SANTA MONICA — LAFC’s Marco Ureña and Carlos Vela have a lot to offer their teams. Both were starters for their national teams, being two of 10 players to represent the MLS in the first round of the group stage play at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Vela had the best day compared to the rest. Aside from the Seattle Sounder’s Gustav Svensson, Vela was the only other player to find a win in the first round group stage. He helped his team find a steady pace that kept defending World Cup champions Germany off the board and helped provide time for Mexico to find its sole goal to win the game. Vela played for 58 minutes of the game as Mexico’s central attacking midfielder before subbing out with Edson Alvarez. Mexico ran in a 4-5-1 formation and focused on counterattack’s to control the game at their pace.
Alvarez’s appearance signaled Mexico’s transition to a more defensive focus to keep Germany out of the net. LA Galaxy’s Jonathan and Giovani dos Santos — brothers — dressed for the match but never made it to the field before the final whistle. Mexico is tied at the top of the Group F standings with Sweden. Each teams has three points each.
Meanwhile, Marco Ureña and Costa Rica battled against Serbia in its opening match. Costa Rica weren’t able to find the same outcome as Mexico. Costa Rica fought against Serbia, spending a large amount of time in a stalemate. Serbia found it’s opening in the 56th minute when team captain Aleksandar Kolarov curled in a free kick just beyond goalkeeper Keylor Navas’ reach. Ureña assisted Costa Rica’s offense, taking a few shots of his own as well as pushing the frontlines against Serbia’s backline. It wasn’t enough to break through the defense or slip one past keeper Vladimir Stojkovic.
Fortunately for Costa Rica, it has two more shots at getting out of the group stage. It won’t be an easy task though as Brazil and Switzerland stand in its way. A win against either team will propel Costa Rica into a tie with Serbia who leads with three points. A tie with just one of the teams would hand Costa Rica one point and push the other team to two. Ureña will be looking for back-to-back wins to help his team stay in the cup.
Omar Gaber did not play in either of Egypt’s World Cup matches. Egypt fell 1-0 to Uruguay and 3-1 to Russia. Egypt has zero points and sits above Saudi Arabia with a three goal deficit in group A.