Stats show Salcido still has it
The problem with relying too much on statistics to analyze national team performance is that pesky snag of sample size. In a usual year, national teams will play about 15-20 games and managers will use a variety of lineups, all of which often make it difficult to make too many assumptions based on such numbers. There simply aren't enough games to make sweeping judgments.
But that doesn't mean the information is useless. Individual game statistics can give us a better understanding of which players played well on a particular night and that can be used to judge which players have earned more playing time in future national team games. Using OPTA statistics provided by ESPN Stats and Information, let's see what we can glean from Mexico's 3-1 win against Venezuela last week.
1. Center back Hugo Ayala played even better than how we thought
After Wednesday's match, we gave Ayala a solid 7 rating for his deft defensive play on the back line. The stats proved our point and then some. He led Mexico in completed passes (59), tackles (5), and clearances (3). Mexico's next leading defensive tacklers on the field were center back Edgar Duenas and left back Carlos Salcido, both of whom had just one.
For a full next-level breakdown of Mexico's most recent performance -- and complete access to the El Tri blog -- become an ESPN Insider.