One can only imagine what was going through the Vikingo's after Mexico was unceremoniously dumped by Argentina last Wednesday:
How much was my contract worth? Is there an Ikea in Polanco? Why did I listen to Nery?
Mexico's very unimpressive 4-1 loss to Argentina left a lot to be desired across the lines of Mexican football. The team looked listless, lazy, uninspired, and downright pathetic. Usually, Mexico responds very well when playing a Platinum level team, but last Wednesday in San Diego, Mexico looked like they were on the dentist's chair and Argentina were more than happy to play the role of Dr. Christian Szell. It was not the team that SGE signed on to lead, to say the least.
Which brings us to Chicago, and the friendly vs. Peru. First, a word about the field conditions: awful. I know the SUM and the Femexfut love to make money, but shouldn't they at least pretend to care about the health risks of the players on the pitch, and the quality of play? Soldier Field was nowhere near being sold out, and Chicago has a perfectly acceptable and intimate stadium and pitch in Toyota Park.
As listless and amotivated as Mexico looked in San Diego, they came out guns blazing, and scored 2 goals in the first 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, Mexico were up 4-0. Peru didn't have an answer for Mexico, and they didn't seem to care.
I have always liked Peru. Some of my first memories of watching International footie were of Peru's swashbuckling style of play in Argentina 78. They were fun to watch. But it seems that, fair or not, Peru have been having to deal with karmic invoices ever since they laid down for Argentina 6-0 in th second round of that world cup, which allowed Argentina to leap frog Brazil into the final. Peru got back to the world cup in 1982, but they just didn't have the same spark, and that was very apparent when they were wiped off the pitch by Lato's Poland, 5-1. They haven’t been heard from since.
SGE was at the game last night. And he had to feel better about what he saw. Despite missing their best keeper, defender, midfielder, and forward, Mexico displayed a much more spirited team effort. Andres Guardado and Fernando Arce pierced the Peruvian defense from the flanks all night, and scored 3 of the 4 goals. The defense, which looked to be made out of papier mache vs. Argentina, firmed up considerably. The most noticeable difference was Aaron Galindo, who was inexplicably excluded from the line-up in San Diego. The Eintracht defender was a calm and relaxed difference maker.
So Sven got a view of what Mexico can be, both good and bad. His main tasks will be to limit those mistakes, especially against teams that make you pay dearly for them (like Argentina), and to help the Mexican player turn the many good plays he generates into the great plays that are essential for Mexico to succeed. He has his work cut out for him.