After Mexico suffered their worst defeat in Mexican soccer history in an international tournament at the hands of Chile by the score of 7-0 in the quarterfinal of the Copa America Centenario, El Tri can only reflect and take the defeat on the chin.
The easy thing to do after such a lackluster and heartless defeat in such a stage is to put all the blame on head coach Juan Carlos Osorio. Of course, that’s what the Mexican media outlets will tell you, considering they’ve been chomping at the bit for Mexico to finally drop a game so they can point and go, “We told you his style doesn’t work.” For them, it’s easier to sell papers and discuss soccer when things aren’t going well. So luckily for them, Mexico has given them all the material they need for the rest of the summer to talk and banter.
Everyone to blame
Juan Carlos Osorio does deserve some part of the blame, but the players on the field need to be the first ones to raise their hands and say they let everyone down. This was supposed to be Mexico’s most talented team. Instead, when they were needed most, Mexico’s most important players wilted. Where were Guillermo Ochoa, Hector Moreno, Miguel Layun, Andres Guardado, Hector Herrera, and Chicharito Hernandez? They’ve all played in World Cups with Moreno, Hernandez, Ochoa, and Guardado playing in multiple cups. If Mexico holds on for a few more minutes they only go down into half down a goal instead of two, if they weather the first five minutes (FIVE MINUTES) of the second half they don’t go down 3-0 and are forced to throw everything but the kitchen sink at Chile. These are players who ply their trade in Europe, have won trophies, and have even won with Mexico. All the players must look in the mirror and come to the realization that they weren’t anywhere near good enough. No one had the care or the heart to grab the other players by the collar and say, “No More.” No one was embarrassed or frustrated enough to let their feels be known with a tackle. At least Rafael Marquez’s red card 14 years ago against the USA in the 2002 World Cup showed that he cared, that the defeat pained him. On Sunday, none of that was shown.
While the players decided to have the ultimate stinker of a game, Juan Carlos Osorio will still carry much of the blame. He should have some. Someone as smart and elegant as him will know the ramifications of the defeat. He must take a look at himself and wonder if he over tinkered throughout the tournament or tried to do too much in too little time. The leash will now be shorter than ever, but he should still be given time to work the process. Yes, Mexico wanted to win this tournament which makes the defeat even more painful. At the end of the day, their World Cup qualifying isn’t in danger or anything like that. Osorio is still only nine months in charge of Mexico and before the defeat, he had only drawn once and had not lost yet. He must be given the chance to show he can reflect and make the necessary changes with himself to show he is a coach whose pride isn’t too great to not realize his mistakes.
Federation to blame as well
Those who are asking for Osorio to resign should think again. Coaching at the end of the day is a fraternity, and as much as fans think that the Mexican job is a great one, if the FMF gets rid of Osorio after only 9 months and goes through ANOTHER hiring process, no quality, high profile coach will want the job. What quality, top level coach will want to a job where after the first sign of trouble their job is on the line? No one. There’s a reason the likes of Marcelo Bielsa and others wouldn’t take the job. The owners of the Liga MX clubs who also run the national team need to take responsibility as well. If you put the blame on Osorio, that lets off the people who hired him in the first place. They have as much of a say as anyone with the national team. Ricardo LaVolpe, who coached Mexico from 2002-06 raised his hand to coach Mexico during their last vacancy, but Chivas' Jorge Vergara wanted none of that.
For a proud soccer nation and fan base, the defeat hurts and it will linger. No single win will erase what happened on Sunday--the pain won't go away overnight. The federation, the coach, the team, and the fanbase will have to deal with the defeat head on and know that their next chance at redemption won't come until next summer’s Confederations Cup, but most likely it won’t happen until the 2018 World Cup.