Mexico vs Honduras – Recap and Highlights

el triMexico extended their winless streak to seven games after a 0-0 draw with Honduras on Wednesday night, their longest winless stretch since 2001. The result – and the overall performance – failed to provide a confidence boost for El Tri ahead of the Gold Cup, and to make matters worse star striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernández left the game with what is being reported as a fractured collarbone.

The two teams combined for more fouls than shots, and referee Armando Villarreal let things get a bit out of hand as he only cautioned two players despite the rough play. A collision with Brayan Beckeles left Hernández on the ground in obvious pain in the 39th minute, with “Chicharito” leaving the stadium in an ambulance for tests.

The injury was a significant blow for Mexico, and before it they were controlling the game well. Carlos Vela had a pair of shots hit the woodwork and Chicharito also came close to opening the scoring. Despite Vela’s impact, he was subbed off early in the second half, and Mexico struggled to adjust after his departure.

El Tri created little of note going forward in the second half, although Jesús “Tecatito” Corona had a good penalty shout denied in the 76th minute. Meanwhile, Honduras had a chance or two of their own, such as Andy Najar’s 80th-minute shot that Diego Reyes cleared off the line.

The goalless draw raised more questions than it answered for Mexico, and Chicharito’s assumed absence from the Gold Cup could deal a significant blow to their title hopes.

Next up for Mexico is their Gold Cup opener against Cuba on Thursday, July 9th.

Highlights

Lineups

Mexico: Guillermo Ochoa, Paul Aguilar, Francisco Rodríguez, Diego Reyes, Miguel Layún, Carlos Esquivel (Jonathan dos Santos 75′), José Juan Vázquez, Héctor Herrera (Jesús Manuel Corona 41′), Andrés Guardado (Jesús Dueñas 87′), Javier Hernández (Oribe Peralta 40′), Carlos Vela (Giovani dos Santos 56′).

Honduras: Donia Escober, Brayan Beckeles, Maynor Figueroa, Henry Figueroa, Johny Palacios, Bryan García (Wilmer Crisanto 56′), Andy Najar, Alfredo Mejía (Jorge Aarón Claros 57′), Bryan Josué Acosta (Carlos Israel Discus 86′), Mario Martínez (Oscar García 75′), Antony Lozano (Rubilo Castillo 69′).

Mexico’s Starting Lineup vs Honduras

el triMexico and Honduras face off in Houston, Texas, tonight in a pre-Gold Cup friendly, and Miguel Herrera is sticking with the formation that led to a two-goal comeback against Costa Rica. After an experimental 5-2-3 formation was overrun in midfield, allowing Costa Rica to take a 2-0 lead, Mexico shifted to a 4-4-2 at halftime and went on to tie the game 2-2.

Against Honduras, with El Tri fans desperate to see their team win, Herrera is starting the game with that successful 4-4-2 formation. Guillermo Ochoa once again gets the start in goal, with Paul Aguilar, Francisco Rodríguez, Diego Reyes, and Miguel Layún in front of him. The midfield will consist of José Juan Vázquez, Héctor Herrera, Carlos Esquivel, and Andrés Guardado, with Javier Hernández and Carlos Vela forming the strike pair up top.

International Friendly
Wednesday, July 1
Mexico vs Honduras – 9:30 PM – Unimás / Univision Deportes / ESPN2 / Online

Liga MX in the Copa América: Argentina and Paraguay, Semifinals

argentina flagparaguay flagThe last two teams in the Copa América featuring Liga MX players on their rosters faced off tonight, with Argentina thrashing Paraguay 6-1 to advance to the final against Chile. Tigres UANL goalkeeper Nahuel Guzmán will thus be the only Liga MX representative to reach the final, but Guzmán has yet to play a single minute in this tournament since he is Argentina’s reserve keeper.

For Paraguay, with seven Liga MX players on their roster, América’s Pablo Aguilar, Cruz Azul’s Roque Santa Cruz and Toluca’s Paulo da Silva and Édgar Benítez all started the game. Santa Cruz made way for Lucas Barrios after just 30 minutes due to injury, while the other three went the full 90.

América’s Miguel Ángel Samudio and Osvaldo Martinez, and Toluca’s Richard Ortiz, did not play for Paraguay.

It didn’t take Argentina long to take the lead, with Marcos Rojo finishing off a free kick from Lionel Messi in the 15th minute. By the half-hour mark, Paraguay would be down 2-0 and down two starters, with Derlis González – the hero of the quarterfinals – and Santa Cruz both leaving with injuries.

However, one of those forced substitutions brought Lucas Barrios on to the field, and the Argentina-born Paraguay striker halved the deficit in the 43rd minute to make it 2-1 and give the Guaraníes some hope.

An Ángel di María brace on the other side of halftime quickly put paid to those hopes, with Argentina up 4-1 by the 53rd minute.

A disheartened Paraguay had no response to those quick goals, and Argentina piled on the misery in the closing stages with goals from Sergio Agüero and Gonzalo Higuaín in the 80th and 83rd minutes to bring the final score to 6-1.

Next game – Argentina: Final vs Chile – Saturday, July 4th – 4:00 PM – BeIn Sports / BeIn Español

Next game – Paraguay: N/A

Ariel Rojas Joins Cruz Azul

Logo Cruz AzulAriel Rojas has joined Cruz Azul on a three-year deal. The 29-year-old Argentinian arrives from River Plate, where he spent three years. Rojas has also played for Godoy Cruz and Vélez Sarsfield.

He will be playing outside of his native Argentina for the first time now, but he says he has some familiarity with the style of Liga MX since Ricardo La Volpe – the current coach of Jaguares de Chiapas – coached him with Vélez Sarsfield when he made his professional debut.

Rojas is a versatile player who can contribute in either midfield as a left winger or defense as a left back. He has three caps with the Argentinian national team, but none since 2011.

Héctor Moreno Ruled out of Gold Cup

el triDefender Héctor Moreno has been ruled out of the 2015 Gold Cup due to a right foot issue that requires surgery.

Although the surgery is minor and the recovery period would only be about 15 days, Moreno would inevitably lose some fitness as well as miss out on training sessions, said the director of national teams, Héctor González Iñárritu, in explanation for dropping Moreno from the roster.

The surgery will remove the rest of a plate that was put in after Moreno fractured his foot in 2008, which is currently causing him an “unsupportable” amount of pain.

Chivas de Guadalajara defender Oswaldo Alanís will replace Moreno on the Gold Cup roster.

2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League Group Stage Schedule

concacaf championsThe groups for the 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League were drawn on June 1st, and now the 24 qualified teams know not only who they’re facing, but when.

The first games will be played on August 5th, with the final ones coming on October 22nd. Each team plays the other two in its group home and away, with the top team in each group advancing to the quarterfinals.

The complete schedule is as follows; Mexico’s four representatives – Querétaro, Santos Laguna, Tigres UANL, and América – are in bold.

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Pachuca Signs Jonathan Urretaviscaya

Pachuca announced their first foreign signing of the offseason today as they welcomed Jonathan Urretaviscaya – known as “Urreta” – to the club.

Urreta, 25, is an Uruguayan winger who joins Pachuca from Peñarol in Uruguay. He is well-traveled, having played for seven clubs in three countries (Uruguay, Spain, and Portugal) before joining the Tuzos. After bouncing around between clubs, with a number of year-long loans seeing him move around frequently, Urretaviscaya will look to lock down a more permanent spot with Pachuca.

Mexico vs Honduras – Where to Watch

el triWith the Gold Cup rapidly approaching (the first games will be held on July 7th), Mexico and Honduras will square off in Houston, Texas, in a final preparatory match for the two teams.

Honduras is 1-1-1 in their last three friendlies, as they beat El Salvador, drew Paraguay, and lost to Brazil. Los Catrachos struggled to qualify for the Gold Cup, needing a playoff with French Guiana (where they shockingly lost the first leg 3-1) to ensure their spot, but qualify they did, and now they’ll look for a respectable showing. Beating CONCACAF giants Mexico here would give Honduras a lot of confidence going into the tournament; a draw wouldn’t be a bad result for the Catrachos either.

As for Mexico, they are winless in their last six matches, although three of those were Copa América games played with a different roster. In their first pre-Gold Cup friendly this past weekend, El Tri drew 2-2 with Costa Rica in a game that was markedly different after some halftime adjustments from Miguel Herrera. Mexico needs a win to restore fans’ confidence ahead of the continental competition, which Mexico must win to have a chance of participating in the 2017 Confederations Cup.

International Friendly
Wednesday, July 1
Mexico vs Honduras – 9:30 PM – Unimás / Univision Deportes / ESPN2 / Online

Darío Bottinelli Joins Toluca

Logo TolucaToluca has welcomed another international player into their ranks, with Darío Bottinelli becoming their third foreign signing of the offseason.

It was Bottinelli who made the announcement via social media, where he wrote “Today we start a new adventure. Happy to return to Mexican soil. TODAY WE ARE DIABLOS ROJOS DE TOLUCA.” The club itself has not yet made an official announcement regarding Bottinelli.

The 28-year-old Argentinian midfielder arrives from Coritiba in Brazil via Universidad Católica in Chile, where he was on loan. He has previously played in Liga MX with Atlas, whose jersey he wore from 2008-2010. He is the younger brother of Jonathan Bottinelli, who currently plies his trade with another Liga MX side, León.

Mexico vs Costa Rica – Recap and Highlights

el triMexico and Costa Rica faced off in Orlando, Florida, tonight in a pre-Gold Cup warm-up match, where Costa Rica took an early lead but had to settle for a 2-2 draw after Mexico’s second-half comeback.

It didn’t take long for Costa Rica to take the lead, with David Ramírez putting the Central Americans in front in just the fourth minute. Ramírez’s shot from the right was deflected by goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, who got a leg to it but could only watch it loop over him into the empty goal.

Mexico, playing with a new 5-2-3 formation, struggled to control the midfield and get a foothold in the game. Their best attacking opportunities in the first half came from set pieces, but they didn’t really threaten Esteban Alvarado’s goal.

They were also shaky defensively, and in the 36th minute Los Ticos added to their lead courtesy of a Miguel Layún own goal. Johan Venegas put the ball across the face of goal and the unfortunate Layún inadvertently bundled it home to give Costa Rica the 2-0 lead at halftime.

In response, Miguel Herrera shifted his team to a 4-4-2 for the second half, inserting Carlos Esquivel and José Juan Vázquez in place of Héctor Moreno and Carlos Vela. El Tri soon looked more threatening, with sustained attacking forays that led to a goal just eight minutes after the restart.

In the 53rd minute, Giovani dos Santos reduced the deficit for Mexico with a low diagonal shot from just outside the six-yard box that he slotted past Alvarado to make it 2-1. Cries of “Sí se puede” immediately began to ring out around the Citrus Bowl from the largely pro-Mexican crowd.

Not two minutes later, Mexico equalized. Javier “Chicharito” Hernández tied it 2-2 with a well-placed header in the 55th minute to stun Costa Rica and increase the noise level in the stands by several decibels.

Despite the marked improvements from the first half to the second, Mexico was unable to find a third goal. Nevertheless, there are a number of positives for El Tri to take from the draw, such as the fact that Miguel Herrera is not only able to adjust his tactics and formation when needed, but to do so successfully. The winless streak continues for Costa Rica, meanwhile, with Los Ticos now having gone six matches without a victory, but they have at least managed to snap a three-game losing skid.

Next up for Mexico is another tune-up match, this one against Honduras, on Wednesday, July 1st.

Highlights

Lineups

Mexico: Guillermo Ochoa, Paul Aguilar, Diego Reyes, Francisco Rodríguez, Héctor Moreno (José Juan Vázquez 46′), Miguel Layún, Héctor Herrera (Jonathan dos Santos 77′), Andrés Guardado (Jorge Torres Nilo 79′), Javier Hernández, Carlos Vela (Carlos Esquivel 46′), Giovano dos Santos (Oribe Peralta 79′).

Costa Rica: Esteban Alvarado, Cristian Gamboa, Giancarlo González, Roy Miller (Francisco Calvo 79′), Júnior Díaz, Celso Borges, Bryan Ruíz (Elías Aguilar 82′), Johan Venegas Ulloa (Deyver Vega 57′), Joel Campbell (Álvaro Saborío 81′), José Miguel Cubero, David Ramírez (Michael Umaña 69′).