The 50-year wait for victory in San Pedro Sula is over and the 22-year winless drought in Honduras has come to a close. Wow. Where do we even begin?
Juan Carlos Osorio knew it wasn’t going to be easy. After all, when has an away trip to Honduras ever been easy? This undoubtedly played into his decision to write “5-2-3” in that little notebook of his, with Miguel Layún and Oswaldo Alanís as outside backs and Javier Aquino and Raúl Jiménez on the left and right wings respectively.
If I had to use one word to describe the first half it would be “ugly.” Hector Moreno played in a bruising battle vs. just about every attacker who came his way, foul after foul, tough tackle after dangerous challenge. This Honduras side was not the strongest or most technically gifted we’ve seen in recent years, but it came to fight. In an extremely unfortunate turn of events, the physicality of the match resulted in a severe injury for Luis Garrido, whose leg was bent horrendously under a falling Aquino (Aquino was fouled on the play). I advise you all not to watch any replays, because it is truly dreadful.
Upon match completion, it was discovered that Garrido had dislocated his right knee, ruptured his ACL and PCL, and done extensive damage to other ligaments as well. He will be out for at least a year. What an awful development. Aquino sent his well wishes to his opponent last night. #FuerzaGarrido.
The second half kicked off with Mexico looking brighter in the attack, but select moments of positive play culminated in misses like this epic blast over the bar from two yards out by Raúl Jiménez in the 56th…
Thankfully, Tecatito Time was soon to follow. A little flick pop with the outside of his left foot set up a cracking volley from the top of the box. Oh my goodness.
Fans were (rightfully) over the moon.
Magic. It didn’t stop there, either. Another young star, Tigres’ Jürgen Damm, followed suit with his own individual moment of brilliance, tucking a beautiful impossible angle goal into the near post with his right foot. So smooth. So stunning.
This was a victory through substitutions if there’s ever been one. And not just any subs, young subs.
No Gio, no problem. Tecatito and Jürgen were game changers to put it lightly. The future is bright, and now seems like as good a time as ever for a decisive generational change in Mexican fútbol. Osorio is open to tactical changes and flexible in his formations, leaving room for variations that might bring these young cracks to the forefront. They’re confident. They’re hungry. They’ve got the winning mentality. Simply put, they’ve got what it takes. Now’s the time.