By MARK LORENZANA
The Mexican National Men’s Soccer Team squandered an early 2-0 lead and ended up suffering a painful defeat, 2-3, against Colombia in their friendly match on the night of Tuesday, Sept. 27, at the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
El Tri scored two goals early — winger Alexis Vega on a penalty kick six minutes into the match, and another goal by left-back Gerardo Arteaga twenty minutes later — firing up the pro-Mexican crowd. This would come crashing down, however, in the second half as the Colombians came out strong and strung up three consecutive goals courtesy of Luis Sinisterra (twice), and Wilmar Barrios, which the Mexican side could not match.
It was a bad loss for the Mexican team, as the 2022 Qatar World Cup is less than two months away. El Tri likewise played a recent friendly against Peru on the night of Saturday, Sept. 24, at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California, which they won — but barely. That match was headed for a scoreless tie, if not for Hirving “Chucky” Lozano’s late-game heroics.
Both Colombia and Peru failed to qualify for the upcoming World Cup.
Gerardo Martino, coach of the Mexican National Team, assured the media after the game that El Tri played its best first half of the last four years, but that some errors that could have been avoided contributed to the loss.
“It was the best first half for us in perhaps four years, and we could even have scored one more goal,” Martino said. “The reasons for the defeat are several, but we have to maintain order, and not commit avoidable mistakes.”
El Tri is scheduled to play two other friendlies, one against Iraq on Nov. 9, and another against Sweden on Nov. 16. Mexico joins the World Cup’s Group C, alongside Poland, Argentina and Saudi Arabia.