After an ugly first half, Mexico stumbled out from Wednesday's Confederations Cup match against New Zealand with a 2-1 victory.
With numerous first-team starters on the bench, manager Juan Carlos Osorio took a risk by fielding a backup roster in El Tri's second group-stage game. Although the head coach nearly shot himself in the foot after allowing an early goal, Mexico bounced back with two goals in the second half.
Now the roster will need to prepare for the final match of the group stage against Russia on Saturday. With a win or draw this weekend, El Tri will have enough points to secure a spot in the knockout stage of the tournament.
El Tri's renewed and tenacious mentality must be brought up. After allowing the first goal in both of its games in the Confederations Cup, Mexico has fought back and earned an ensuing draw against Portugal and a victory against New Zealand.
In the recent past, most other El Tri rosters would have crumbled after allowing an early goal. That's no longer the case. Despite the unattractive win, Mexico fans must recognize the team's newfound spirit and drive.
Where to start? Osorio's formation was far too experimental and the defense was a constant mess. In the midfield, certain backups such as Giovani dos Santos and Jurgen Damm hurt the team with their poor performances.
Also worth noting is the injury to defender Carlos Salcedo, who was later taken to a hospital. At time of writing, there are no details on the severity or whether he will be available for the next match.
Manager rating out of 10
4 -- One of Osorio's worst games as Mexico manager.
Criticism should also be placed on some of his backups who failed to step up, but there's no excuse for the Colombian benching several starters from the previous match. El Tri fans will keep their fingers crossed that Osorio has learned his lesson after somehow escaping with three points.
Player ratings (1-10, with 10 the best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating.)
GK Alfredo Talavera, 7.5 -- Talavera kept Mexico alive in the win. Thanks to a few crucial saves, the 34-year-old emerged as one of El Tri's best on Wednesday.
DF Carlos Salcedo, 5 -- An unfortunate match for Salcedo. After an unconvincing early start to the game, the defender suffered an injury which forced a substitution in the 33rd minute.
DF Nestor Araujo, 4.5 -- Were it not for Araujo's bad clearance that led to the All Whites' goal, the defender would have had a higher rating. The 25-year-old could also do little to help organize the shaky backline.
DF Oswaldo Alanis, 4 -- Another backup option who struggled to control the defense. No surprise when Osorio substituted Alanis out at half-time.
MF Jurgen Damm, 3 -- Damm was predictable and awful with his decision-making. The winger was never a true threat in the attack to New Zealand.
MF Marco Fabian, 7 -- A decent performance from the midfielder who provided the assist for Raul Jimenez's goal. That said, he could have been more proactive in the attack.
MF Diego Reyes, 7.5 -- An average first half from Reyes led to a brilliant finish to the game. After starting as a defensive midfielder, Reyes shined after moving back to defense. The 24-year-old also helped start the play for El Tri's second goal.
MF Giovani dos Santos, 3 -- When Mexico needed him most, Dos Santos hid in the midfield and was largely absent for most of the match. A disappointing showing from the talented 28-year-old.
MF Javier Aquino, 8.5 -- El Tri's best player against New Zealand. Aquino was unafraid to make daring runs that eventually resulted in an assist for Oribe Peralta's game winner in the 72nd minute. The winger nearly had a second assist late in the match as well.
FW Raul Jimenez, 7.5 -- Like usual, Jimenez was one of the hardest-working players on the field. The striker's perseverance paid off with a highlight-worthy goal in the 54th minute.
FW Oribe Peralta, 7 -- Although he lacks the energy and explosiveness required for a national team striker, Peralta provided a much-needed physical presence. His winner in the second half was invaluable for this underwhelming roster.
DF Hector Moreno, 5 -- Moreno was substituted in for Salcedo during the 33rd minute. After failing to help stop Chris Wood's goal, Moreno trudged off with what appeared to be a wrist injury in the second half.
MF Hector Herrera, 7 -- Herrera was substituted in for Alanis at half-time. Herrera provided good distribution and leadership in the midfield. A game-changer for El Tri during the last 45 minutes.
DF Rafael Marquez, 6 -- Marquez was substituted in for Moreno during the 68th minute. Marquez interrupted New Zealand's late momentum with fouls. The veteran was perhaps lucky to walk away without a yellow card.