Boyz face Mexico's new generation
SAN DIEGO (AP):
Jamaica, 2-0 winners over Curacao in their CONCACAF Gold Cup opener, are in action tomorrow night, facing the threat of Mexico's Elias Hernandez, who scored and had two assists in their 3-1 win against El Salvador on Sunday.
"He did great, important things for us," assistant coach Luis Pompilio Paez said of the 29-year-old forward.
Hernandez has never played in the World Cup since joining Mexico's national soccer team in 2010. He's doing everything he can to change that.
"We played well on the outside," said Pompilio Paez, who lauded Hernandez and Jesus Gallardo for playing different positions than usual.
Gallardo, working mostly at right wing, set up the first goal by earning a free kick after beating his defender.
Hernandez had success across the entire front line.
"That was the idea, to have him play on the outside and come inside," the assistant coach said.
Mexico opened the scoring eight minutes into the game on defender Marin's header off Hernandez's free kick. Taller than any El Salvador starter, the six-foot Hedgardo Marin found the upper-left corner.
Mexico created another clean look at the 29th minute.
This time, the 22-year-old Gallardo looped a pass to a waiting Hernandez, whose full-volley drive made it 2-1.
Hernandez created the third goal with a crossing pass. His initial target at the near post was unable to connect. But the roller got past El Salvador's goalkeeper, and Orbelin Pineda put it away for a 3-1 lead in the 55th minute.
The assistant coach said it was "very important" to open the tournament with a victory.
Mexico held out some of their top players, and still controlled most of the play after the early hiccups.
"That gives our group a lot of confidence," the assistant coach said.
Pompilio Paez praised the work of several less experienced, younger players.