Guillermo Ochoa had been the number one goalkeeper under Javier Aguirre for most of the manager's second tenure as national team manager. A star with Club America, Ochoa was waiting for the opportunity to take flight with the national team, and Aguirre gave him the opportunity.
Ochoa, however, did not show well against North Korea and gave reasons to leave the door open for competition in the goalkeeper spot.
In the 57th minute of their game against North Korea, Kum Choe Chol lined up a 25-yard shot. The ball dipped and swerved and bounced past Ochoa, who had the look of a second baseman who made a stab at a hard-hit ground ball but had it skip past him into the outfield.
Mistakes are part of the game, Ochoa insisted.
"It's not the first or the last time that will happen. That's the goalkeeper position," he told reporters after the match. "I'm not worried about it. That's happened before and it's going to happen again. With the goalkeeper, you're alone and the goal is right behind you and mistakes are magnified in this position. But I'm fine. There will be more games."
Ochoa led Mexico to four World Cup qualifying victories from August through October and helped El Tri claim a spot in South Africa. Ochoa, though, had not been called into Mexico's games against Bolivia or New Zealand as Jonathan Orozco and Luis Ernesto Michel had gotten the nod. Mexico had not been scored upon until the North Koreans did it.
Giving up goals is never easy no matter how they are scored, Ochoa said.
"You don't like to give up a goal, and not one like this," he said.
As for the goal, Ochoa said there was a simple explanation.
"The ball moved and it got away from me. That's it."
Still, as startling as it was the goal is not about to destroy his chances of a World Cup spot, he insisted.
"I have the upcoming games to think about. Coaches don't look at just one game," he said. "I have played many games before with the national team and my club. It's just a part of being a goalkeeper."
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