El Tri still can’t find the net, but Mexico U-21 can

El Tri Ecuador plus

“Tecatito” Corona had a glorious chance to open the scoring for El Tri in minute 13 but left-footed this shot directly at Ecuador goalie Alexander Domínguez. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

El Tri battled to a scoreless draw against Ecuador Sunday night, another inept offensive performance adding to coach Gerardo Martino’s woes as calls for his dismissal intensify.

Mexico created but one clear scoring chance, a brilliant move forward coming from a spot-on long ball down the left side that Jesús Gallardo flicked first time into the box only to see the opportunity wasted when “Tecatito” Corona fired directly at the goalie from 12 meters.

Gallardo nearly played the hero in minute 79, when he volleyed a corner kick from just outside the box, a left-footed blast that zipped barely wide of the right post.

Other than that, there was little to get excited about except in comparison to Thursday’s fiasco of a match against Uruguay in which El Tri was trounced 3-0.

El Tri punchless in attack

The less said about the Ecuador match, the better.

El Tri has been shut out in five of its 10 games this year, scoring more than once just three times (and their second goal against Nigeria last week was an own-goal). Overall, Mexico has scored eight goals in 2022 and conceded five, resulting in a 5-4-1 record.

That is certainly not the production expected from a team somehow sitting at No. 9 in the most recent FIFA World Cup rankings. It will be no surprise if El Tri tumbles down the list when the next rankings are released on June 23.

Instead of continuing with the lamentations, it’s perhaps more soothing to look ahead to the Nations League and the El Tri Kiddie Corps making waves over in France.

Coach Martino is expected to rely on the next generation of El Tri stars for the two Concacaf Nations League matches later this month. Mexico will face Suriname (June 11) and Jamaica (June 14), their two rivals in Group A. The two Caribbean squads played to a 1-1 draw on Saturday in Paramaribo.

The return legs of the Group A matches will take place in March 2023, after the World Cup, and there should be little doubt that the “rejuvenated” El Tri can put Mexico in a position to advance to the semifinals. Of course, whether or not “Tata” is still coaching El Tri is another question entirely.

The Mini Tri reaches Final Four in Toulon

Over in France at the prestigious Maurice Revello youth soccer tournament, Mexico’s Under-21 squad reached the semifinals where they will take on the hosts on Thursday.

El Tri advanced as the best second-place finisher after defeating Group B rival Indonesia 2-0 on Sunday behind goals from UNAM’s Jorge Ruvalcaba and Santi Muñoz of Newcastle United (by way of Santos Laguna).

The other semifinal pits Group B winner Venezuela against Group C winner Colombia. Both the third-place match and the final take place on Sunday.

Mexico finished third in the previous Toulon Tournament back in 2019 (the 2020 and 2021 events were canceled due to the pandemic.