Mexico Starts World Cup Countdown With Win


Javier Hernandez kept up his torrid scoring pace, this time with the national team

Mexico played its first of 12 prep games in chilly Candlestick Park last night (isn’t that place an icebox in August? I can’t imagine February). When there is only one official FIFA match day on the schedule, the pickins are slim when one tries to fill out an ambitious 12 game schedule. Especially when you have to convince a team to fly all the way to San Francisco. Alas, the Condors of Bolivia agreed to a match, sent a young and inexperienced team, and were then summarily dispatched with 4 goals in the first 20 minutes. Mexico added another to win 5-0.

It’s hard to gauge anything in a friendly like this. And most will discard the result as it was against a very weak opponent. And that’s fine. But one of the advantages of a friendly like this is that Javier Aguirre got his players for 3 days worth of practices and then some. So it was worth it, right?

It was definitely worth it for Javier Hernandez. For some, being Mexican futbol’s leading scorer was not enough. He had to show if he could get the goals wearing green. Mexico does not have very good luck with young forwards. The green shirt is an albatross of expectation.

If said young forward does not have a good game in a friendly, the knives come out, the i-told-you-sos rain from the heavens, and the player is imploded as quickly as he was built up. In other words, there’s always alotta hatin’ goin’ on. Some let it run off their back, others never recover. Such is the life of the young Mexican striker, the mayflies of the sport.

But back to the great green hope. Chicharito’s league performance even got him some front page space on fifa.com. Although chicharito sounds so much better than little pea, le petit petitpois does have a nice rhythm to it. Did Hernandez crumble from the pressure? Did he flounder on shots that were harder to miss than to make? Not all.

Hernandez scored 2 of the 4 first half goals, and was an integral part of the other two goals all in 45 minutes of work. He linked up nicely with the ageless Braulio Luna and Pablo Barrera (who is having a terrific season for Pumas in his own right) in those 20 minutes of brilliance.

For now, the haters have retreated back into the shadows, but they will be back next week. Mexico will be at the Rose Bowl to face New Zealand's All-Whites with their legion of expats (dressed in black, no less).

So young Mr. Hernandez was able to hold off the hate at least for one week.