Commentary

Mexico-USA Men's Olympic Qualifying Player Ratings

MEXICO-USA EXPRESS:
March 24 in Guadalajara
Mexico 1 USA 0. Goals: Antuna 45
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Having already advanced to the semifinal that will determine whether it reaches the Olympics, the USA fell 1-0 to tournament host Mexico in their final group game -- following wins over Costa Rica (1-0) and the Dominican Republic (4-0). Coach Jason Kreis' team's performance on Wednesday -- despite the loss and far from flawless -- revealed enough qualities to create optimism for victory against Sunday's opponent, whether it be Canada or Honduras.

USA Player Ratings
(1=low; 5=middle; 10=high.)

GOALKEEPER

David Ochoa confidently handled a cross in the 11th minute, dealt well other threats besides the goal that was perfectly placed with power just inside the post, and adeptly played several back passes with his feet. (He even did a Cruyff move to evade Uriel Antuna.) His yellow card for forearming Johan Vasquez bordered on self-defense.

Player (Club) age

6
David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake) 20

DEFENDERS

How central backs Henry Kessler and Mauricio Pineda played out of Mexican pressure, especially early in the game, diffused what the Mexicans may have banked on as a major weapon. Pineda pulled off a perfect slide-tackle on Johan Vasquez in the penalty area in the 28th minute. Kessler's 81st-minute tackle also looked risky but also proved clean and successful. Considering how often they were tested, the U.S. defenders, even if not perfect, impressed with their passing. Outside backs Aaron Herrera and Julian Araujo balanced the obligation to attack required by the U.S. system with covering defensively against a Mexican well-equipped to exploit out-of-position defenders.

Player (Club) age

6
Aaron Herrera (Real Salt Lake) 23

7
Henry Kessler (New England Revolution) 22

7
Mauricio Pineda (Chicago Fire) 23

6
Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy) 19

MIDFIELDERS

That the USA managed 49% of the possession speaks well for its midfield, but the trio failed to control the game for any extended period time while saddled with defensive duties. They all did OK with defense, especially Andres Perea. The scorer of two goals against the Dominican Republic, Hassani Dotson, was unable to break through as he did against the tiring opponent he destroyed four days earlier. Johnny Cardoso likewise helped connect the back and frontline on occasion but was also more of a defender.

Player (Club) age

5
Hassani Dotson (Minnesota United) 23

6
Andres Perea (Orlando City) 20

5
Johnny Cardoso (Internacional, Brazil) 19

FORWARDS

Djordje Mihailovic came closest to being a U.S. playmaker but suffered under the lenient refereeing of Daneon Parchment -- the only person watching the game who may not have noticed the Mexicans were targeting Mihailovic with foul play. Mihailovic still managed to provide enough forward play to keep the Mexicans from focusing only on attack. Sebastian Saucedo looks like he's on the verge of greatness in search of a missing ingredient. So often he builds up expectations and disappoints with his final move or pass. Still, Saucedo's persistent forays kept the Mexicans on edge. The bad luck boy of the day was Sebastian Soto, who didn't get much chance to do what he's there for -- score -- but gets on the highlight reel for a bad pass that Antuna exploited to score the game's only goal. One is left wondering whether it was his decision or part of the Kreis system that a center forward is passing the ball deep in his own team's half.

Player (Club) age

5
Djordje Mihailovic (CF Montreal) 22

3
Sebastian Soto (Norwich City, England) 20

5
Sebastian Saucedo (UNAM, Mexico) 24

SUBSTITUTES

The subs, and Jesus Ferreira especially, kept the game interesting as the USA pulled off some its most creative attacks late in the game -- and credit to the USA for not going silently into a loss. They risked a bigger defeat by going for the equalizer. A swift movement downfield in stoppage time got hopes up, but Tanner Tessmann nearly sent the ball out the stadium with his shot.

Player (Club) age

5
Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas) 20

5
Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids) 23

5
Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes) 23

5
Benji Michel (Orlando City) 23

4
Tanner Tessmann (FC Dallas) 19

TRIVIA: Mexican goalscorer, the 23-year-old Uriel Antuna, has 8 goals in 16 games for Mexico's full national team. One of them came in a 3-0 friendly win over the USA in September 2019 in New Jersey. He scored six for the LA Galaxy in 2019 before joining Chivas Guadalajara.

NOTABLE: Referee Daneon Parchment didn't show a yellow until U.S. keeper David Ochoa and Mexico's Johan Vasquez clashed in the 84th minute -- despite this being a game with 40 fouls. 

March 24 in Guadalajara
Mexico 1 USA 0. Goals: Antuna 45
Mexico -- Malagon (Jurado, 69); Lorona, Sepulveda, Vasquez, Mayorga; Esquivel, Alvarado (Rodriguez, 70), Aguirre; Antuna (Mozo, 89), Macias (Tesis Ricardo Angulo, 70), Vega.
USA -- Ochoa; Herrera, Kessler, Pineda, Araujo; Perea (Yueill, 61), Cardoso (Lewis, 61), Mihailovic; Dotson (Tessmann, 75), Soto (Ferreira, 61), Saucedo (Michel, 71).
Yellow cards: Mexico -- Vasquez 84; USA -- Ochoa 84. Red cards: none.
Referee: Daneon Parchment (Jamaica).

Stats:
Mexico/USA
Shots: 12/5
Shots on target: 6/2
Saves: 2/5
Corner Kicks:5/6
Fouls: 22/18
Offside: 2/1
Possession: 51%/49%
18 comments about "Mexico-USA Men's Olympic Qualifying Player Ratings".
  1. Peter Bechtold, March 25, 2021 at 1:39 a.m.

    Agree with most numbers but thought that J. Araujo was the weak link. He had a tough assignment but caused much anxiety with poor defending and inconsistent passing. For me, a 3.

  2. Kevin Sims replied, March 25, 2021 at 10:43 a.m.

    Agreed. Araujo quite a liability all night long. His positioning off the ball is wildly inconsistent, then having to rely on his athletic ability to cover space that proper reading/positioning should have already covered. When you are late against top players, you get burned. His technical level also proved suspect. I concur with 3. 

  3. Seth Vieux replied, March 25, 2021 at 2:02 p.m.

    Yeah I am still hopeful that he will eventually a senior team contributor, but he had a rough go all around tonight. Antuna's class was clearly the highest on the pitch, so tough assignment that I'll give him a 3.5 on :-)

  4. Kent James replied, March 25, 2021 at 3:37 p.m.

    This is the first time I've seen him, and he had a tough night.  I got nervous every time he was isolated on the right flank (I think he did a little better later in the game), but a 3 seems right to me. 

  5. Santiago 1314, March 25, 2021 at 6:31 a.m.

    Very Pleasantly Surprised; It was actually a Watchable, Enjoyable "Soccer" game, between 2 Teams... 
    We still have a Problem; Our "Best" Individual "Skill" move came from our Goalkeeper.!?!?!?
    Only Players worth Keeping for Japan: (IF, IF, IF we make it) Ochoa, Perea, Yueill, Mihailovic...
    Maybe Saucedo and Dotson ... Kessler would get Really Exposed at next level.
    Good Luck on Sunday; As Humble1 said; "The Hard Edge" is Back...
    They will Need it vs Honduras(my Guess, another game like Costa Rica)

  6. Seth Vieux replied, March 25, 2021 at 2:03 p.m.

    I'm getting awfully bullish on Ochoa - love that kid. 

  7. frank schoon, March 25, 2021 at 9:15 a.m.

    Watched the game for 60min. I wasn't bored like I would have been if I watched to the two previous games, after all it is USA vs Mexico.  So Right-O ! Santiag-O !!!

    Guys, I don't want to kick a dead dog but seeing our boys play continually proves to me we are on the wrong path of development. Even if tomorrow we gain 10,000 more licensed coaches to teach our players, that won't improve the level of development of our players.

    Consider this, our boys are supposedly represent the best or better players in the US. And look how bad their skills are... unreal !!! There are 11 grey mice out there except for the goalie who actually did something with the ball. In Holland ,we would describe them as a pack of sausages where one weiner is indistinguishable from the other....What gets me is the announcer mentions the Soccer Academies or MLS team our boys represent. Well, the product that comes from these Soccer Academies says a lot about how bad they are and wouldn't mention their names but keep it quiet.

    Just look at the Mexican team, everyone of their players can 'PLAY' ball. Their skills are way beyond what we have. Note how they can control the ball and get out of small spaces in packed areas. Our boys couldn't handle and would lose the ball. When we pressure high, the individual Mexican player has no problem ,they bring in an extra player and pass the ball in triangles and dribble around you...Bingo!!  The Mexicans play quicker and move the ball around. Yeah, sure, if both teams lined up on one end and ran to the other end line we would win, numerically.  But has nothing to do with soccer....

    One would think ,watching the Mexican players ,why don't we hire Mexican coaches that produce these skillful Mexican players to come over here and run our Soccer Academies and kick out the present staff of coaches..... Well it is not that easy, when it comes to developing...
               
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  8. beautiful game replied, March 25, 2021 at 12:55 p.m.

    IMHO, the biggest skill missing with some of these players is the ability to "make something happen" at game time and players that do it are the players that can play the game on a consistent basis. Coaches need to express that phrase at evey practice session...some players have that DNA and many more don't no matter what level of competition. That should be the measuring stick for selection at the NT level.

  9. Santiago 1314 replied, March 25, 2021 at 7:52 p.m.

    BG, do you think that coaches anywhere in the World are Creating players that can Individually "Make things Happen".??? 100%, they want Predictable, Cookie Cutter Players who will "Play the Way You are Facing" ... I contend that you could change 95% Players on Teams and No One World know the Difference.!!!

  10. frank schoon, March 25, 2021 at 10:07 a.m.

    You have to look at the OLIPHANT in the room. Do you think the Mexican players learned their quick footwork , ballhandling skills, by joining their local Soccer Academy around the corner....What they have is intrinsic and gained through playing lots of, 'GUESS WHAT', PICKUP SOCCER. That is how you learn to be so proficient with the ball in small spaces and in 1v1 situations. Note how naturally they move with the ball especially  when there is no time allowed. That can't be learned in a PROGRAMMED environment like these soccer Academies.......
    We're back at BASE ONE once again , which is our development will NEVER go anywhere with having a good basis of PICKUP soccer.  This is why I say, creating more licensed coaches is not the answer, for all we are creating is more of the same, not better, and remaining stuck at one particular level. They players look the same, all play the same and all coached the same.....

    And just a quick mention of the girls soccer. Their development is even much worse. Have you ever, while you drive by a field or area you see a bunch girls or women playing pickup. At least you'll see the men ,but women ????? So the sad fact is that girls from day one are involved only with PROGRAMMED coaching and training......All stop here with this rant on our development and go on with the last nights game.....

    Beginning with our Left back. I wonder if Jason Kreis ,the coach, asked him what he should be aware of.A good coach should be able to tell his individual players what they are weakness are at and how to hide those weaknesses and tell his teammates who play near him to be aware of those weaknesses...
     
    Well, he is right footed on the left side and therefore receives the ball in manner that leaves him, many times, facing his own goal, so to speak. In other words, he does not contribute to a smooth offensive flow forwards.  Furthermore ,as he runs upfield with the ball his attempts to diagonally crosss the ball to the other flank is telegrapheed, for he has to first cut back turn and then cross with his right. If he was leftfooted it would have been faster , allowing the opponent less time to react.  As you see, most of his passes go back or square. He's very predictable.  Both he and the RB lack good one on one skills. 
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  11. frank schoon, March 25, 2021 at 10:41 a.m.

    Mihailovic on the wing tends to often to come back receiving the ball with his back facing downfield, like so many other midfielder receiving the ball, all have their backs facing downfield upon receiving the ball. This does not help our defensive flow. I don't know where he should play but sofar I"m not impressed , although he works hard like all our boys do. But like any player with ' 'IC' ending in his name, I keep expect a lot more....

    Coaches need to understand what you are giving away, when we one of your front line attackers go at the goalie who has the ball and wants to pass off. For example , Mihailovic ran towards the goalie to pressure him and the goalie passed the ball over Mihailovic head to his right back. This was a bad move for Mihailovic for that allowed the Mexicans to create an open man at midfield ,creating numerical superiority.  As soon as the Right back receives the ball he runs up to midfield, which means who is going to pick him up. Someone has to choose to leave his man at mid to pick up the right back, creating an open man.This is how the Right or Left back creates numerical superiority at midfield. The goalie at all times should take advantage as soon as he gets the ball to throw it to an open back, by passing the opponent who covered the back.

    The other problem I see is the back receives the ball before the midfield line and decides to run with it down the flank....This is such a common occurrence. Everyone thinks it's a great pass to an open man running down the flank... Actually it is a DUMB pass. What is more predictable than watching a back run down the flank 30meters with the ball. All you're doing is giving the opponent extra time to defensively set up while watching him run with the ball. For example, If I were a midfielder and had the ball, I want my back to keep running down the flank towards the last third and pay no attention to him, as matter of fact look to the other side. When he arrives near the penalty area then pass to him. At that moment, you create confusion for the opponent's defense is not prepared and thereby create a defensive error. This is how you keep things unpredictable....

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  12. frank schoon, March 25, 2021 at 11:39 a.m.

    Our ball movement lacks simple give and go's, which is another yardstick in measuring sophistication. Why do we attempt to build out from the back with LOUSY ball handlers in the backfield. WHY do the two backs stand almost next to the goalie with the ball near endline. WHAT  do you accomplish? The closer the two backs are positioned to the goalie the less effective they are.

    You give away SO MUCH space to the opponents allowing them to be so close to your goal, that any mistake could be deadly. The first thing you want is to clear the opponents as far away from the goal as possible, instead we invite them as close as possible. WHO are the idiots that instructs our coaches to play this way???? 

    Look at the lead up to how Mexico scored the goal, that's worth writing a whole page on. The initial pass from the leftcenterback to #15mid  with a men in his back , facing downfield with no view, WHY??? When you build up ,THE GOLDEN RULE is that the pass should beat an opponent. THAT pass accomplishes NOTHING, only danger. Worse,he passes the ball to #15 left foot where the opponent is closest to , instead of to the right foot.  #15 can't even make a decent pass back. The leftback is open, facing downfield and only had take 2steps back and another steps towards the sideline. 

    The second pass likewise from leftcenterback is bad to #19. And #19 is also a comedy of errors. He never positioned in a manner to look forwards like the open RB. In sum, forget the screwups, this whole fiasco is a reflection on the teachings of the Soccer Academies and the MLS.

    If you want to increase players' quickness, use the last 10 minutes of practice to play tag in small confined space, or dodge ball, throw a couple nerve balls out there and play in a confined space, you're hit ,you're out. These types of game makes players think fast and react fast, and also making them think ahead a step....

  13. Frans Vischer, March 25, 2021 at 11:50 a.m.

    Frank, no disagreement. Yet, my expectations were so low, given the previous 2 games, I was actually happily surprised. I expected a Mexican blowout. But the consistent number of poor passes, first touches, attacks destroyed by balls played behind advancing forwards, etc. is very worrisome. 

    I agree with Peter, Oraujo had a terrible night. Some good moments, yes, but 3 huge blunders, and his crosses are often terrible. I have seen him do lots of good things for the Galaxy, but his inconsistencies are very troubling. 

  14. frank schoon replied, March 25, 2021 at 12:21 p.m.

    Frans, the low score doesn't represent how well the Mexican's played. Although previous 2games were nothing to write home about but I thought playing Mexico would raise the enjoyability, which it did. It is like an English game, it is never but the soccer is nothing to write home about...

    I was impressed with the Mexican play especially everyone of them was good ,relatively speaking.

    I thought Saucedo had some nice movements on the wing. He could become a decent wing for the US if he would work on it.

  15. Seth Vieux, March 25, 2021 at 2:07 p.m.

    We should keep in mind that this was very close to the best Mexico has at U23, whereas our full senior team is nearly all eligible for the Olympics. I take the opposite view Frank, our best young players are breaking in across Europe's top 5 leagues, Mexico's best are virtually all in LigaMX. Future is bright for this rivalry I think.

  16. Kent James replied, March 25, 2021 at 3:40 p.m.

    Agreed.  I am more positive about the future of the national team than I've been in decades.

  17. frank schoon replied, March 25, 2021 at 4:08 p.m.

    Seth , I don't look at it as a rivalry, and I certainly don't judge as a standard the technical finesse of our players that basically go to Turbo style countries, like Germany, England and Scotland ,for example. The Mexican players in Europe tend go to more technical playing countries, like Spain and Holland, Ajax ,PSV,etc. As a matter of fact, Alvarez is doing very well at Ajax this year and they are also looking at another Mexican player to come on the wing. In his interview Alvarez stated he learned alot about positioning and I hope I get to see him when he plays for Mexico....

    The MLS imported tons of Mexican to improve the league, I don't see them doing that with American players in the Mexican Liga. I didn't realize how many Mexicans  are playing abroad overal and in South America as compared to the US players, if any.

    The US Olympic team players are perfect sample of lack of good quality our players. We had good, relatively, players going to play in Europe before we even had real NT presence ,before the MLS, before we had Soccer Academies and as far as I'm concerned I don't see todays players better than those who went to Europe back in the 80' and 90's .


  18. R2 Dad, March 25, 2021 at 10:58 p.m.

    I am a big fan of the rivalry between the Nats and El Tri, and respect what the Mexicans have accomplished in the game. I have to say here, I have had no joy discussing this rivalry with Mexicans. When I start talking about El Tri, and Vela/Chicharito/Marquez the Mexicans get really unfriendly and mean. Some of this might be because these conversations happpen in Silicon Valley or Salinas--in English--but I find El Tri fans unneccesarily grumpy and confrontational when talking about our rivalry. For me it is a game; for Mexicans it seem to be....more.

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