INTERNATIONAL: Mexico, Chile in Home Depot Center stalemate

Omar Bravo's superb finish in the 50th minute made up for Mexico's lax defending late in the first half, and the Tricolores settled for a 1-1 tie with Chile in a spirited friendly Wednesday night at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

Bravo scored from Israel Lopez's feed to the delight of most in the crowd of 20,173. Reinaldo Navia, who plays for Club America in Mexico City, had given the Chileans the advantage in first-half stoppage time.

The match was the first of Mexico's ''Real Mexican Soccer'' 2004 tour, which will feature another Home Depot Center clash on March 31 and a showdown with the U.S. national team April 28 in Dallas.

Mexico coach Ricardo Lavolpe included in his starting XI Guadalajara defender Francisco Javier Rodriguez and Monterrey midfielder Luis Perez, among six players on the Tricolores roster from the Mexican U-23 team that beat the United States last week to claim a berth at this summer's Athens Olympics. Another Olympian, Necaxa's Mario Perez, came on in the second half.

Rodriguez was making his first appearance for Mexico's full national team.

Navia got Chile's goal from close range after Universidad Catolica's Jean Beausejour nodded down a corner kick from Nicolas Cordova, who plays for Bari in Italy's Serie B. The Mexican defense was caught ball-watching after Beausejour's header, and Navia, near the right post, blasted the ball into the upper-left corner.

Mexico answered five minutes into the second half, a fine finish from Guadalajara's Bravo that slipped past Cobreola goalkeeper Nelson Tapia at the right post.

Beausejour, Union Concepcion's Luis Pedro Figueroa and second-half substitute Jorge Valdivia, of Spain's Rayo Vallecano, made their international debuts for Chile.

Soccer United Marketing, which is producing the ''Real Mexican Soccer'' series, on Wednesday announced the March 31 match at the Home Depot Center, although the Tricolores' opponent for the friendly has not been determined. An African foe is possible.

Mexico also has tentatively scheduled games on March 10 in Chiapas (vs. Colombia, Paraguay, Uruguay or Venezuela), April 28 in Dallas (vs. the United States) and Oct. 27 in East Rutherford, N.J. (vs. Ecuador). Another match, likely against Argentina, is expected this summer.

WEDNESDAY'S SUMMARY

Feb. 18 at Carson, Calif.

Mexico 1 Chile 1. Goals: Bravo 50; Navia 46+.

Mexico -- Sanchez; Martinez, Rodriguez, Osorio, Briceno; Lopez; L. Perez, Garcia (M. Perez, 62), Valdez (Arce, 76); Bautista (Mora, 60), Bravo.

Chile --Tapia; Rojas (Villaroel, 73), Vargas, Olarra; Figueroa, Cordova (Valdivia, 46), Melendez, R. Perez; Martel (Pinilla, 46), Navia, Beausejour (Gonzalez, 46).

Yellow cards: Mexico -- Lopez 45; Chile -- Navia 38, R. Perez 42, Melendez 81.

Referee: Alex Prus (U.S.).

Att.: 20,173.

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