Juan Carlos Osorio Deserves to be Praised

Some might question Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio’s tactics and methods but the fact of the matter is that Osorio is proving himself more than worthy of the Mexico job given recent results.

At least that’s what the statistics say about Juan Carlos Osorio…

A quick look at the current Hexagonal table tells you all you need to know about how Mexico currently stack up against their CONCACAF opponents. At the moment, Mexico are undefeated in the Hexagonal stage of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying after four games. Moreover, El Tri have only conceded one goal, against the United States, in those four games while scoring five along the way to the top of the Hexagonal table.

Additionally, Mexico have been undefeated since the horrific 7-0 loss to Chile in the 2016 Copa America.

Mexico fell 7-0 to Chile in their Copa America quarterfinal clash (Photo: The News International)

Mexico are currently leaps and bounds ahead of where they were four years ago under the stewardship of current Santos Laguna manager “Chepo” de la Torre. El Tri were only able to gather six points from their first four games en route to the 2014 World Cup. Ultimately, after several managerial changes, Mexico were able to qualify for an intercontinental playoff against New Zealand after finishing the Hexagonal with 11 points. Rather amazingly, Mexico managed to finish the fourth round of CONCACAF qualifying with two wins and three losses. The team’s only two victories came against Jamaica away and Panama at home in the Azteca.

This time around the situation is remarkably different. Mexico have managed so far to gain 10 points from their first four matches and are only a point away from matching their points total from their previous attempt in Hexagonal stage. Perhaps what is most impressive however, in the aftermath of Mexico’s loss to Chile, is that El Tri was able claim a 2-1 victory over the United States in Columbus, Ohio, something which had, up to that point, served as a sort of dark cloud looming over the team. In fact, Mexico have failed to win a World Cup qualifier against the United States since the U.S. began playing their matches in Columbus in 2002. But all that changed in 2016 when Osorio led the team to a 2-1 win against their rivals in Columbus.

However, there is an aspect of Osorio’s games that is not reflected in statistics. While El Tri was able to claim all three points in their most recent World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Trinidad and Tobago, the team didn’t play well in either game. Sure, it’s true that Mexico were left without many key players such as Andres Guardado, Hirving Lozano, and Marco Fabian, but the truth is that the game against Trinidad and Tobago was a little too close for comfort for many fans of the Mexico national team. In fact, Trinidad might feel a little hard done by the referees in the game considering The Soca Warriors had a goal incorrectly called offside. This controversial decision ultimately helped Osorio’s men go on to win the match with a goal off a corner in the 58th minute by Espanyol Defender Diego Reyes.

(Photo: Express News)

In actuality, Mexico only received a handful of chances against a stubborn Trinidad side. And had decisions throughout the course of the game gone in favor of Trinidad rather than Mexico, the outcome may have been drastically different. This leads to one of Osorio’s biggest criticisms; his constant player rotations. Only four players: Chicharito, Hector Herrera, Miguel Layun and Araujo, started both games against Costa Rica and Trinidad and Tobago. The consequence of so many player rotations is the lack of cohesion and understanding between the players.

This lack of understanding was demonstrated against Trinidad and while El Tri were able to claim all three points the win was anything but convincing. Even so, it is difficult to ignore what Osorio has managed thus far with the Mexican national team. Even if he hasn’t won anything just yet his current record with Mexico hold promise. So far in his tenure as manager of Mexico, Osorio has led the team in 20 matches, only losing once. And, to be fair, the one loss, against Chile, was as devastating as losses go. Still, despite the loss, Mexico have won 16 matches and drawn three times under Osorio. Leaving the Colombian manager with a win ratio of 80%. A win ratio that would make even former England manager Sam Allardyce proud.   

Up next for Mexico are a series of two friendlies against Croatia and Ireland. These will come before a jam-packed summer where Mexico will be participating in both the CONCACAF Gold Cup as well as the Confederations Cup.