Top Dog vs. Underdog Ends In A Draw…
by Luis Eduardo Flores
Finally, the leaders of Group C met in order to determine who will top the group. Mexico came into NRG Stadium with two plenty of momentum after victories over Uruguay and Jamaica. Venezuela themselves came in with the same amount of momentum. A team that was expected to finish in either 3rd or 4th place brought their A-game against the CONCACAF powerhouse.
From the start of the match, Venezuela did not hesitate in starting off with attacking efforts. To the surprise of everyone, Venezuela scored at the 10th minute mark, with a bicycle kick by Jose Manuel Velazquez (following a free kick). That excellent timing and execution shocked Mexico and the fans. If only Mexico had that same timing and execution, they could have scored five goals in their previous game.
Thanks to the heroics of Jesus Manuel Corona, Mexico got the goal to tie the game. “El Tecatito” outmatched three defenders to find the back of the net. Was he filled with the spirit of the legendary Hugo Sanchez? It might just be the developing talent of the young buck.
While this wasn’t Mexico’s best game, it’s worth noting that they took Venezuela seriously. Had Mexico treated them as a 2nd tier team, Venezuela was going to secure the victory with more than just one goal.
Venezuela’s Del Valle, Penaranda, and Velazquez were the shining stars of the team. Their control and accuracy made them continuous threats to the Mexican side.
Credit has to be given where credit is due. Venezuela’s performance has been spectacular. You have to admit, somewhere inside of you, it’s fun to see an underdog team turn the tables on a “superior team”. Costa Rica showed us just that in the 2014 World Cup.
For the time being, it looks like Venezuela will be forced to push their limits against the presumptive winner of Group D; Argentina. Messi and co. should not underestimate Venezuela. At this point, it’s safe to say that Venezuela will not be intimidated by the 14 time Copa America champions. Mexico gets a very anticipated Copa America rematch against the “Red Ones”.
To sum up the current results, the CONMEBOL Titans are collapsing thanks to their own hype. The road to championship gold is getting cleared, with the chances of seeing a brand new champion becoming greater.