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Revelations Cup

Karla Nieto vs Linda Caicedo in the Revelations Cup 2023 (Photo Credit: Selección Colombia)

2023 Revelations Cup: Mexico won but what’s next?

The Tri Femenil won the Revelations Cup after a draw against Colombia. Stephany Mayor scored for the hosts, while Catalina Usme did it for the South Americans.

Pedro López couldn’t have expected a better start as Mexico’s coach. In this cup, his team faced three nations that are going to play in the upcoming World Cup, and they certainly showed they can compete against them.

It was definitely a surprise for many to see El Tri Femenil so disjointed in the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers and the fact that Concacaf might have six potential nations playing in Australia and New Zealand this July adds to the irony of the whole situation. Less than 24 hours ago, Haiti got its ticket, one of the two remaining, and Panama might join them if they win against Paraguay this Wednesday night.

Fans and journalists are trying to leave the frustration behind and surely so is the team. This Revelations Cup helped the players to regain some lost trust in themselves, and the coach for testing what works and what does not.

How did the players do?

The starting XI was different from the one we saw against Costa Rica. Ovalle, Nieto, and Robles got to start again but the coach decided to rotate heavily in the other positions. Among them was Nikki Hernández, who had the difficult task of covering the talented Linda Caicedo, and she a good job.

Hernández had a good defensive game, with 11 duels won only behind Scarlett Camberos, who won 17. Both were certainly busy during the entire game.

Nikki Hernández with the recovery- Source: TUDN

This is Hernández’s heat map:

Source: Opta

The entire team put on the defensive work and we could see two or three players usually surrounding a Colombian, trying to close down her pass lanes or to recover the ball. Karla Nieto was essential again for this matter. She not only helped in defense, but she was everywhere, the six-yard box included. Nieto has been, without a doubt, Mexico’s revelation in this cup.

Nieto almost scored with a header. Source: TUDN

This is Nieto’s heat map:

Source: Opta

“The General” is back

Another player who deserves a mention is Stephany Mayor. After two not-good-enough games, the public was demanding she shows up when the team needed her the most. This match was different, though. Mayor did show up and got to score the equalizer.

She also almost scores the winning goal in the second half, as you can see in the following video:

Source: RUDN

Fields to work on

Most of the players did a decent job during the Cup, with some expected ups and downs. Others, like Boyi Iturbide and Aylin Avilez, didn’t see any minutes. But the position that might have left Pedro López a little worried is the goalkeeper position. He put all three of them in different matches, starting with Itzel González against Nigeria, Emily Alvarado against Costa Rica, and Cecilia Santiago against Colombia.

All of them had their fair share of shaky moments, and Santiago’s mistake cost Mexico a goal from a set piece. Maybe the most reliable of the three is González but Nigeria didn’t put her under much pressure to be sure, and she hasn’t been that good at club level either. Another option is Chivas’ Celeste Espino who was initially called to camp but had to leave due to an injury. Therefore, Santiago took her place.

It will be interesting to see how this roster starts to shape up in the following months, once the players playing in NWSL are ready to go again. The most important tournament for Mexico this year will be the Central American and Caribbean Games in June. By then, we will have a real taste of what López can do with this national team but for now, they can rest up a little knowing they passed the Revelations Cup test.


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