Miguel Layun, Rodolfo Pizarro struggle in injury-plagued Mexico defeat

Many Mexico fans will likely want to forget Tuesday's friendly between Croatia and El Tri. Not only did the CONCACAF giants stumble to a 1-0 loss at AT&T Stadium, but they also suffered injuries to three key players along the way: Nestor Araujo, Diego Reyes and Carlos Salcedo.

Following a morale-boosting 3-0 victory against Iceland last Friday, the recent defeat by Croatia will leave many of their fans feeling unsatisfied with the international break.


It's difficult to feel positive, but one thing that must be brought up was Mexico's ability to control and dictate the pace of the game against European opposition. Were it not for Miguel Layun's clumsy foul which led to Croatia's goal, or the injuries, this could have been a very different night for El Tri.


There's no way of overlooking the injuries, all of which happened to three defenders playing the same position. After only 16 minutes, Araujo injured himself and was then replaced by Reyes, who injured himself and was then replaced by Salcedo, who was also injured later.

Looking at the attack, there's reason to worry about the lack of clear opportunities from El Tri. Despite the large amount of possession, Mexico only finished with a meager tally of three shots on target and no goals.

Manager (rating out of 10)

6 -- Juan Carlos Osorio's game plan was similar to the one against Iceland: Play a strong core of starters with a few experiments in the XI. Unfortunately for the manager, the selected backups struggled on Tuesday. Looking ahead, Mexico fans will keep their fingers crossed that this is the end of his slight tinkering before the World Cup.

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

GK Guillermo Ochoa, 6 -- There was little Ochoa could do to halt the penalty that led to Croatia's lone goal. Other than that, the goalkeeper had a decent night with a few crucial saves.

DF Hugo Ayala, 5 -- Another inconsistent match for Ayala. While he did have some noteworthy interventions, the veteran also allowed a number of Croatian attackers to slip past him.

DF Nestor Araujo, 5 -- Araujo's evening was cut short after suffering an injury in the 16th minute. Mexico fans will hope his knee is not too badly hurt.

DF Hector Moreno, 6 -- Moreno needs to work on creating cohesion with his back-line, but the defender should also be given credit for emerging as a surprising source of good chances in the attack.

MF Jorge Hernandez, 4 -- Hernandez proved Tuesday that he isn't the defensive midfielder that Mexico needs. Throughout the match, the Pachuca player failed to connect with the rest of the midfield.

MF Omar Govea, 5 -- An average performance from the inexperienced national team player. Although he needs to work on building more chemistry with the squad, Govea did provide a couple of dangerous passes going forward.

MF Andres Guardado, 4 -- Due to recent injury problems, Guardado should be given the benefit of the doubt. That said, the team captain proved to be far too quiet in the midfield during the international break.

MF Rodolfo Pizarro, 3 -- Where was Pizarro? As the central attacking midfielder, the Chivas player consistently looked lost in his vital position.

FW Carlos Vela, 8 -- In the midst of a worrisome clash for Mexico, Vela stepped up as a playmaker for Mexico on the wings. The versatile player continues to be invaluable for El Tri.

FW Javier Hernandez, 5 -- Hernandez stepped back to fight for the ball but didn't do much else in his 90 minutes on the field. A lack of shots from the West Ham player should be worrying for Mexico fans.

FW Hirving Lozano, 7 -- Like Vela, Lozano took charge on the flanks with his risk-taking runs. As each day passes, it looks as though the two wingers are set to be guaranteed starters for Osorio.


DF Diego Reyes, 5 -- Was substituted in during the 16th minute for Araujo. After replacing the injured Araujo, the central defender quickly suffered an injury of his own and was substituted out during halftime.

DF Miguel Layun, 3 -- Was substituted in during halftime for Pizarro. After a near-perfect performance against Iceland last week, Layun lost Tuesday night's match with a clumsy foul that led to the lone goal off a penalty for Croatia.

MF Jesus Molina, 6 -- Was substituted in during halftime for Govea. As a partner to Hernandez, Molina helped secure a questionable heart of the midfield.

DF Carlos Salcedo, 5 -- Was substituted in during halftime for Reyes. Like Araujo and Reyes, there isn't much to say about the player, who only had a short amount of time on the field before suffering an injury.

FW Raul Jimenez, 5 -- Was substituted in during the 61st minute for Guardado. Jimenez struggled to make his presence known and wasn't much of a threat to Croatia's back-line.

DF Edson Alvarez, 6 -- Was substituted in during the 69th minute for Salcedo, and at least he stayed healthy. There was little work to do for the central defender, who only provided a few conservative passes going forward.