Friendly matches are effective in helping Mexico prepare for Gold Cup
By Stephanie Gardner
Jun 2, 2011 11:31:00 AM
Giovani dos Santos, Mexico vs New Zealand (Getty)
Invesco field had a new look Wednesday night as over 41,000 soccer fans wearing green, white, and red filled the home of the Denver Broncos.
It was second and final game of Mexico’s friendly tour in preparation for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which begins next week. In the first match of the trip, Mexico tied Ecuador 1-1, which was contrary to Wednesday night’s 3-0 result against New Zealand.
“The two opponents are very different from one another,” Mexico’s head coach José Manuel de la Torre told reporters through a translator. “That was the original intention because of the different challenges we will be facing during the Gold Cup.”
The Guadalajara native seemed pleased with the results from the two friendly matches, and content with El Tri’s performance.
“Regarding the fighting of the plays, I have seen that in every single game the team has scored at least a goal,” explains de la Torre. “That’s very important. I admit that the two opponents have been quite difficult because they’ve played differently. They have closed all gaps and all spaces, so the make if very difficult to play an offensive game. The team has responded and scored every game. They have not created as many opportunities as they wanted, but they are working on it; and the whole goal is to score as many goals as possible.”
Mexico had an impressive lineup with four of its players being on the roster for Monterrey, which recently won the CONCACAF Champions league. Another notable name was not on the roster, but will be added this weekend, as Mexico kicks off the Gold Cup tournament. Celebrated player, Chicharito, will join up with his national team in Dallas.
The head coach was straightforward when asked about his choice for the starting XI.
“It’s not a matter of being close to finding that squad for Sunday,” reveals de la Torre. “ I constantly work with all the players in the same way, and I wait until the very last minute to decide the final 11 that would start the game. So closer to the game on Sunday, I’ll see how the players are doing. I recognize that some of the players are players that started to night, might be playing on Sunday, but I will wait until the very last minute.”
With the two friendly matches behind them, Mexico now looks to improve and work even better as a team. It opens its Gold Cup schedule against El Salvador on Sunday.
“I know that these games are two experiments, and to make adjustments,” the 45-year old coach adds. “In the game against Ecuador, the team had the ball maybe 80% of the time, something very similar happened against New Zealand, and that’s what these games are for.
“I see the team very committed, very focused,” de la Torre continues. “These circumstances allowed me to try other players, and I am happy with what I’ve seen with the team. I just need to keep working with them before the opening of Gold Cup next Sunday.”