Mexico and Ecuador each played their last game before beginning their summer tournaments: the biennial Gold Cup for Mexico and the quadrennial Copa America for Ecuador.

Mexico played the first game of their four-year deal between the Mexican Nation Team and its partners to play at AT&T Stadium through 2022 with the hopes of turning North Texas into a focal point for the team and fans alike.

The Game

Mexico lined up in the usual 4-3-3 under Gerardo “Tata” Martino. There were moments in the match that the 4-3-3 looked more like a 4-2-3-1 with Dos Santos and Guardado playing behind Montes.

Mexico Lineup
Mexico Lineup vs. Ecuador Photo:

Ecuador started a different version of the 4-3-3 under Hernan Dario Gomez also known as “El Bolillo” but there was a fluid change into a 4-1-4-1.

Ecuador Lineup
Ecuador Lineup vs. Mexico Photo: Ecuador Nation Team

Mexico came out with the desire to put on a show for the Dallas fans. Mexico was the more dominant team as they opted to play the ball up the middle and then provide service to the wingers. Ecuador had its moments on the counterattack as Mexico was slower on the transitions. Both teams had good attacking moments as Mexico was able to open the scoring as Jonathan dos Santos made a short run up the middle of the field and took a strike from around 25 yards with his right foot.

The curse of AT&T Stadium claimed another Mexican as Hector Moreno came out with an injury in the 35th minute. Ecuador would also have shots on goal, but none were a serious threat to Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa. The first half finished with the score being level at 1-0 in favor of the Mexicans.

The intensity was kept up throughout the entirety of the second half. Mexico continued to be the more threatening team, but Ecuador was able to create quick and threatening attacking moments. Both teams exchanged goals back and forth which kept the voluminous number of Mexican fans at AT&T Stadium on the edges of their seat. Ecuador got their first goal of the even from a free kick taken by Angel Mena.

Mexico regained the lead thanks to the skill of a Luis Montes freekick from the left side of the box.

Ecuador was quick to respond with a goal of their own off of a corner kick that found the head of Aytron Precoado which leveled the score once again.

It was Mexico that came away with the win as Luis “Chaka” Rodriguez volleyed the ball from close range.

This is the 4th straight win out of 4 games for Mexico under new manager, Gerardo “Tata” Martino while Ecuador remains winless in 2019 through 4 games.

Thoughts & Takeaways


Tata Martino took this last friendly as a final chance to try different players in different roles before the start of the Gold Cup. With Mexico being one of the favorites, if not the overwhelming favorite, to win the Gold Cup, ending the last game on a win was ideal.

Mexican defender Carlos Salcedo felt the same way saying, “At the end of the day, I think that the most important thing is that the team got the win and it’s better to start an official competition with a win than with a tie or a loss.”

Something that will help Mexico in the Gold Cup is being able to adapt during a game and throughout the Gold Cup run. Mexico adapted numerous times throughout the game when it came to their attack. In the opening 30 minutes of the game, El Tri opted to play the ball along the backline and move the ball up through the midfield. Once the ball was in the final third, the ball was played out the wingers who aimed to cross the ball to Jimenez and the late runs that Dos Santos and Guardado made. Later, Mexico was able to utilize the skill and experience of Luis Montes to create chaos in front of the box which freed up space for the advanced attacking players.

Simple runs and quick passing proved to be effective (though slow) in the middle third of the match. The finals 30 minutes, Mexico took their foot off the gas pedal just a bit but displayed their verticality through the flanks and cutting into the middle of the field when needed to pull Ecuador out of position.

As with El Tri, the attack has always been a strong point for the team, but Mexico was called out on the counterattack. While the home side wasn’t scored on from direct play, that was more of a result of the poor finishing from Ecuador than quality defending from the Mexicans. Mexico was slower on their transitions and moving the ball around effectively.

Martino shared, “I can say that the way we played was our worst game of the four we’ve played because we were imprecise playing out. Even a little slow in the circulation.”  These are some things that Martino and his team will want to work on in the final days leading up to their start of the Gold Cup.


Ecuador held their own throughout the match and despite the scoreline. They put on quite a defensive performance against a strong Mexican attack. Can that defensive performance carry over against teams like Argentina and Brazil who will be relentless on the attack? If Ecuador can fix up some of the positional issues with the midfield when it comes to the defense, then Tricolor fans won’t have to worry about that.

One of the strong points for Ecuador was how fast they got up the field on the counterattack. Having speedy players in along the front line is only an added bonus. Again, if the midfield is able to combine well with each other to support the attack and create chances and not only commit numbers, then Ecuador can have a chance of doing well in Copa America.

Tournament Outlooks

While Ecuador is not a favorite to win Copa America, they will have to navigate through the group stage that has Japan, Uruguay, and Chile. With Uruguay being the favorites to win Group C (and a favorite to win the tournament), Ecuador will need to try to find results against Chile, who are the defending champions, and a respectable Japanese side. Exiting the group stage will be seen as a success for a team that has the potential to be a competitive side in CONMEBOL.

Mexico is a favorite to win the Gold Cup each tournament and this edition is no exception. “I don’t need to see the team or the quality of team [to know that] Mexico is a usually a candidate [to win] in the Gold Cup,” Tata Martino said. “The absences don’t change my thinking and we have to keep taking on the role of being the candidate or one of the candidates and play like one of the contenders.”

Mexico will play against Cuba, Canada, and Martinique and are likely to win the group. For Mexico, it will be key to remain focused after having 4 wins against 4 South American teams and having scored at least 3 goals in each of those games. The veteran players on the team will be helpful to the younger guys with remaining focused. It’s important to not take any team lightly and to play a convincing style of soccer that will not only get results but to play with a style that fans will be proud of and can relate to.

The Gold Cup begins on June 15th and ends on July 18th. Mexico begins its journey against Cuba on the first day of the tournament. The Gold Cup will be televised on Fox Sports (English) and Univision (Spanish).

Copa America begins on June 14th with the final taking place on July 7th. Ecuador’s first game takes place on June 16 against Uruguay. The Copa America will be televised and streamed on Telemundo (Spanish) and streamed through ESPN+ (English).

Featured Image: Nico Mendez/Dallas Sports Nation
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