Mexico cruised to a 2-0 victory against Costa Rica in World Cup qualifying, strolling to victory with goals from Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez and Nestor Araujo. Mexico never really looked in danger of losing this one, but what did we learn?
Chicharito is the consummate poacher
All it took was an instant. Costa Rica's game plan was clearly to sit deep and prevent Mexico from getting in behind their three-man (sometimes five-man) backline, but Chicharito's perfectly timed run in behind ruined those best laid plans. The best strikers just need one chance, and when Cheech is at his best, there aren't many in the world who can match his ability in front of goal. He tied Jared Borgetti for Mexico's all-time goalscoring lead, and it's inevitable that he'll take the lead at some point. It was disappointing to see him leave the pitch with injury, but hopefully it's not serious.
Costa Rica's defensive game plan fell apart early and it was downhill from there
Costa Rica set up with a defensive back three, that often turned into a back five on the night. The gameplan on the night seemed to be to sit deep and prevent Mexico from getting in behind, but that all fell apart just minutes into the match when Chicharito strolled through to open the scoring. From there, the Ticos were stretched thin the rest of the night from Chicharito's runs and Mexico's possession and ball movement.
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Keylor Navas was Costa Rica's best player
It's never great when your goalkeeper's your best player on the night. That was the case for Costa Rica against Mexico, and a fantastic night for Keylor Navas didn't matter because it was a better one for Mexico. Navas couldn't do much about Chicharito's perfect dink over him to open the scoring, but he pulled off a wonder save to keep the score respectable and at least give his side a chance to get a result. He tried so hard, but in the end it didn't even matter.
Jonathan dos Santos was quietly everywhere
Jona went about his business quietly and efficiently in Mexico's midfield. He got box to box, making tackles, closing players down, distributing and running, running, running from start to finish. It's always a risk going with the aging legs of Rafa Marquez in midfield, but with dos Santos and Hector Herrera surrounding him, it worked out pretty well on the night.
Nestor Araujo was a pillar
Costa Rica didn't have much going for them on the night, but the few chances they did get were pretty quickly snuffed out by Mexico's attentive defense. Nestor Araujo was one of the best of that bunch, and his towering header to put Mexico 2-0 up was well deserved for the effort he put in on the defensive end.
Carlos Vela shows just how good he can be when he's in the mood
You never know what you're going to get with Carlos Vela. On his day, the moody Real Sociedad winger can be an absolute world beater, and Friday was his day. His defense-splitting pass to Chicharito helped open the scoring for Mexico, and he was dangerous throughout. Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio will be happy to have Vela back in the national team fold.