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VeLA Watch: Carlos Vela comes off bench in Mexico comeback win

El Tri muster late rally in San Luis Potosi.

Soccer: Croatia vs Mexico Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Mexico are already in the 2018 World Cup, but they still didn’t rest on their laurels in Friday night’s CONCACAF World Cup qualifier against Trinidad & Tobago. The game, hosted in San Luis Potosi due to construction taking place at El Tri’s customary home of Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, turned out to be a 3-1 win for the hosts, but the game was not without drama.

Of local note, future Los Angeles Football Club forward Carlos Vela came off the bench just after the hour mark for Mexico, and what had been kind of a dull slog of a game came to life shortly thereafter. First, Trinidad & Tobago, already eliminated from reaching the 2018 World Cup, took the shock lead in the 66th minute, courtesy of a goal against the run of play from Shahdon Winchester.

From there, Mexico clawed their way back to equilibrium, before capturing the lead. First, Hirving Lozano knotted up the score in the 78th minute, with Vela posted at the goal line in case of any deflections. Then Javier Hernandez scored a scrappy go-ahead goal two minutes from stoppage time, before Hector Herrera put the exclamation point on the performance with a direct free kick goal.

So Vela wasn’t directly involved in any of the goals, but he did play a part in mounting the comeback to ensure Mexico remain unbeaten in the Hexagonal round of CONCACAF qualifying.

Mexico’s final game in the Hex is Tuesday in Honduras. The game won’t mean much for Mexico at this point, but Honduras will definitely be going for it, with their World Cup lives on the line. If Vela plays, let’s hope he doesn’t get kicked and tackled to the point of injury!

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