SAN JOSE, Calif. – A well-drilled Mexican Under-20 team proved too much for a selection of Major League Soccer’s best academy talent on Wednesday, triumphing 2-0 at Avaya Stadium in the third annual Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game.
Mexico winger Luis Marquez netted both goals in the final 12 minutes of the first half to help the young El Tri side become the first team to win a Homegrown Game in regulation.
Mexico largely controlled the proceedings and created more dangerous chances despite being out-possessed over the 90 minutes, but the Homegrowns will likely feel unlucky on both goals. In the 33rd minute, Marquez broke into the left side of the MLS box and was brought down by Coy Craft for a penalty that Marquez converted himself. Goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez looked to have gotten his body in front of the shot, only to see it deflect into the goal.
Marquez would then score on an in-swinging free kick from the right-hand side of the field that went untouched in the box before bouncing in at the far post right at the stroke of halftime.
Though Mexico edged the first half, forcing Gonzalez into three saves, the Homegrown side was not totally bereft of opportunities. Craft found some space on the right side of the box only to drive his shot right at Mexico ‘keeper Abraham Romero in the 10th minute.
The best chance of the half for the Homegrowns came in the 42nd minute, when Jay Chapman stepped up in midfield and delivered a through ball to Toronto FC teammate Jordan Hamilton, who dragged his shot wide.
The second half picked up right where the first half left off, with Mexico pressing the advantage in possession against a team that featured five players who did not start the game and another three that came in just past the hour mark.
Mexico’s Andres Iniestra Vasquez stung the hand of freshly-introduced MLS goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau with a shot from just outside the area minutes after the restart. Two minutes later at the other end, LA Galaxy forward Jack McBean couldn’t quite connect with an open header on the other hand after a nice piece of skill from Tommy Thompson.
The Homegrowns would see more of the ball as the game wore on, with Mexico content to sit back on their two-goal lead. The MLS squad had a golden chance to equalize in the 74th minute when Raul Mendiola weaved his way through the Mexico defense only to sky his open look from close range.
Mexico would come inches away from adding a third goal 10 minutes after Mendiola’s chance as substitute Omar Islas saw his bouncing header come back off the post, but he and his teammates would still go home the happier of the two sides.
MLS Homegrown (4-2-3-1): Jesse Gonzalez (Maxime Crepeau 46’); Jalen Robinson (Tyler Adams 62’), Phanuel Kavita, Justen Glad (Aaron Guillen 46’), Tyler Turner; Jay Chapman (Danilo Acosta 46’), Zachary Herivaux (Christian Lucatero 73’); Coy Craft (Derrick Etienne 62’), Tommy Thompson (Jordan Morris 62’), Jordan Allen (Raul Mendiola 32’); Jordan Hamilton (Jack McBean 46’)
Mexico U-20 (4-4-2): Abraham Romero; Aldo Benitez (Ruben Dominquez 58’); Pablo Jaquez, Jose Villegas, Edwin Lara (Bryan Salazar 83′); Ian Arellano (David Avalos 46’), Jorge Escamilla (Cesar Hernandez 58’), Andres Iniestra ( Miguel Tapias 70’), Luis Marquez; Ulises Jaimes, Daniel Rios (Omar Islas 58’)