Mexico ratings: Lozano gets 9/10 for inspired Nations League showing
As expected, Mexico kicked off its start to the CONCACAF Nations League with a dominant victory over a regional minnow. Although Bermuda gave the North American giants a few scares through a high-pressing approach on Friday night, Mexico eventually took charge of the away match with an eye-catching 5-1 result in its favor.
Keeping in mind that manager Gerardo "Tata" Martino brought a number of backups and young options into his Nations League roster, a 5-1 win is the exact kind of boost in confidence that many of the new faces needed. Speaking of which, the two goals for 20-year-old Jose Juan Macias will surely ease some worries for Mexico fans who are eager to see more strikers in the national team's depth chart.
Let's not forget that Bermuda made things difficult in the first 15-20 minutes. Through a high-pressing approach, the opposition flustered Mexico's back line and goalkeeper as they fumbled the ball around, nearly allowing an early goal.
Manager rating (out of 10)
8 -- No significant complaints about Martino. Despite the fact that it looked as though he was about to lose control of the game early on, the manager was able to take back the momentum of the match as he continued to guide his players forward. It's also good to see that there is a defined formation and structure Martino is sticking with through his aggressive 4-3-3 formation.
Player ratings (1-10, with 10 the best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Rodolfo Cota, 7 -- Had some scary moments when he had the ball at his feet, but otherwise had a good game. No real trouble from Bermuda's attack Friday.
DF Jorge Sanchez, 8 -- When Bermuda began to grow tired, Sanchez began to step up even more on the right flank with his daring runs. The full-back also earned a penalty for his team in the second half after a dangerous cross.
DF Carlos Salcedo, 6 -- There's still room for improvement in the central defensive partnership between Salcedo and Nestor Araujo. The Tigres player provided a few important clearances, but also looked uneasy when needing to distribute the ball quickly out of the 18-yard box.
DF Nestor Araujo, 6 -- Similar to Salcedo, Araujo needs to perfect some of his decision-making in defense. It's still unclear whether he is better suited as a right-center-back or a left-center-back.
DF Cristian Calderon, 7 -- A fairly average game for the left-back, who should be given credit for his assist in the first half. At just 22, he'll have plenty of time to make a name for himself.
MF Hector Herrera, 8 -- His golazo late into the match will go down as one of the goals of the year for Mexico. Herrera was a crucial playmaking defensive midfielder who also provided an assist for Hirving Lozano's first goal.
MF Carlos Rodriguez, 7 -- Quiet yet diligent, Rodriguez highlighted his tactical flexibility through his ability to shift between an attack-minded role in the midfield and a more defensive one when Herrera stepped forward.
MF Sebastian Cordova, 7 -- The 22-year-old looks like a perfect fit for Martino's three-man midfield. Although fans would have likely wanted to see him be more proactive, Cordova's speed and (occasionally) dangerous shots were on display during his 63 minutes on the field.
FW Uriel Antuna, 7 -- On paper, Antuna should still be a backup's backup on either wing for Mexico. Nevertheless, he scores far too frequently to be ignored. His goal against Bermuda is his sixth in 10 games for Mexico, all of which have come in the current calendar year.
FW Jose Juan Macias, 8 -- At the right place at the right time for his two goals Friday. The Leon striker positioned himself perfectly for the pass from Calderon in the first half, then followed up on the rebound of a blocked shot from Antuna in the second half.
FW Hirving Lozano, 9 -- If he had scored off of the penalty late into the match instead of hitting the post, Lozano would have had a perfect night. He'll still be able to hold his head up high with his goal and two assists for Mexico in the victory. Instrumental in everything positive going forward for Mexico.
MF Erick Aguirre, 7 -- Substituted in for Cordova during the 63rd minute. Aguirre looked comfortable as one of the attack-minded midfielders and nearly scored through a powerful shot from distance shortly after entering the pitch.
FW Diego Lanez, N/A -- Substituted in for Lozano during the 72nd minute.
MF Jose Ivan Rodriguez, N/A -- Substituted in for Carlos Rodriguez during the 77th minute.