Mexico defeated El Salvador 2-0 and reaffirmed their lead atop the CONCACAF Octagonal standings. El Tri secured a valuable three points on the road, which raised their points total to 14. The United States and Canada have 11 and 10 points, respectively, and together with Mexico, have cleared a path to Qatar 2022.
Against El Salvador, Mexico head coach Tata Martino made eight changes to the team that defeated Honduras 3-0 on Sunday. Martino rested Raúl Jiménez, Héctor Herrera, Edson Álvarez and Jesús Corona, among others, and still Mexico controlled the match through possession and superior individual skill.
A 30th-minute goal from defender Héctor Moreno from a corner gave Mexico the lead. El Salvador were reduced to 10 men in the 48th minute when defender Mario Jacobo was shown a straight red card after taking down Rogelio Funes Mori. Jacobo was deemed to have denied Mexico an obvious goalscoring opportunity.
Even with eight changes made, the visitors were rarely bothered by the intense atmosphere at Estadio Cuscatlán. Mexico’s familiarity with Martino’s 4-3-3 system was evident. After three years under the Argentine manager, Mexico’s tactical approach is cemented. But when Mexico defender Néstor Araújo received a second yellow in the 67th minute, the match changed to a 10 versus 10 nervy affair with El Salvador regaining the momentum.
Yet, the underdog Salvadorans were unable to threaten Guillermo Ochoa’s goal. A 92nd-minute penalty by Jiménez ultimately allowed Mexico to escape with the three points.
Mexico will travel to Cincinnati, Ohio, on Nov. 12th to face the U.S. in a titanic top-of-the-table showdown.
(Photo: Marvin Recinos / AFP via Getty Images)