Alan Pulido (pictured) celebrates after scoring the only goal in Mexico's win over Iceland in an international friendly in Las Vegas, Nevada, on February 6, 2017. (Photo: Victor Straffon/Straffon Images)
LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Mexico opened its 2017 campaign with a 1-0 win over Iceland in an international friendly on Wednesday in front of 30,617 fans at Sam Boyd Stadium.
The victory extended the Tricolor’s unbeaten streak to seven games, conceding only three goals over that stretch.
The largest-ever crowd to watch a football match in Las Vegas saw Alan Pulido net his fifth career goal in the 21st minute, when he headed home from the edge of the six-yard box off Giovani dos Santos’ left-sided free kick.
Since the match was played on a non-FIFA date, both sides were without a majority of their biggest names. As a result, Mexico handed debuts to rising stars Luis Reyes and Edson Alvarez, each of whom entered as substitutes for Jesus Gallardo (46’) and Jesus Molina (60’), respectively.
Alvarez, a 19-year-old defender for Club America, is on Mexico’s roster for the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship that starts later this month.
Mexico had other scoring opportunities, but with shots from outside the box, Molina went wide left in the 11th minute and forced a save from goalkeeper Frederik Schram three minutes after the break.
An unmarked Hirving Lozano should have notched an insurance goal in the 83rd minute, but his header from five yards sailed over the crossbar.
The Mexicans will next meet visiting Costa Rica in a World Cup qualifier on March 24.
February 8, 2017: Sam Boyd Stadium – Las Vegas, Nevada, USA (Att: 30,617)
Mexico-Iceland 1-0 (1-0)
Alan Pulido 21’
Mexico: Alfredo Talavera; Nestor Araujo, Oswaldo Alanis; Rafael Marquez (Hugo Ayala 52’), Jesus Molina (Edson Alvarez 60’), Orbelin Pineda, Hirving Lozano, Alan Pulido (Elias Hernandez 76’), Giovani dos Santos (Raul Lopez 46’), Jurgen Damm (Luis Montes 65’), Jesus Gallardo (Luis Reyes 46’). Head Coach: Juan Carlos Osorio.
Iceland: Frederik Schram; Orri Sigurdur Omarsson, Hallgrimur Jonasson, Aron Sigurdarson, Aron Elis Thrandarson (Arni Vilhjalmsson 77’), David Thor Vidarsson, Kristinn Freyr Sigurdsson (Aron Sigurdarson 77’), Bodvar Bodvarsson (Kristinn Jonsson 77’), Vidar Ari Jonsson (Adam Orn Arnarson 85’), Kristjan Floki Finnbogason (Oliver Sigurjonsson 54’), Sigurdur Egill Larusson. Head Coach: Heimir Hallgrimsson
R: Jair Marrufo (USA); AR1: Frank Anderson (USA); AR2: Corey Rockwell (USA); 4th: Baldomero Toledo (USA)