Elias Hernandez provides a friendly boost in victory over Paraguay

Three days after gaining a 1-0 win over Ghana, Mexico followed up in another friendly with a 2-1 victory against Paraguay on Saturday. With two wins in hand, El Tri will now have a little over a week to prepare for the Gold Cup.

Before Mexico heads out to train in San Diego for its tournament opener next Sunday, let's first take a look at the recent result at Seattle's CenturyLink Field.


There seems to be something brewing here with the Gold Cup roster. The starting XI, which was very organized, looked comfortable with its 62 percent possession against Paraguay. Although the opposition had a number of chances to equalize, there was never a sense that Mexico was going to lose the match.

Were it not a friendly, El Tri might have pushed for more than the two goals that arrived during the first 26 minutes.


Positives aside, the victory feels bitter because of an injury to striker Alan Pulido. At time of writing, there is no official statement from the national team regarding the injury, but some initial reports stated that Pulido suffered a fracture in his right arm.

If Pulido is officially out, will the red-hot Erick "Cubo" Torres take his place in the roster?

Manager rating (out of 10)

7.5 -- No serious complaints regarding Juan Carlos Osorio's assistant, Luis Pompilio Paez. While Osorio is busy with the Confederations Cup, Paez has done an excellent job taking charge of the Gold Cup roster. On Saturday, the assistant coach fielded a strong starting XI that was able to work very well together.

The only thing worth questioning were his late substitutions and his decision to not give promising defender Cesar Montes any minutes.

Player ratings (1-10, with 10 the best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Jose de Jesus Corona, 7 -- Corona collected a handful of big saves for Mexico. That said, he also nearly gifted a goal to the opposition after an awful pass in the second half.

DF Luis Rodriguez, 5 -- Rodriguez was a weak link in the back line. Rodriguez offered little in the attack and also had a difficult time taking charge of his area in the defense.

DF Jair Pereira, 7.5 -- Thanks to his clearances and tackles, Pereira emerged as El Tri's most impressive member of the back line. The 30-year-old now has a decent chance of holding on to a key role in the Gold Cup.

DF Hedgardo Marin, 7 -- In comparison to his previous start against Ghana, Marin appeared much more confident in defense. The Chivas player was an asset with his distribution going forward.

DF Jesus Gallardo, 6 -- After failing to chase his marker, Gallardo was partially at fault for allowing Paraguay's lone goal. An average performance from the Pumas defender, who was occasionally involved in El Tri's attack.

MF Jesus Duenas, 7.5 -- Duenas was Mexico's leader of the midfield. The Tigres player was proactive with his movement forward and was also noteworthy for his good connection with Elias Hernandez.

MF Jesus Molina, 7 -- Molina provided crucial interventions as El Tri's defensive midfielder. After playing 180 minutes in the recent friendlies, the 29-year-old appears set to be a starter in the Gold Cup.

MF Orbelin Pineda, 7 -- Pineda was clever with his dribbling and a threat in the attack. The midfielder also nearly scored for Mexico off a powerful header in the first half.

FW Elias Hernandez, 8 -- El Tri's best player of the game. Hernandez provided plenty of dangerous crosses, risk-taking dribbling and, of course, the game winner off a penalty in the 26th minute.

FW Alan Pulido, 6 -- Pulido regularly tracked back but struggled to find opportunities on net. Unfortunately for Mexico and the striker, Pulido was substituted out in the second half after suffering an injury to his right arm.

FW Rodolfo Pizarro, 7.5 -- Despite the fact that Pizarro was occasionally quiet, the 23-year-old was able to produce moments of beauty with his touch and control of the ball. The youngster also scored an exceptional goal for El Tri in the 19th minute.


MF Erick Gutierrez, 7 -- Was substituted in for Pulido during the 61st minute. Gutierrez helped control possession in the second half with his active presence in the midfield.

FW Angel Sepulveda, N/A -- Was substituted in for Pineda during the 86th minute.

FW Raul Lopez, N/A -- Was substituted in for Hernandez during the 90th minute.

FW Martin Barragan, N/A -- Was substituted in for Pizarro during the 92nd minute.