Mexico’s winless run stretched to six matches as they fought back from two goals down at half-time to draw 2-2 with Costa Rica in Orlando.
After a disappointing group-stage exit at the Copa America, coach Miguel Herrera had been seeking an immediate response as his side – made up of an entirely different squad to that which had competed in Chile – turned their attention towards July’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.
However, the first of two warm-up friendlies for arguably their more favoured continental showpiece initially failed to go to plan, as Mexico were dismantled in the first half by a vibrant Costa Rica side.
Deportivo Saprissa forward David Ramirez was their tormentor-in-chief, scoring the first early on and then creating the second, as Miguel Layun put through his own net nine minutes before half-time.
But within 10 minutes of the restart, Mexico were level, as first Giovani dos Santos scored from an angle and then Javier Hernandez headed home a quickfire second.
And Mexico will count themselves unlucky not to have grabbed the win late at the Florida Citrus Bowl, with Layun denied the winner for offside.
Mexico, already under plenty of pressure following their early exit in Chile, looked ragged straight from the kick-off.
They were immediately pinned back by Costa Rica, who needed just four minutes to open the scoring.
When Mexico gave the ball away in midfield, Joel Campbell picked up possession and played in Ramirez down the right. He raced away from his marker and fired home from an angle, scoring through the legs of Guillermo Ochoa.
Real Sociedad forward Carlos Vela almost provided an instant response, but his shot from the edge of the area was straight at goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado after a free-kick had only been half cleared.
That was a rare moment of quality for Mexico in a frenetic first half, as Ramirez and Campbell continued to pull the strings.
The former forced a point-blank save from Ochoa when the ball was lofted back across the box to him by Bryan Ruiz, before the pair combined again when Ramirez was released on the right – although this time his pass across the box was just in front of Ruiz.
The pressure continued and 12 minutes before the break Ochoa was scrambling again as Johan Venegas unleashed a driven effort from 30 yards that flew just wide of the post.
The second goal duly arrived three minutes later, with Ramirez involved again.
Campbell once more dissected the Mexico defence with a precise pass – down the left channel this time – and when Ramirez squared back across the box, the hapless Layun could only divert the ball into his own net under pressure from Venegas.
Mexico needed a lift, and whatever words Herrera delivered at half-time clearly had an effect.
Dos Santos burst clear on the right and beat Alvarado with a shot across his body within eight minutes of the restart, before Hernandez was equally clinical two minutes later with a powerful header following Carlos Esquivel’s cross from out wide.
Costa Rica were shellshocked but continued to pose a threat of their own, and after 72 minutes Cristian Gamboa fired over the crossbar from the edge of the box.
But it was Mexico who had the best chance to clinch victory late in the match, with Layun hitting the back of the net in the 84th minute after a flowing passing move, only for the assistant referee to raise his flag in a tight call.
Mexico face Honduras next in a friendly on Wednesday, while Costa Rica – on a five-game winless run of their own – will turn their attentions to the Gold Cup as they prepare to play Jamaica on July 8.
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