Punchless Mexico headed home early; will Lozano remain on the job?

El Tri knocked out of Copa América after failing to score against Ecuador
Mexico coach Jaime Lozano (right) walks off the field with Luis Romo after El Tri was eliminated from the Copa América on Sunday night.
Mexico coach Jaime Lozano (right) walks off the field with Luis Romo after El Tri was eliminated from the Copa América on Sunday night. / Omar Vega/GettyImages

One goal in three games just isn’t going to cut it. And the inability to generate offense should have Jaime Lozano wondering if he’ll still have a job when El Tri returns to Mexico.

In another dismal Copa América display, Mexico came up short, this time managing only a scoreless draw against Ecuador, a result that eliminated El Tri from the tournament at the group stage.

Ref Mario Escobar had whistled a penalty in favor of El Tri deep into stoppage time, but VAR (properly) questioned the decision and the Guatemalan official changed his call, much to Mexico's chagrin. It was tough to take as Lozano's team had reason to feel aggrieved after a first-half handball was ignored by Escobar and VAR.

After Sunday's frantic finish in Glendale, Arizona, El Tri ended the group stage tied with Ecuador on 4 points, but trailing the South Americans on goal differential. Ecuador's reward is a quarterfinal match against Argentina.

Surprising Venezuela topped Group B after winning all three matches, while Jamaica came in last with 3 losses and a 1-7 goal differential.

Lozano will surely feel the heat since most pundits deemed this a winnable group for Mexico, even though the team came into the tournament having lost four of its previous six matches.

But the performances did not come close to matching expectations, and the Mexican Soccer Federation will have to do some deep soul-searching as the prospects of a glowing performance in the 2026 World Cup at home suddenly look rather dim.

Lozano will be fried for his roster selections, his line-up selections and his game management.

In Sunday's match, after an up-and-down first half that saw weak displays by Julián Quiñones, Luis Chávez and Jorge Sánchez, Lozano didn't make his first changes until minute 67. And then, he took off Orbelín Pineda and César Huerta in favor of Guillermo Martínez and Uriel Antuna who was a cipher in Mexico's first two games.

Lozano then waited until minute 86 before sending in his final three subs, demonstrating a lack of proactive thinking that has been a trademark of the coach's 14-month tenure, during which time he has compiled an unimpressive 10-4-7 record.

The coach also deserves criticism for tactical deficiencies, in evidence by the team's lousy 1.33 goal-scoring average since Lozano became the full-time coach in August of last year.

The Mexican Soccer Federation must take stock and decide if Lozano is the man to guide Mexico back toward respectability, or whether it is time to change course and push ahead with the oft-promised generational change that Lozano failed to see through completely.