On the first stop of Mexico’s 2017 U.S. tour, El Tri took on a depleted Croatia squad without key members of their group. Luka Modric, Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Rakitic and Ivan Perisic were still handling business with their respective clubs while Mexico boasted a number of their European contingent.
The environment was spectacular as usual with numerous Mexico fans showing their unwavering support as is accustomed when El Tricolor plays in Los Angeles. An unconventional lineup from Juan Carlos Osorio in this international friendly got off to quick start with Elias Hernandez and Hirving Lozano serving multiple crosses with no successful end result.
In what looked to be a cakewalk for Mexico, Croatia was very competitive from the get-go creating numerous chances. Everything changed in the 35th minute when Duje Cop scored the first goal of the match leaving the crowd stunned. Two minutes later, a horrendous defensive mistake by Diego Reyes was knocked into the net by Fran Tudor completely sucking the air out of the venue.
At halftime Croatia had six shots and earned four corners completely stifling the Mexican team that only managed two shots on goal. The Europeans brought in a roster full of players from their domestic league with only four players from foreign clubs throughout the Old Continent.
In the second half Mexico brought in its main players like Carlos Vela, Jonathan dos Santos and Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez. Like the first half, cross after cross resulted in the steady hands of goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic until the 87th minute when Chicharito notched his 47th career goal for the National team surpassing Jared Borgetti to become Mexico’s all-time scorer for La Seleccion.
Although this was a only a friendly, California has been unkind to Osorio’s Mexico side as both of his national team losses have been in Cali. Nevertheless he’ll have to figure out his final roster for the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers, Confederations Cup and Gold Cup.
Mexico next travels to New Jersey on June 1 to take on Ireland in another international exhibition before the more meaningful games kick in.
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