The Tata Era of Mexican Soccer Is Off to a Good Start

Staff
By Staff March 26, 2019 14:59

The Tata Era of Mexican Soccer Is Off to a Good Start

Being the manager of a national soccer team is a thankless job. This can be especially true in a soccer-crazed country such as Mexico. Imagine then the pressure Gerardo Daniel “Tata” Martino is facing as El Tri’s new manager. As if taking over the reins of a national team is not hard enough, the expectations for this squad are quite lofty, particularly following last year’s relatively successful World Cup run. Mexico beat powerhouse Germany in the group stage, in what Mazatlán Messenger described as redemption for then-manager Juan Carlos Osorio. Mexico advanced to the knockout stage, before bowing out to perennial powerhouse Brazil.

Osorio is now gone. In his stead moving forward is Martino, who assumed the post this past January. Martino is the former manager of the Argentine and Paraguayan national teams, and most recently piloted Atlanta United to the MLS title in the U.S.. In the press conference announcing his acceptance of the Mexican national team job, Martino cut to the chase and stated a crystal-clear goal: Go beyond the quarterfinals (at the next World Cup). “I’m getting onboard with the objective of playing in the fifth match of the World Cup,” Martino said. “But before that, I want to put in place a system of play and a clear idea.”

El Tri gave Martino a rousing debut, pulling off a 3-1 victory over Chile at the SDCCU Stadium. The win snapped a three-match losing streak for Mexico in international competition, and looked like a portent of good things to come. El Tri started the match rather tentatively, obviously struggling to implement Martino’s preferred 4-3-3 high press. The manager had harped about instilling this style, however, and we did see a better version of it in the second half, when Mexico was far more successful at pushing a fast-paced, high-pressure match flow. This was on display particularly when midfielder Rodolfo Pizarro intercepted a pass and found winger Hirving Lozano free down the right side. Lozano lofted a delicate chip over the goalkeeper, giving El Tri its second goal in two minutes, and third overall.

Following a win like this, it’s fair to say that the future is starting to look bright for El Tri, which frankly seemed reenergized against Chile. Once they fully grasp Martino’s high-pressure, 4-3-3 style, the sky might just be the limit for the Mexicans. This won’t be borne out in a World Cup anytime soon, but there are other upcoming chances for the team to prove itself. Most notable on the 2019 calendar is the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Soccer prognosticators weighing in on current and future events will have every reason to pick Mexico as one of the favorites in this major international competition, the way things are looking. The Cup won’t be held until later in the year, and there’s a lot of development to go through yet between now and then. But a strong performance in this event is a nice early goal for the Tata Era.

In the meantime, the Chile victory has given us an early look at the promise of the Mexican team. El Tri seem to be grasping Martino’s preferred style already, and that will only mean good things moving forward as development continues. For his part, Martino has been quick to temper expectations. He’s noted that his goal is to lead Mexico to a successful cycle (as opposed to just a good result here or there). He was also, however, unable to contain his excitement over the potential he sees in his team, saying, “This team excites me, the future excites me.”

Fans of El Tri ought to be excited too.

Staff
By Staff March 26, 2019 14:59

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