Mexico 3-1 Martinique: El Tri player ratings

Posted by Tom Marshall

When Luis Montes scored a screamer from 25 yards to make it 2-0 in the 34th minute, you thought, just maybe, that El Tri was going to put Martinique to the sword, net a boatload of goals and find some of its old swagger.

But this Mexico side seems intent on making things difficult, and an individual error by Miguel Layun to hand Martinique a penalty late in the first half gave the Caribbean Island side a lifeline. After the break, El Tri huffed and puffed but couldn’t break down the Martinique defense until Miguel Ponce's late goal put the game to bed and made it 3-1.

It was a small improvement for Jose Manuel "Chepo" de la Torre's team and gets Mexico into the knockout stages, but much work remains if El Tri is to successfully defend its Gold Cup crown.

Player ratings:

Moises Munoz, GK -- 5: He was not called on very often and dealt well with the few opportunities Martinique produced. However, the America keeper made a mistake in the 13th minute when he stormed over to the corner flag to try and shepherd the ball out. Luckily, it was easily disposed. It should've led to a goal and wasn't the type of decision-making Chepo will want to see in his goalkeepers.

Miguel Layun, RB -- 5: A pinpoint cross to Raul Jimenez in the 7th summed up what was a great start to the game from the belittled player. His surging runs were a huge positive for El Tri. Much of the good work was undone when he committed a rash foul to hand Martinique a penalty just before halftime. He made up for that, to a degree, with his assist on Mexico's third goal.

Joel Huiqui, CB -- 5: He made no obvious mistakes and dealt well with high balls into the box, but the Mexico captain has to take responsibility for another collectively shaky display at the back, especially in the first half.

Juan Carlos Valenzuela, CB -- 5: He miscontrolled the ball in the 12th minute to let Daniel Herelle run clear through on goal. It was another basic error from Mexico, but, aside from that, "Topo" was competent in the heart of the defense.

Adrian Aldrete, LB -- 6: Another solid performance from the 2005 U-17 World Cup winner. Not as eye-catching as Layun on the other wing, but Aldrete is establishing himself as a good alternative at the position for the full national team.

Alejandro Castro, DM -- 5: Again dropped deep -– at times as a third center back -- to allow the full backs to push up. Castro shielded the defense tidily and carried out his water-carrier role with minimal fuss.

Carlos Pena, CM -- 5: A frustrating performance from the Leon midfielder. He had moments where he showed that he can be the all-action presence in the middle of the field that Mexico is desperate for, but also gave the ball away all too often, no doubt frustrating his teammates and coach.

Luis Montes, RW -- 7: A bright spot for Mexico. Montes scored the vital second goal with perhaps the best strike of the Gold Cup so far. Montes also set up El Tri's opener. His energy and attitude was excellent

Marco Fabian, LW -- 6: Quieter in the second half, but was perhaps Mexico's best player before the break, when he opened the scoring and looked lively both on and off the ball.

Rafa Marquez Lugo, CF – 4: A night to forget for Marquez Lugo, who looked short on confidence. The Chivas forward dropped off Jimenez, but didn’t really link up well and was off target with his shooting. Wouldn’t be a surprise if Javier Orozco takes his place in the quarterfinal.

Raul Jimenez, CF – 6: Unlucky not to score in the 7th with a header that rebounded off the bar, Jimenez worked hard up front and is benefiting from his run of games as a starter for El Tri.

Substitutes

Efrain Velarde (for Pena, 70) -- 6: Added a little more energy to Mexico's midfield in the final 20 minutes.

Javier Orozco (for Marquez Lugo, 82) -– Didn't feature long enough for a grade, but managed one attempted at goal and looks full of confidence.

Miguel Ponce (for Fabian, 88) -– Was in the right place at the right time to score Mexico's third goal, with his first touch.

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