Not bad for Mexico manager Jaime "Jimmy" Lozano. In an international break that featured the most difficult back-to-back games for the head coach since his June arrival, Lozano and his players closed out this month's friendly schedule with a 2-0 win over Ghana (Oct. 14) and a 2-2 draw with Germany (Oct. 17).
Although they had a slow start in their first match and initially looked overwhelmed in the second, Mexico were impressive in the manner that they bounced back in both games, especially during the last 45 minutes of each friendly in which they played some their best and most decisive football of the international break.
Once appearing to be in a regression that was punctuated by a group stage exit in last year's World Cup, El Tri have now continued their gradual climb back up that began with Lozano leading the squad to a Gold Cup title in July. Gaining momentum with a current seven-game unbeaten run, they'll now prepare for next month's Concacaf Nations League quarterfinals, which will serve as qualifiers for 2024's Copa America.
Even without a single goal from all three of Mexico's out-and-out strikers, that didn't stop El Tri from finding the back of the net four times in their last two friendlies. Led by two goals and an assist from often-criticized winger Uriel Antuna, as well as a goal and assist from returning star player Hirving "Chucky" Lozano, the frontline regularly made things difficult for formidable opponents like Germany and Ghana.
Off the bench, up-and-coming Pumas player Cesar Huerta added extra punch in Mexico's attack that now has more depth.
When Germany held most of the possession in the early stages of the 2-2 friendly, Lozano's squad at first looked extremely awkward when needing to transition into attack after winning the ball back. Mexico eventually adapted, but it was a stark reminder of the adjustments the team still needs to make when defending heavily against elite opponents.
Also, though Antuna and others should be praised for helping compensate in the frontline, Mexico can't afford to go extended periods of time without their strikers adding to the goal tally.
Manager rating (scale of 1-10)
His decision to trust Antuna, a player that few fans or critics would have given opportunities to, is worthy of a high rating alone as well.
Player ratings (0-10; 10 = best; 5 = average)
Mexico call-ups not featured in October window: Angel Malagon, Antonio Rodríguez, Julio Gonzalez, Ramon Juarez, Kevin Álvarez, Jordi Cortizo, Marcel Ruiz.
Manchester United fear Luke Shaw could be out for the rest of the season due to a muscle injury sustained during the team's 2-1 win over Luton Town, a source has told ESPN.Leaders Liverpool storm back to thrash Luton
Virgil van Dijk and Cody Gakpo scored two minutes apart in the second half to open the floodgates as an injury-bitten Liverpool opened some space at the top of the Premier League with a 4-1 victory over Luton Town at Anfield on Wednesday.Bayern boss Tuchel to leave at end of season
Bayern Munich manager Thomas Tuchel will leave at the end of the season, after three defeats in a row left them eight points behind Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen and with their Champions League prospects in the balance.Ratcliffe: I want to knock rivals 'off their perch'
Sir Jim Ratcliffe has said he wants to break the dominance of Manchester City and Liverpool in the Premier League and believes he can do it in three years.USL upset with handling of MLS-Open Cup row
USL CEO Paul McDonough expressed disappointment at the U.S. Soccer Federation's handling of a dispute involving MLS and the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, which is having a ripple effect on the USL.Ronaldo strikes as Al Nassr reach ACL quarters
Cristiano Ronaldo's Al Nassr advanced to the quarterfinals of the Asian Champions League on Wednesday as the Riyadh-based side beat fellow Saudi Pro League outfit Al Fayha 2-0 to complete a 3-0 aggregate victory.Bundesliga investor deal axed after fan protests
The German Football League (DFL) said Wednesday it is abandoning plans to sell a stake in its media rights income to an outside investor after months of increasingly disruptive protests by fans.Messi has Copa, Olympics dilemma - Miami coach
Lionel Messi may have to choose between the playing for Argentina in either Copa América and Olympics, Inter Miami coach Gerardo 'Tata' Martino has said.