Robbery on the road - Mexico fortunate to escape Trinidad and Tobago with three points

Juan Carlos Osorio's changes from the win over Costa Rica were unimpressive, and a key call went El Tri's way as they took the away win.

Earlier this week, a Honduras player said his team wasn't going to hide after a poor result. In his mind, that would only be necessary if he'd committed a robbery or other crime.

Mexico may want to lay low for a while.

The 1-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago in Port of Spain wasn't a smash-and-grab result, but it may have been petty theft. The team definitely escaped with a result — one it might not have earned. Luck, or the assistant referee, smiled on El Tri and the team leaves with six points from this window's two matches. Mexico's 10 points also keep the team atop the Hexagonal stage of World Cup qualifying.

"Today was a game where we had to roll up our sleeves and work for it, and the guys understood that," Osorio said at his postmatch news conference. "All in all, I think the plan gave us really good results. The national team continues winning, the guys continue contributing and we continue putting together a really good team that in every scenario shows that it deserves to win."

Joevin Jones had the ball in Alfredo Talavera's net in the 32nd minute but was ruled offside, though it appeared he was at worst level with Nestor Araujo when the pass was struck. Mexico got a break with its goal as well. That's not to take anything away from Miguel Layun's gorgeous service or Diego Reyes' header to score, but other chances in the match were few and far between.

There are going to be matches like this in the Hex, in which playing surfaces and conditions and atmospheres in the stadiums can create uncomfortable situations for visiting sides. However, in many ways, Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio brought this difficulty upon himself.

Worried about the Soca Warriors' height and speed, Osorio put out a conservative lineup with Diego Reyes and Jesus Molina in the middle and dropped Carlos Vela, one of the team's sparks.

And after praising Hector Herrera for being able to play centrally, he moved him up, between the defensive midfielders and the forwards. The player never plugged into the match, hitting the post with an individual effort but failing to create the same chances for others that he did as Mexico comprehensively topped Costa Rica four days earlier.

We know Osorio has faith in his methods, but at times he needs to put more faith in his players. The result was earned either way, but it could've come easier had Mexico simply rolled out and played the same brand of soccer it did at home. The coach is right to respect every opponent, and his preparation that goes into each game is admirable. But sometimes in CONCACAF, you really can ride your talent advantage to three points.

"It's really tough to play pretty football on these types of fields and these types of opponents," center back Hector Moreno said after the game. "I think the team tried to do it, but also you have to be ready because because, it's happened to us in the past, the last games against Trinidad and Tobago were 3-3 and 4-4. So we knew that it was important to keep a clean sheet and after that look for a goal on a play, and we got it."

Mexico is sitting pretty at the moment. The type of crisis that plagued the team in the last cycle has been averted. Osorio has led the team to seven points in three away matches. El Tri will qualify for the World Cup — that much seems clear. But a better team than a Trinidad and Tobago side still getting accustomed to new coach Dennis Lawrence would've been able to see out a result Tuesday.

Mexico will be facing those teams in Russia. Mexico will be facing those teams in June when it hosts Honduras and the United States.

Osorio has plenty to think about before then, though he may not want to overthink things. Many of his critics have charged him with that "crime" before, but Tuesday night they were right.

ALFREDO ESTRELLA



Here are the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying standings after Mexico win, USMNT draw

Mexico moved to the top of the Hex with a win last Friday, marking the first time they led the final round of World Cup qualifying in 12 years. Add another win on Tuesday and that's where they remain.

How does the table for the whole round look after four of 10 matchdays?

Mexico - 10 pts
Last match: 1-0 at Trinidad and Tobago

Next match: vs. Honduras

Costa Rica - 7 points
Last match: 1-1 at Honduras

Next match: vs. Panama

Panama - 5 points
Last match: vs. United States

Next match: at Costa Rica

United States - 4 points
Last match: at Panama

Next match: vs. Trinidad and Tobago

Honduras - 4 points
Last match: 1-1 vs. Costa Rica

Next match: at Mexico

Trinidad and Tobago - 3 points
Last match: 0-1 vs. Mexico

Next match: vs. the USA


Mexico boss Osorio shaves head after losing qualifying bet with 'Chicharito'

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago -- Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio was delighted in his postgame news conference after seeing his side defeat Trinidad and Tobago 1-0 on Tuesday, although he didn't let on that he'd just lost a bet.

When Osorio appeared 10 minutes later in the mixed zone of the Hasely Crawford Stadium, he did so with slightly less hair.

It was left to Porto's Miguel Layun to explain to the awaiting press that Osorio had actually made a bet with Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, who said El Tri would win six points from the World Cup qualifying games against Costa Rica last Friday and Tuesday in Trinidad and Tobago.

Osorio promised to shave his head if Mexico did, in a similar bet to the one Hernandez made with ESPN's Sergio Dipp over the result of the Super Bowl.

"Ask the coach," Layun said laughing. "It's a bet he made with Javier [Hernandez]."

When Osorio finished with a couple of interviews, he told journalists of the bet and posed for the cameras, lifting up six fingers to represent the six crucial points Mexico has won in the last five days.

The Mexico squad went directly from the stadium to the Port of Spain airport, with the players set to disperse to their various club sides.

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