Jonathan dos Santos, Javier Hernandez take charge in Mexico's win over Paraguay
Mexico manager Gerardo "Tata" Martino is now two for two in his new tenure with El Tri. Following last week's 3-1 victory over Chile, the Argentine helped lead Mexico to a dramatic 4-2 win against Paraguay on Tuesday night.
Here are a few things we learned from El Tri's latest result:
In match that featured plenty of backups for Mexico, a number of midfield options stepped up and made a case for themselves in the new Mexico era under Martino. Names like Erick Gutierrez, Edson Alvarez and Jonathan dos Santos were all eager to impress as game-changers in the win. Up top, Javier Hernandez was also inspired as a focal point of the attack.
After Mexico went into half-time with an easy 3-0 lead, things began to quickly fall apart. An ugly challenge and ensuing red from Paraguay's Miguel Almiron on Jose Juan Vazquez rattled Mexico. Shaken up, El Tri looked uneasy as the opposition began to take control and eventually also secure a couple of goals. Were it not for the late goal from Luis Montes in the 91st minute for Mexico, the win would have felt much more bittersweet.
Manager rating out of 10
7 --Martino's 4-3-3 seems to be working perfectly. With high-pressing full-backs and a defensive midfielder in support of the backline, El Tri looked dynamic and thrilling for most of the first half. Although Mexico began to lose momentum as Martino began to incorporate more subs, it became clear that he was trying to provide minutes to many of his unused players.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating.)
GK Raul Gudino, 6 -- Not much to say about the goalkeeper until the last 30 minutes when Paraguay began to push forward. Although he could have done a better job of halting either goal, Gudino isn't the one to blame for the chances that found the back of the net.
DF Miguel Layun, 5 -- An off day for Mexico's captain. Layun was far too adventurous with his runs and struggled to make the correct final pass after doing so. Tactics aside, he should also be given credit for standing up to Almiron after the Paraguayan's awful challenge on Vazquez.
DF Nestor Araujo, 6 -- Decent in the air when Mexico needed him for duels. Araujo also spent most of his time distributing the ball conservatively with Reyes until an injury in the second half forced a substitution in the 73rd minute.
DF Diego Reyes, 6 -- A little bit of good and bad from Reyes. The 26-year-old gifted a goal to Paraguay, but also helped create the final one for El Tri in the 92nd minute thanks to an accurate and lofted pass from distance.
DF Jorge Sanchez, 7 -- Was Sanchez the culprit for Paraguay's second and final goal? Probably. And yet, despite his mistake, the 21-year-old was also highly active in both the defense and attack for the entirety of the win.
MF Edson Alvarez, 8 -- On Tuesday night, Alvarez showcased why he is currently the best defensive midfield option for Mexico. The Club America player looked like a future captain for El Tri as he barked directions and provided a number of crucial passes from the midfield.
MF Erick Gutierrez, 7 -- As a well-rounded central midfielder, Gutierrez frustrated the opposition and helped kickstart a number of plays going forward. The PSV player nearly had a goal as well in the second half after hitting the post.
MF Jonathan dos Santos, 8 -- Dos Santos was the man of the match. With a goal, an assist and an endless amount of stamina, the LA Galaxy player shined as a much-needed source of energy in the midfield.
FW Roberto Alvarado, 5 -- Alvarado has plenty of potential but still needs time to adjust to the senior national team. The 20-year-old, who rarely saw or asked for the ball, was by far the most quiet player on the pitch.
FW Javier Hernandez, 8 -- Hernandez forced an own-goal and then collected one of his own in the 24th minute. It's going to be very difficult for Martino to decide whether Jimenez or Hernandez is the better option as the starting No. 9 for El Tri.
FW Diego Lainez, 4 -- Although it is one of his more admirable characteristics, Lainez was way too eager when he had the ball at his feet. The talented winger constantly lost possession during the 45 minutes that he was on the pitch.
MF Isaac Brizuela, 7 -- Substituted on for Lainez at half-time. Brizuela was everything that Lainez was not in that game. The confident and composed Chivas player was unlucky to not earn an assist after dishing out a handful of accurate crosses.
MF Jose Juan Vazquez, 5 -- Substituted on for Alvarez at half-time. As the defensive midfield replacement, Vazquez had a tough time making the same kind of impact as Alvarez. Mexico's midfield became much weaker after he was introduced.
MF Luis Montes, 6 -- Substituted on for Alvarado in the 68th minute. If that goal had not gone in, Montes' rating would be much lower after not having much of a presence on the field.
DF Cesar Montes, N/A -- Substituted on for Araujo in the 73rd minute.
MF Victor Guzman, N/A -- Substituted on for Gutierrez in the 78th minute.
FW Alexis Vega, N/A -- Substituted on for Hernandez in the 78th minute.