Believe it or not, Mexico vs. Trinidad & Tobago is becoming one of the most entertaining fixtures in international soccer.Less than two months after an eight-goal thriller draw between the sides in the CONCACAF Gold Cup group stage, the countries met for the second time this summer in a friendly on Friday night at Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City, playing to another exciting goalfest draw, this time by a 3-3 score.
It was the first game in charge of the Mexican national team for interim boss Ricardo "Tuca" Ferretti, following the dismissal of Miguel Herrera immediately following Mexico's Gold Cup triumph due to an off-field incident. Playing a largely reserve side, Mexico faced off against a Trinidad & Tobago lineup that featured more regulars from the Gold Cup, but also fielded a few newcomers. Ferretti's lineup is believed to have been made with next week's friendly against Argentina and next month's CONCACAF Cup showdown against the US national team in mind.
T&T found the breakthrough against the run of play in the seventh minute. Keron Cummings dribbled through the midfield unchallenged and eventually unleashed a long-range shot that deflected off a Mexico defender's foot. Jonathan Glenn, making a run to the far post, ran towards the looping ball and headed it past Mexico goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera. It was Glenn's first career goal for the senior national team.
Cummings then doubled the lead himself in the 39th minute, as Glenn challenged Mexico defender Oswaldo Alanis near the endline and won the ball, then dribbled in and sent a low cross into the center of the box, with Cummings burying the shot on the trailing run.
But Mexico answered to cut the lead just a minute later. Carlos Esquivel headed the ball in from the penalty spot off a Jorge Torres Nilo cross to make it 2-1.
El Tri nearly tied it up just after the restart, as Trinidad and Tobago 'keeper Jan-Michael Williams failed to punch away a Mexico cross, but debutant Henry Martin could not capitalize with a tap-in at the far post.
But they got the equalizer in the 55th minute, as second-half substitute Raul Jimenez connected well with Esquivel on a run into the box, and ended up slotting a deflected shot into the net.
The Soca Warriors were not demoralized, however, as a well-placed free kick from just outside the box was sent in by Chicago Fire's Joevin Jones in the 70th minute, going over the Mexican wall and past Talavera, rooted to his position, to give T&T the lead once more.
Unlike the last meeting between the countries, it was Mexico that got the late equalizer, as Hector Herrera unleashed an absolute golazo from range off a corner kick with five minutes left in regulation to make it 3-3. He nearly followed that up with a go-ahead goal off a free kick a few minutes later, but the chance sailed just over the goal.
Trinidad & Tobago's slate for the current international window is complete, while Mexico will take on Argentina at AT&T Stadium in Dallas on Tuesday.
T&T 3 v Mexico 3
Glenn 7 Esquivel 41
Cummings 39 Cyrus 56 (OG)
J.Jones 69 Herrera 85
Video: - México vs Trinidad y Tobago 3-3 Highlights
Mexico: - 1.Alfredo Talavera; 13.Diego Reyes, 10.Israel Jiménez, 6.Jorge Torres, 3.Oswaldo Alanís (15.Héctor Moreno 73rd), 20.Jesus Dueñas (16.Héctor Herrera 73rd), 19.Henry Martín (9.Raul Jiménez 54th), 5.Javier Güemez, 8.Javier Aquino, 21.Carlos Esquivel, 11.Carlos Vela (capt).
Unused Subs: 12.Moisés Muñoz (GK), 22.Paul Aguilar, 7.Miguel Layún, 4.Rafael Márquez, 23.José Vázquez, 18.Andrés Guardado, 14.Javier Hernández.
COACH: - Ricardo Ferretti (BRA).
Trinidad and Tobago: - 21.Jan-Michael Williams (capt); 18.Yohance Marshall, 2.Aubrey David, 23.Daneil Cyrus, 6.Radanfah Abu Bakr (17.Mekeil Williams 54th), 8.Khaleem Hyland, 3.Joevin Jones (16.Neveal Hackshaw 87th), 20.Keron Cummings, 13.Cordell Cato (11.Trevin Caesar 58th), 14.Andre Boucaud (5.Kevan George 70th), 7.Jonathan Glenn (10.Willis Plaza 74th).
Unused Subs: 1.Marvin Phillip (GK), 25.Marcus Joseph, 26.Rundell Winchester.
COACH: - Stephen Hart (TRI).
Mexico v Trinidad and Tobago
25 (11) Shots (on goal) 13 (4)
8 Fouls 7
8 Corner kicks 4
1 Offsides 0
70% Time of Possession 30%
0 Yellow Cards 0
0 Red Cards 0
2 Saves 18
Another gripper as Mexico force late tie with ‘Warriors’
By Shaun Fuentes (TTFA).
Two matches, played out in contrasting fashion and two tied results at the end of Friday night’s enthralling 3-3 draw between this country’s senior men’s team and Mexico.
Just over a month ago, T&T rallied from two goals down steal a late 4-4 draw with “El Tri” but on Friday it took a stunning 84th minute strike from Hector Herrera to complete a Mexican comeback from two goals down before just over 20,000 pro Mexican fans at the Rio Tinto Stadium.
Despite conceding late, the “Soca Warriors” would leave the stadium with a burning sense of pride as they more than held their own against the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup champions and had the partisan Mexican crowd quiet for long periods in the encounter. Stephen Hart’s men made another statement to its fans and its upcoming CONCACAF opponents in 2018 World Cup qualifying.
“It was a performance and a result that left me leaving the venue pleased tonight,” Hart told TTFA Media.
“I thought at times we looked very organized. We were a bit indecisive at centre back a couple of times but other than that we looked very organized. I was really pleased with Glenn and how he put in a lot of work all along. We went on top but it was a great goal to tie it up. Overall I’m satisfied,” Hart added.
Both teams played without some regular starters with Kenwyne Jones and Sheldon Bateau missing for T&T while Javier Hernandez and Andres Guardado was on the bench for Mexico and Jesus Corona who signed recently with Porto and Giovani Dos Santos were not in the team. The game though had all the ingredients of a proper contest.
T&T settled quickly, causing Mexico to appear almost edgy at times and their fans were left stunned in the 7th minute when Keron Cummings’ attempted shot at goal took a deflection and fell nicely for Jonathan Glenn who made the far post run to neatly head home for 1-0 T&T lead.
“It was just the start we wanted. What it did was showed us that we don’t have to chase an opponent like Mexico everytime we play them and this kind of start would help us realize this. And going 2-0 up, despite them scoring just before the break was a good thing for us,” T&T head coach Stephen Hart said.
Ahead 1-0 up against Mexico and you would more than likely expect the team ahead, in this case T&T, to now have to weather the storm but that was not the case this time.
Mexico just couldn’t seem to get a foot in the door as Hart’s men remained solid, composed and were in no mood to be pushed around.
Mexico did have their moments but it would be T&T who surged further ahead. Glenn, making his first start for T&T, earned his match fee with a clever challenge on Oswaldo Alanis that won the ball on the edge of the box before playing over for an awaiting Cummings to side foot into the net. T&T were now up 2-0 in the 39th minute. A first time scoreline since the 4-0 win for T&T in the 1974 World Cup qualifier when Everald “Gally Cummings notched a double.
Mexico, playing its first game under interim head coach Ricardo Ferretti, would hit back before the break with Carlos Esquivel heading past captain Jan Michael Williams in the 40th.
Ten minutes into the second half, Mexico would level the scores when Raul Jimenez’s shot was headed into the net by T&T defender Daneil Cyrus.
T&T never lost control of their game and didn’t allow Mexico to pull away neither. Chicago Fire’s Joevin Jones wiggled his way into the Mexican penalty area but couldn’t get his shot off before hitting the turf in what appeared to be a foul on the player. And then Khaleem Hyland directed his effort wide of the upright.
Jones would make amends in the 69th minute with a perfectly taken left footed free kick which left goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera flatfooted on his line.
Hart made some changes, bringing on Trevin Caesar, Mekeil Williams, Kevan George, Willis Plaza and Rundell Winchester in the second half.
Mexico began to pour forward in desperate search of the equalizer and would eventually get it with Herrara’s laser like strike into the top left corner past Williams five minutes from time.
T&T will now look ahead to the October 8th international friendly away to Panama while Mexico faces Argentina in Dallas on Tuesday. T&T begins its 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign on November 13th against either Antigua/Barbuda or Guatemala and will then host United States on November 17th.
Video: - Hart's Post Match Reactions after 3-3 draw with Mexico in Utah