The Pan Am aftermath
El Tri's golden summer got a little better over the weekend, when Mexico's U-22s took the top spot on the podium, to little surprise, at the Pan Am Games. The future Olympic team swept to victory without too many bumps along the way in front of the home crowd, scoring 12 goals across five games while allowing just four.
An incessant attack and relatively solid defense is the recipe for success at any level, but can this team keep it up as qualifying approaches in March, on the road to the Olympic Games next summer? While El Tri triumphed in Guadalajara, the flip side to the coin is that -- much as Mexico was manhandled by older teams at Copa America earlier this summer -- El Tri generally faced inferior teams in rolling to victory in Guadalajara.
In that spirit, let's dissect some of the notable features of the gold-medal winning performance, looking at the good and the bad with an eye towards qualifying in the spring.
Stellar wing play
The good: The most impressive -- and terrifying for opposing teams -- aspect of this group has to be the attacking play out wide. Coach Luis Tena never seems to run out of good wingers with the ability to affect a match. The pairing he eventually settled on in Guadalajara included Miguel Ponce on the left and Javier Aquino on the right, but the coach just as easily could send on Isaac Brizuela or Carlos Orrantia late in a match and expect similarly dangerous results.
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