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Mexico got their first win of the Hexagonal stage of World Cup qualifying Saturday and made it clear that the “Aztecazo” is a thing of the past, and that the Azteca is again an impenetrable fortress.

Despite all the media hype surrounding Nery Castillo, Mexico seemed to brush off the negativity and play their game. It seemed the team might be divided following the comments that Castillo made against the media on Wednesday. Everything was the complete opposite, however, as Mexico played as a group and even celebrated as a group, as the punctuated their goals in “steamroller” fashion. The fans were also surprisingly on Castillo’s side as chants came barreling down asking for Castillo.

The players believed in Sven-Goran Eriksson’s style of play. The manager was the first person Omar Bravo hugged after his goal. The team looked coherent and had possession or the major part of the game. The absence of key players did not seem to affect them as everyone stepped up and played their part in the win.

Goalkeepers

Guillermo Ochoa 7
- Ochoa made his World Cup qualifying debut in the match. He did a great job of earning the shut out. Guardado had key saves and was all over his box. Ochoa was barely tested in the first half. He turned in a stellar performance in the second half. Ochoa was even applauded at times by fellow goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez during his 90 minutes.

Defenders

Ricardo Osorio 6 - Osorio was barely tested and when he was, he kept his own. The Stuttgart defender seemed to play more above the midfield than in the back. That seemed to be Sevens tactics as a lot of the other defenders went above their lines. Osorio played for 79 minutes and was subbed for Jonny Magallon.

Aaron Galindo 6 - Galindo anchored the back well. He had very little action but was vital for the Mexican defense. He had a good clearance in the second half against a Costa Rican player. Galindo played all 90 minutes

Leobardo Lopez 6.5 - Lopez committed the first foul for Mexico and left Costa Rica in a good place for a set play. Fortunately for Mexico nothing came off that play. Lopez also did an excellent job on the Costa Rican striker Andy Alexander Furtado, leaving him little space to work from. Lopez went the distance for Mexico.

Fausto Pinto 5.5 - Fausto Pinto was the most absent payer in the field for Mexico. Costa Rica only had one front man during the first half so not a lot came for the Mexican defense in the first half. Other than that Pinto and Lopez were the ones staying back and they did a good job for the most part. Pinto played all 90 minutes.

Midfielders

Pavel Pardo 8 - The 32-year-old America man had a great game. The Mexican captain and man of the match had control of the game from the first minute. Again the midfielders were clogging up the lanes for Costa Rica and Pardo was a big part of that.  Pardo also caused a penalty, took it, and made it. It was clearly not a penalty but the 32 year olds experience paid off as he took a dive and the referee bit on it. Pardo played all 90 minutes to give Mexico the win.

Leandro Augusto 5.5 - Augusto went the distance for Mexico but again failed to get into the game. The Brazilian born midfielder again failed to create much in the offensive side. Augusto was solid though, in the defensive part of the game.

Fernando Arce 6.5
- Arce had some problems keeping up with Costa Rican winger William Sunsing. Sunsing was slipping through Arce in the first half with no problems at all. Arce though bettered himself for the second half. He took a more offensive approach and looked better in the second half. Arce played all 90 minutes.

Andres Guardado 7 - Guardado again did not disappoint for Mexico. He looked a little rusty in the beginning of the game. But his game just picked up from there. He had brilliant filtered crosses and even with two players on him at times, he was still able to make plays. Guardado would have benefited if he would have played with someone like Omar Arellano - his passes were sometimes too long for the slow-footed duo of Vuoso and Bravo but the speedster Arellano would have gotten to them. Guardado was subbed for Gerardo Torrado in the 79th and received a standing ovation as he left the field.

Forwards:

Vicente Matias Vuoso 6.5
- Vuoso played a key part in Mexico’s first goal. It was a give-and-go play with Bravo and Vuoso executed it perfectly. The pairing of Vuoso and Bravo seemed to work again as they created opportunities in the first half. The second half saw Vuoso drop down a bit but he gave a good through ball to Pardo, which resulted in a penalty in favor of El Tri. Vuoso was subbed for Omar Arellano in the 87th minute.

Omar Bravo 7 - Bravo opened up the scoring for El Tri today. He got a pass from Vuoso shot the ball and was deflected by goalkeeper Ricardo Gonzalez. Bravo though did not give up on the play and put the ball in the back of the net. He had several other opportunities to score but failed to do so. Other than those opportunities Bravo was not in the game as it was being played on the left flank and he was on the right. Bravo played all 90 minutes.

Substitutes

Jonny Magallon 4.5 - Magallon came in for Osorio in the 79th minute just to close out the game. He did a good job to close it out and basically getting his feet wet for this match as he might start against Honduras on Wednesday

Gerardo Torrado 4.5 - Torrado came in for Guardado in the 79th minute. Sven would likely like to rest Guardado more thus bringing in Torrado.

Omar Arellano 4 - Arellano should have been brought in earlier when Guardado was still in the field as it would have complimented each others game. Arellano came in for Vuoso in the 87th minute.

Sylvestre Adame, Goal.com

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