Mexico probably gave up more chances than they wanted to against Jamaica in their second Copa America Centenario Group C match on Thursday, but the fact that they were still able to come away with a 2-0 win and a quarterfinal berth is a sign of a quality team.
"It wasn’t the team's best game, but in front of adversity you have to know how to win," Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo "Memo" Ochoa told Univision after the match. "The team [Mexico] made some mistakes and lost the ball, which cost us on counterattacks, but this team [Mexico] has personality, character and it has soccer in it and it showed in the result. We’re a team that can score goals.”
"We're happy to get the win, although not totally satisfied for how things worked out," captain Rafael Marquez similarly echoed after the match. "Their [Jamaica's] chances were caused by us. We weren't precise enough coming out [of the back] with the ball ... They're a team that's physically and athletically superior to us and the speed they have was superior."
The complications that Jamaica would go on to cause Mexico with their pressure all over the field is something the players in green admit they saw coming.
"Without taking away anything from other teams, I personally think [Jamaica] was the most complicated rival that we've had in the last three to four games," said surprise starter, Yasser Corona, who featured as the last-man center back and had an important block in the penalty area in the 35th minute. "It's an athletic, physical and fast style [Jamaica's playing style], very much like English soccer. And we knew it would be complicated and tight.
"In our intent to play the ball, we would make mistakes with a pass or mistakes playing out of the back. And the opportunities for them would come up," Corona continued. "That's how the game played out. But luckily, everyone did their job when they had to, including Memo [Ochoa, goalkeeper] who had a great showing today. And each teammate lent a hand to keep the zero in the back."
Ochoa's most important defensive stops came in spectacular fashion with reflex saves in the 39th and 84th minutes. And the clean sheets of late, coupled with timely goals, are making for an impressive record under their new head coach Juan Carlos Osorio. His 8-0-0 mark at the helm now means that Mexico is on a current world-best 21-game undefeated streak.
"We have to keep working," defender/midfielder Miguel Layun told Univision after the match. "Each game we analyze the good and bad things and try to continue to correct errors. We'll try to make the Venezuela match [June 13; 8 pm ET] a match in which we go for the win."