SAN DIEGO — If ties could excite, it would be in the fashion that Mexico did on Kevin Àlvarez in the 94th minute against Cameroon. The Mexico fans at Snapdragon Stadium erupted with cheers as their team pulled out a 2-2 tie.
Mexico dominated the ball most of the match, while Cameroon controlled the scoreboard.
Cameroon got things started when Bryan Mbeumo received a pass in the box and then shot across his body, and with a slight deflection from Mexican defender Israel Reyes, scoring the first goal.
Mexico started pushing before half-time and finally got through when Reyes moved up to play as an extra striker. He received a pass and, between three Cameroon defenders, shot and nailed the game-tying goal.
A goal-keeping error by Ángel Malagon in the 61st minute led to Karl Toro Ekambi having an easy tap-in goal to put Cameroon ahead 2-1.
“(This game) shows us also that there’s a lot of things that we got to fix,” Cocca said. “Both of their goals were mistakes that we made.”
Chants of “Si se puede” rained down at Snapdragon Stadium by Mexico fans until the game-tying goal fell from Àlvarez.
While a tie in a friendly matchup sometimes is overlooked, for the schedule that Mexico faces in June, there is no such luxury. Every game is crucial.
“This helped a lot because it asked a lot of us,” Cocca said after the tie. “Were playing with a World Cup team. A fast team. A strong team, so it helped us get prepared.”
Mexico hasn’t been convincing in the new era of manager Diego Cocca.
This has been Mexico’s fifth match under Cocca, and unfortunately, they haven’t seemed dominant in any of those matches. He is now 2-1-2 as a manager.
Some of the lineups and call-ups he has used thus far have been questionable, but it is not all on him.
The identity of these teams is still unknown under Cocca because he doesn’t have a set list of players he can count on, and he took over when players were still in Europe and everyone was fighting for championships.
They beat Guatemala last week but found difficulties against their previous four opponents and, in all fairness, probably should have lost Saturday night.
Mexico has a rough schedule as they face the USA in the CONCACAF Nations League Semi-Final on Thursday, June 15th. This won’t be the same USA team Mexico tied with in April. It is going to be a tough matchup.
Ten days after the semi, they will begin Gold Cup action against Honduras, who always play them tough.
The month of June is going to be tough for Cocca’s squad. The Mexican manager’s squad must be convincing because the one thing Mexican fans are not known for is patience.
They booed him after they lost to Suriname after his first game as the manager. There were some slight boos heard at Snapdragon Stadium at times Saturday night.
Cocca and his team need to rack up some convincing victories against some top opponents, and it starts Thursday against rival United States. If not, the noise will get louder.