Mexico was held to a 1-1 draw against Jamaica on a rainy Wednesday night at Independence Park in Kingston, Jamaica, in the CONCACAF Nations League.
Mexico showed personality to come from behind on the road in Kingston in their second of four CONCACAF Nations League group matches. The result leaves El Tri with the ground to make up in the standings in the upcoming set of games in September.
At the beginning of the match, the Caribbean team took advantage of an oversight by Jesus Gallardo in the marking and, at the fourth minute, took a 1-0 lead through a header by Leon Bailey on a pass from Shamar Nicholson. Aston Villa forward Leon Bailey split two Mexico defenders and powered a header from Shamar Nicholson’s cross into the back of the net.
From that point on, Jamaica was better positioned on the pitch of the National Stadium in Kingston against an uncoordinated opponent that lacked the ideas to go forward.
Nicholson hit the crossbar before 10 minutes with an effort that would have doubled the hosts’ advantage before Mexico gradually began to control possession and find a foothold in the game.
Perhaps the most crucial thing for Mexico were the set pieces they were able to generate, as they managed to even the score at 1-1 in the 48th minute of action.
Luis Chavez slipped the ball from a free-kick to Luis Romo, who headed the ball past goalkeeper Andre Blake.
In the second half, the team coached by Paul Hall came close to retaking the lead after a bad save by goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota. The ball was left to striker Nicholson who shot towards goal, but Luis Romo and Kevin Alvarez were able to clear the ball agonisingly.
As for Mexico, they could generate little danger due to the lack of connection between their midfielders and strikers.
Substitutes Diego Lainez and Erick Sanchez were particularly dangerous as Mexico pushed for the winner, but none came, and the match ended in a draw.
Another determining factor in the result was the heavy rain that prevailed in Kingston.
With this result, Jamaica consolidated its position as leader of Group A with five points, one more than Mexico.
The result marks the eighth time in Mexico’s last 11 matches in which it scored one goal or fewer, adding more pressure for manager Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino ahead of the World Cup. Romo admitted the team has to be better.
“In the second half we got stuck,” goal scorer Romo said after the match. “I think we deserved a bit more.”