El Tri comes up short against Brazil in final friendly before Copa América

Loss of concentration just 4 minutes after tying the match costs Mexico a draw
Mexico spent a lot of time chasing the ball against Brazil, but nearly managed to escape with a draw. In a friendly played in College Station, Texas, El Tri lost to Brazil 3-2.
Mexico spent a lot of time chasing the ball against Brazil, but nearly managed to escape with a draw. In a friendly played in College Station, Texas, El Tri lost to Brazil 3-2. / Omar Vega/GettyImages

Just when it appeared Mexico had salvaged a stoppage-time draw against Brazil despite a slipshod performance, a terrible defensive lapse allowed 17-year-old Endrick to play the hero for the Seleção.

Four minutes after Guillermo Martínez came up with a spectacular equalizer, Brazil found itself with a free kick wide right of goal. The centering pass was deflected to the opposite sideline where Vinicius Junior tracked it down with two defenders in hot pursuit. Then both defenders retreated giving Vinicius a free look into the box to pick out a teammate. And he did just that.

With three El Tri defenders in the area and just one Brazilian, Endrick drifted into the box unnoticed and had time to prepare for Vinicius’ cross, casually nodding the winner inside the far post.

The relief Mexico might have felt after erasing a 2-0 deficit dissipated quickly and coach Jaime Lozano will have a long list of items to address before El Tri’s Copa América opener on June 22. The 3-2 loss might not have been so hard to swallow after the lousy outing against Uruguay, but a lapse in concentration late in a match is never acceptable.

Another nightmare start for El Tri

After Wednesday’s embarrassing 4-0 loss to Uruguay, El Tri fans were hoping Lozano’s first-choice line-up would fare better against Brazil.

Instead, it was déjà vu all over again.

Five minutes after the opening whistle, Mexico found itself picking the ball out from its net after a brilliant rush by the South Americans.

Starting in his own end, Savinho took off on a long, diagonal run with several Mexicans chasing, and found Andreas Pereira free at the top of the box. After collecting the ball with both El Tri central defenders scrambling to get into position. Pereira calmly stepped around Edson Álvarez, then paused to allow Johan Vásquez to slide by before ripping a shot past the helpless Julio González. Too easy.

Mexico managed to recover a measure of poise, and put together a few decent moves forward. In minute 20, Gerardo Arteaga let fly from distance, forcing a sprawling save from Alisson Becker. 

But overall, there were too many stretches where Mexico looked slow, hesitant, sloppy and technically deficient (poor trapping, artless passing). El Tri showed little by way of alternative tactical ideas and was incapable of completing passes in its offensive third.

Another gut-punch, then a reaction

Mexico made it to halftime in decent shape. Despite several threatening moves forward, Brazil was unable to get another shot on goal. But that changed less than 10 minutes after the restart.

After swinging the ball from side to side during a long possession, Brazil struck suddenly. Right fullback Yan Couto made a quick run down the right channel and defender Eder Militao chipped a perfect pass over left fullback Gerardo Arteaga who was late in reacting.

Couto stutter-stepped around Johan Vásquez then cut back a pass into the path of Gabriel Martinelli who, unmolested, toe-poked it into the net. It was just Brazil’s second shot on net but González knew nothing of either.

In minute 72, Luis Romo stole the ball as Brazil tried to dribble out of its own end. The Monterrey midfielder pushed it ahead to Uriel Antuna on the right sideline and the winger quickly fed Alexis Vega racing through the right channel. Vega zipped a low cross through the 6-yard box that Julián Quiñones met at the back post, knocking it into the net. 

Four minutes later, González made a fantastic save on Vinicius Junior who had just subbed in. Vini made a diagonal run past Vásquez, took a pass from Endrick and fired a low shot that the El Tri goalie blocked to keep Mexico in the match. 

Three minutes into stoppage time, late-game sub Guillermo Mártinez tied things up. Martínez banged a corner kick toward goal that Alisson Becker dug out and sent spinning away. The Pumas striker  chased down the rebound and ripped a low shot from a sharp angle past Alisson at the near post.


Unfortunately, Mexico didn’t have much time to savor the draw.  Instead, coach Lozano will have to go back to the drawing board. And he has no shortage of issues that he'll need to address.