The two players dominated the game on the flank, terrorizing the El Salvador back line and paving the way for Mexico’s comfortable win
For about 15 minutes, things were shaky for Mexico.
Moments after Hedgardo Martin appeared to send El Tri on their way by finishing off an Elias Hernandez set-piece delivery, El Salvador pegged them back for an equalizer.
In fact, in the early going, Mexico found itself being outshot as El Salvador pressed high and was not shy about taking its chances from distance.
But in the end, the combined work of Hernandez and Jesus Gallardo were too much to handle for El Salvador down the flanks in the first half. In the second, Mexico was steady and controlled the proceedings, with Hernandez again leading the way with a second assist.
Match Report: Mexico 3-1 El Salvador
Though overall a good performance from El Tri, there were a few players who probably will need to do more going forward if they want to impress Juan Carlos Osorio and work their way into his plans for Russia 2018. Meanwhile a few others made statements as to why they deserve a look in future contests — both at this Gold Cup and beyond.
Here are Goal’s full player ratings for Mexico’s 3-1 victory over El Salvador.
GK Jose Corona, 5.5: Perhaps could have done better on El Salvador’s goal as he was caught flat-footed. His big mistake came later in the half with a sloppy pass that could have resulted in a second goal, but atoned by delivering the long ball which released Hernandez on Mexico’s third.
D Edson Alvarez, 7: Solid performance for the 19-year-old in an unfamiliar position, with a few stops as the last man back. Had three clearances in and around his own six-yard box.
D Hugo Ayala, 5.5: Had a rough start to the game as he failed to check the pass coming into Nelson Bonilla, or his run or shot on El Salvador’s opener. But was active after that and finished with six tackles and seven clearances.
D Hedgardo Marin, 7: Opened the scoring with a well-taken header. After that was solid, helping to lock down the left side of the defense for Mexico.
D Luis Reyes, 5: Had an efficient passing game, but most of those passes were of the low-risk, low-reward variety, with Elias Hernandez doing most of the attacking work on the left. Picked up a yellow card and was off at halftime.
M/D Jesus Gallardo, 7.5: When the ball wasn’t going through Elias Hernandez in the first half, it went through Gallardo. Delivered multiple threatening balls and earned an assist on Mexico’s second. Moved to left back in the second half and was solid.
M Jesus Duenas, 6.5: Was active in the center of the park and had a few good moments — at one point releasing Gallardo for what should have been a Mexico goal. Had a chance to score himself in the second half but was unable to capitalize.
M Jorge Hernandez, 5.5: Passed the ball efficiently in the center of the park. Did have one bad loss of possession early, and was arguably caught in no-man’s land on El Salvador’s opener — not stepping up in time or cutting off the angle for the pass. Came off at half.
M/F Rodolfo Pizarro, 6: Not as active as he was in the friendlies leading up to the Gold Cup. Was efficient with his passing, when he was involved and was slightly involved in the build up to Mexico’s second.
M Elias Hernandez, 9: Was the key contributor in Mexico’s attack delivering a goal on an expertly taken volley and added two assists. Could have had an even bigger day had he scored on two tough angle chances. The best player on the pitch.
Hernandez sparks Mexico win
F Angel Sepulveda, 5: Got the first look in a central attacking role for Mexico and had a few moments in build up play. But overall did not make a huge impact and his turnover led to El Salvador’s goal. Also missed an excellent chance to find the scoresheet when he skied an unmarked header over the bar.
M Oberlin Pineda, 7: Scored on his first opportunity, though it was an awkward looking finish. Nearly added another goal when he got past El Salvador backup keeper Derby Carrillo in space out wide but could not find the net or a teammate. Did well enough as a substitute.
M Jesus Molina, 6: Stepped in at halftime and was solid with his passing. Had less to do defensively than Jorge Hernandez as El Salvador’s attacks were less potent in the second half.
M Erick Gutierrez, 5.5: Came on for the final 20 minutes and did not stand out in a good way or bad, though he did only miss on two passes on the evening.