Head coach Juan Carlos Osorio (top) has Mexico unbeaten with one game to go in CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. (Photo: Mexsport)
SAN LUIS POTOSI, Mexico – With less than 15 minutes remaining in normal time of its last home match in CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Friday, Mexico was down 1-0 to Trinidad & Tobago.
Although the Tricolor had already secured a berth at Russia 2018, it had not lost during the qualifying campaign and there was a desire to extend the 14-game unbeaten run.
Hirving Lozano ignited the comeback, leveling at 1-1 in the 78th minute. Ten minutes later, Javier Hernandez gave the host a 2-1 lead, and Hector Herrera added an insurance goal in the fourth-minute of stoppage with a brilliant free kick.
"In the second half, it was clearly in our favor,” said Mexico head coach Juan Carlos Osorio. “The most important thing is that in the last twenty minutes the team showed it has resilience, an ability to overcome adversity and there are few teams that can adjust like us.”
Osorio made three key substitutions, bringing on Lozano (56’ for Javier Aquino), Carlos Vela (61’ for Giovani dos Santos) and Oribe Peralta (70’ for Diego Reyes). That offensive blend made a huge difference.
"The prospect of changing the game system and the might in twenty minutes to equalize and go ahead on the scoreboard, I think it says a lot of the strength of the team, I mean the mental, and overcoming adversity,” Osorio commented on the personnel moves.
The 56-year-old Colombian also praised the supporters at San Luis Potosi’s at the Estadio Alfonso Lastras.
“I want to take the opportunity to thank all of the San Luis fans, not only for the reception, but the support felt during the 90 minutes of the game,” he finished. “Without a doubt, they were one of the reasons why the team had that comeback and the increasing intensity, feeling the support of its public.”
Mexico will complete qualifying play on Tuesday with a visit to Honduras.