SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 29: Guillermo Ochoa #1 of Mexico throws the ball during the game against Venezuela at Qualcomm Stadium on March 29, 2011 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images)

Mexico Vs. Ecuador 2011, International Friendly: Match Ends In 1-1 Draw

Mexico takes on Ecuador in Seattle as both teams warm up for the games that matter in Gold Cup and Copa America.

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Mexico Vs. Ecuador 2011: 1-1 Full Time, El Tri Dangerous, But Produces Disappointing Result

Mexico had some of their best players put in great performance this afternoon in Seattle, but thanks to one defensive lapse and some poor finishing, they were only able to come away with a 1-1 draw against Ecuador despite being the better team for 90 minutes. Jose Torres Nilo scored early on a set piece for Mexico, appearing to set the tone for a big win, but Michael Antonio Arroyo's 37th minute goal was the final tally of the evening.

In a friendly match ahead of a big competition, managers are looking much more for individual performances and chemistry than the overall result. In that respect, Chepo de la Torre will be happy. The midfield tandem of Gerardo Torrado and Israel Castro was outstanding, wingers Andres Guardado and Pablo Barrera were even better, and most encouragingly, Giovani dos Santos was very sharp off the bench.

That last point is most important, as Gio has not lived up to expectations so far in his career, while Sinha, the starter in his position, is 35 years old. The best thing that can happen to Mexico is a healthy and in-form Giovani dos Santos.

Aldo de Nigris was not sharp up top today, which is only mildly concerning given that Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez will start ahead of him in competitive fixtures. However, it is still a concern because Mexico has just two true center forwards on their roster, so it's bad news if one of the two isn't playing well.

Though they were outplayed, a slightly weakened, but still strong Ecuador side has some positives to take into upcoming friendlies and Copa America. Arroyo looked strong outside of his goal, while goalkeeper Maxi Banguera had a fantastic game. 

For more on this game and Mexican football in general, visit SB Nation's Mexican football blog FMF State Of Mind.     


Mexico Vs. Ecuador 2011: Giovani Dos Santos, Efrain Juarez Enter

Despite being two of the young golden boys of Mexican soccer, things haven't gone so well for Efrain Juarez and Giovani Dos Santos this season over in Europe. Both players have seen their club careers stall considerably in the United Kingdom with their club teams, Celtic and Tottenham Hotspur. Though Gio enjoyed a bit of a resurgence during a loan spell with Racing Santander in Spain, rumors have Juarez headed back to Mexico.

They've just come on as substitutes for Sinha and Ricardo Osorio in like for like changes, and in their opening minutes on the pitch both players look sharp. Gio is combining very well with Andres Guardado, and Chepo de la Torre will be thrilled to see it. Sinha is a solid stopgap No. 10 for one tournament, but Gio is the man that Mexico are relying on to become their No. 10, sitting behind and combining with Chicharito for years to come.


Mexico Vs. Ecuador 2011: 1-1 Halftime, Michael Antonio Arroyo And Jose Torres Nilo The Scorers

Mexico played very well in the first half of their international friendly match against Ecuador, save for one bad defensive lapse. That bad defensive last has cost them, while Maxi Banguera has been brilliant in goal for Ecuador. As a result, despite the fact that El Tri has been the better side, the game is tied up at 1-1 at halftime, with the goals coming from Jose Torres Nilo and Michael Antonio Arroyo.

Nilo gave Mexico the lead after just seven minutes, converting on a set piece opportunity. Sinha took a corner kick short to Andres Guardado, who swung in a cross. Hector Moreno won the header in the air and headed towards the back post, where Nilo tapped in the goal.

The equalizer came in the 37th minute, thanks to a brilliant strike and some lax defending. Arroyo was allowed to run for acres with the ball before unleashing a great strike at goal from 25 yards, beating Guillermo Ochoa without a problem.

Pablo Barrera of West Ham United has been the best player on the pitch so far, absolutely taking Monterrey's Walter Ayovi to school out on the wing. Even when Barrera has been double teamed he's gone through the defenders easily. United States fans and coaches are probably cringing at the thought of Barrera up against Jonathan Bornstein.

For more on this game and Mexican football in general, visit SB Nation's Mexican football blog FMF State Of Mind.    


Mexico Vs. Ecuador 2011: Michael Antonio Arroyo Goal Levels Match

Mexico has been the better side in the first half of their friendly against Ecuador, with Pablo Barrera looking like the best player on the pitch by a longshot, but Michael Antonio Arroyo of Ecuador has managed to turn the game on its head, scoring an absolute stunner to level the match at 1-1 when it looked like Mexico was sure to be the team who scored the second goal.

It was a very direct goal, with a long pass coming out of the back to start the move. Arroyo got onto the ball around 40 yards from goal and dribbled forward and to his right, setting himself up with a shooting opportunity. Mexico's defense was poor on the play and gave Arroyo entirely too much room. His strike was an absolute stunner from 25 yards out, giving Guillermo Ochoa almost no chance to make a save. Though, I'm sure the Mexican media will find a reason to blame him and write columns about how Luis Michel should wear the No. 1 shirt for El Tri.


Mexico Vs. Ecuador 2011: Jose Torres Nilo Goal Has El Tri Ahead

Mexico are off to a brilliant start against Ecuador, scoring a goal in the opening ten minutes to send their fans into raptures and give everyone confidence as they get ready to defend their Gold Cup title. Though Mexico are not well-known for their prowess on set pieces, they looked fantastic on their goal, as four players combined to create a great set piece goal that had more to do with timing and hard work than size and power.

Aldo de Nigris, in for Chicharito, created the corner when he had his shot saved by Maxi Banguera. The corner was taken short, setting up a cross into the box by Andres Guardado. Hector Moreno won the header, guiding it over Banguera towards the goal, and Nilo finished the job, tapping in a goal when the ball might have gone into the net without his guidance. The marking on the set piece was very poor from Ecuador, and they will be disappointed to let up an early goal in such an easy fashion.


Mexico Vs. Ecuador 2011: Lineups, El Tri Team Selection As Expected

Everything is as expected for Jose Manuel 'Chepo' de la Torre's lineup for the international friendly match between Mexico and Ecuador, as Aldo de Nigris starts up top with Sinha behind him. Other than the fact that Chicharito will be starting in place of de Nigris in most competitive matchups, this lineup is very similar to the one that they will use throughout Gold Cup. They will get a very strong test this afternoon against Ecuador, whose lineup looks very solid.

Mexico lineup (4-2-3-1): Guillermo Ochoa; Jose Torres Nilo, Javier Rodriguez, Hector Moreno, Ricardo Osorio; Gerardo Torrado, Israel Castro; Andres Guardado, Sinha, Pablo Barrera; Aldo de Nigris

Ecuador lineup (4-4-2): Maxi Banguera; Luis Saritama, Geovanny Caicido, Frickson Erazo, Neicer Reasco; Edison Mendez, Segundo Castillo, Walter Ayovi, Michael Arroyo; Christian Benitez, Jaime Ayovi

The game kicks off right after the UEFA Champions League final ends and can be seen in the United States on Univision.

For more on this game and Mexican football in general, visit SB Nation's Mexican football blog FMF State Of Mind.


Mexico Vs. Ecuador 2011, International Friendly: Preview, Looking For Momentum Headed Into Gold Cup, Copa America

Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez won't be playing tonight for Mexico, but that doesn't mean that the international friendly between Mexico and Ecuador isn't worth watching. This match was originally expected to have some overlap with the UEFA Champions League final, but such is the popularity of Chicharito that the game has been pushed back to allow for Mexican football fans to watch Chicharito (and Barcelona, who is extremely popular in Mexico), as well as their national team.

In Chicharito's absence, Aldo de Nigris of Monterrey is expected to start up top. He's also expected to be a regular late sub and Chicharito's primary backup in the Gold Cup and into World Cup qualifying, which will be a welcome change for a Mexican team that hasn't had much in the way of consistency up top in quite a while.

Ecuador has a number of players who ply their trade in the Mexican Primera, namely Walter Ayovi and Christian Benitez, who are widely considered to be legends in the Mexican game. They are among the players to watch on an Ecuadorian team that is mostly made up of players who play their football in Ecuador. They are also missing a key starter, Antonio Valencia, who like Chicharito starts for Manchester United in the Champions League final.

If you're looking for stars that could possibly be making a move from the Americas to a Europe in the summer, keep an eye on Juan Carlos Paredes of Ecuador and the aforementioned Aldo de Nigris. Both players are said to be happy at their current clubs, but a move to Europe could be in the cards for both.

Mexico will play a 4-2-3-1 and their first choice team includes Pablo Barrera and Andres Guardado on the wings with Gerardo Torrado and Israel Castro in the middle, but the No. 10 spot is not set in stone. The 35-year-old veteran Sinha is thought to be the current best option, but he is a one competition stopgap at this point in his career.

The match kicks off just after the Champions League final concludes from Qwest Field in Seattle, pushed back from its original 1 pm local time start to account for the overlap with the Champions League final.

For more on this game and Mexican football in general, visit SB Nation's Mexican football blog FMF State of Mind.

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