SAN JOSE, Calif. – It was very obvious that Wednesday’s Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game meant a lot to Mexico U-20 midfielder Luis Marquez.
Moments after scoring the first of his two goals against the MLS Homegrown team, Marquez took the opportunity to channel his inner Cam Newton by “dabbing” to the Avaya Stadium crowd. The celebration isn’t typical of an exhibition like Wednesday’s, but it wasn’t just another game for the Mexican international.
“We had a winning mindset since we left Mexico,” Marquez said. “We’re a team that came together really well. I think we wanted to play man-to-man with a team that is bigger than us and we got the victory.
“It’s a tough feeling for me. There was a lot of time there were I wasn’t with the national team. And I think those two goals gave me a lot of satisfaction. And of course, Mexico-United States is a big rivalry and so you celebrate with everything you’ve got.”
Mexico left little doubt how satisfying it felt to post a 2-0 win against a Homegrown team that, while not officially clad in US national team colors, still represents the red, white and blue. For Marquez, who took home the game’s MVP award with his two-goal performance, the end result comes at a time when breaking into the national team roster, and the first team at Chivas Guadalajara, has its challenges.
“It’s a great feeling beating a US team on their home pitch,” Marquez said. “The MLS players played well. I think they also were in need of more time to train, to come together. It was the same for both teams. I think we [Mexico international players] are all prepared to play with different players at any time. I think that’s why it didn’t affect us as much. We had scoring chances and we took advantage of them.”
Marquez also said, to a man, his team came into the match looking to represent El Tri in a better light than the last time Mexico was involved an international game – a Copa America Centenario semifinal match that ended in a stinging 7-0 loss to Chile.
“This is a win for the entire team,” he said. “At the end of the day, we all make up the national team. It’s the same. Who wouldn’t like to represent their country, especially by scoring two goals?”