Mexico began their Gold Cup title defence with an easy 3-1 win over El Salvador at Qualcomm Stadium here. Prior to the match, the entire squad was only responsible for eight global goals, and with the added setback of the injury to Chivas striker Alan Pulido during El Tri's friendly with Paraguay, many wondered where the offensive threat would come from.
This is a problem that Osorio must fix before the World Cup, because as we saw against Germany during the Confederations Cup, defending directly after losing possession is Mexico's Achilles' heel.
Mexico's third came in the 55th minute after another great feed from Hernandez. Jesus Gallardo whipped in a floating cross and Elias Hernandez - unmarked at the back post - volleyed the ball into the net.
Once the third goal was scored, the match ended up being a training session, where Mexico worked on possession and movement of the ball.
Mexico and El Salvador are in Group C alongside Curacao and Jamaica.
Mexico is holding most of its top players out of the CONCACAF Gold Cup and now it will play the 12-team tournament without its coach as well after Federation Internationale de Football Association suspended Manager Juan Carlos Osorio for six games on Friday for his actions in the third-place match of the Confederations Cup last week in Russia. Three minutes later, El Salvador's Bryan Tamacas had another chance, while just before halftime Ayala had to make a last-ditch tackle with Mexico's defense outnumbered. It was all leveled after 10 minutes of play. It's not just that teams with more quality than El Salvador will take advantage; it's that sides better equipped to wait for Mexico's mistake and hit on the transition will be licking their lips with anticipation.
Did it work? Mexico got the result in a pressure game but perhaps the fact assistant Pompilio Paez brought on Jesus Molina and Orbelin Pineda off the bench at halftime told the story of Mexico's midfield not being as solid as it should have been in the first 45.
The game opened up more after the first two scores. El Salvador had their way on long balls and through balls in space, knocking on Corona's door on more than a few occasions.