Despite draw v Jamaica, Mexico coach Diego Cocca needs time

MEXICO CITY — To be fair to New Mexico manager Diego Cocca, he said there would be some initial problems. His words ring true after Sunday’s 2-2 home draw against Jamaica.

During a press conference ahead of the CONCACAF Nations League game, Cocca said of the beginnings of his new job: “We will make mistakes without a doubt. There’s no chance of everything working out with three to four days of training, three to four days of being together, but what I want to see is an ironclad belief.

In front of over 65,000 fans in the Estadio Azteca, Cocca would not have thought that things would go so badly. In his second game in charge and in his first home game at the Mexico City venue El Tri limped to a tie that narrowly qualified them for the knockout rounds.

Even before the first whistle of a game temporarily interrupted due to a thunderstorm, the energy was already tense and charged with occasional boos directed at Cocca during squad announcements. Why? Just days after beating Suriname 2-0 away on his debut, fans were frustrated that he failed to deliver a classic Gana, Gusta and Golea (roughly translated “win, entertain and score a lot”) against the Minnows.

That anger seeped through Mexico City, and the cheers grew louder after he conceded a goal against Bobby De Cordova-Reid in the seventh minute. Players like Guillermo Ochoa, Jorge Sanchez and later Raul Jimenez were singled out by some of those boos.

“People have the right to say what they want and to express their opinion on what they want. We are strong, we are committed and we intend to work and continue on our path,” Cocca said during the press conference afterward the game.

Winger Hirving Lozano took a different approach to expressing anger from fans.

“They have to support us, they have to be with us. No teammate wants to lose,” Lozano told TUDN. “The problem is that sometimes the media is the one that influences that, the relationship between the fans and us.”

Not wanting to be left out of the protests, the weather voiced its own concerns after pouring out rain and lightning. Although Mexico would bounce back with a well-timed finish and a goal from Orbelin Pineda that made it 1-1 in the first half, a furious and thunderous bolt of lightning shook the hall just after Edson Alvarez scored an own goal in the 32nd minute , giving Jamaica an amazing and unexpected 2-1 lead.

Luckily for Mexico, protests from heaven were enough to temporarily halt play a minute later, giving Mexico some much-needed relief. Strengthened with a break thanks to Mother Nature, El Tri reacted and leveled the goal line again after Lozano scored from the penalty spot in the 47th minute.

That’s how far Mexico’s luck stretches. With a total of 25 shots and an xG of 3.04 (compared to Jamaica’s xG of 0.6) El TriThe attack of became increasingly frustrated as great chances were wasted and others just couldn’t hit the target.

Despite this, Cocca remained positive after the game.

“We created, I think, between 14 and 18 goal situations… we ran right and left. We tried everywhere and the team kept the intensity,” said the manager. “So that gives me the opportunity, or reassurance if you will, of knowing we’re on the right track.”

The same cannot be said for the fanbase, who grew more angry by the minute without a game winner.

As is often the case when things don’t go the way Mexico do, two offensive instances of goalie chants against homosexuals surfaced in the final stages of the game as Cocca’s frontline struggled to find the back of the net. With the score at 2-2, the stadium’s PA took matters into their own hands, playing music for every kick from Jamaica goalkeeper Jahmali Waite.

The Mexican Football Federation was fined and banned from fans for a game for discriminatory chants by fans at the World Cup in a FIFA competition, a situation that continues to haunt the national team.

What was supposed to be a celebration of a new era under Cocca instead felt like a bleak event when the referee blew the final whistle.

The weather was undoubtedly a factor, with some players having poor first touches, but that doesn’t excuse the poor passes Mexico played in dangerous areas for Jamaica. On the defensive, lone mistakes were a definite setback for Cocca’s squad, and at certain moments the players looked almost at a loss as Jamaica intercepted balls and sprinted forward into dangerous areas.

Perhaps most worrying for Mexico was the finishing. Almost as if former coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino had never left, there was the usual and almost predictable pattern of Mexico doing almost everything right in attack until they either had to hit the target or deliver the right final pass.

As for Cocca, it’s to blame for not figuring out how to properly win the game with his tactical adjustments, but it also has to be recognized that he didn’t have enough time to really make an impact. With an expanded squad on the international break that allowed him to look down on a long list of players, it shouldn’t be controversial that he split the group into a younger side against Suriname and an experienced side against a more difficult Jamaica.

As highlighted by the squad selection with a strong majority of the players involved in the last World Cup, Cocca does not want to start a revolution. Just as he thrived with Atlas through back-to-back Liga MX titles in the 2021 Apertura and 2022 Clausura, the Argentine coach is one who values ​​pragmatism and caution. Tactically, this moderate approach was also evident as he eschewed his usual three-man defense and instead stuck to the four-man formation favored by the previous coach.

Overall it was an ugly performance and a near-disastrous result, but Cocca hasn’t had enough time to make his mark yet and deserves the benefit of the doubt. For what it’s worth, he also seems happy with what he’s seen so far in his first few weeks.

“I’m happy with the unity of the group, with what was done on the field, with the number of goals we created,” said Cocca, smiling occasionally. “I’m with them, I’m with the players”

However, the honeymoon, if there ever is one in Mexican football, may soon be coming to an end. The list includes an April 19 friendly against the United States to further hone his methods before he has to dive into the Nations League semi-finals and Gold Cup this summer.

With an unconvincing win and an unexciting draw, he just narrowly misses his first international cap. Teams won’t be so forgiving in the coming competitions if he doesn’t implement his methods to avoid some of the mistakes seen against Jamaica. Despite draw v Jamaica, Mexico coach Diego Cocca needs time

Emma Bowman

Emma Bowman is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma Bowman joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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