, on the right side, the defense played too far forward and Aguilar got past and laid it up beautifully for Peralta to score.

In the 118th minute, Aguilar took a ball in the air and fired a bullet to the far corner – with the defense behind him on the right flank AND the left back not even in the picture when the shot was taken.

Mexico advance to the Confederations Cup while the US is left searching for answers after a poor showing in the Gold Cup this summer followed by a defeat Saturday night.

Originally Published on Univision Deportes at: