Herrera strike propels Mexico to win over Paraguay

Eduardo Herrera (pictured) strikes for the goal that gave Mexico a 1-0 win over Paraguay in an international friendly on March 31, 2015, in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. (Photo: Mexsport)

KANSAS CITY, Missouri – An early goal by newcomer Eduardo Herrera was all Mexico needed on Wednesday night to defeat Paraguay 1-0 in an international friendly before 38,114 fans at Arrowhead Stadium.

The victory was Mexico’s sixth in seven outings as it prepares to compete later this year in the Copa America and the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Herrera struck spectacularly in just the third minute.  Juan Carlos Medina lofted a left-sided free kick to the edge of the six-yard box, giving the Pumas forward time Herrera to slip behind the Paraguayan defense and hit the back of the net with a high, outstretched right foot.

The 26-year-old had a second goal disallowed just minutes later, when he gained possession of a quickly taken free kick by Paraguay deep inside its own end and slotted the ball home from 16-yards out.  Referee Walter Lopez called it back, appearing to rule that Herrera did not give the required 10 yards of space.

Mexico head coach Miguel Herrera retained only defender Diego Reyes to a side that defeated Ecuador three days earlier.  Goalkeeper Meliton Hernandez and midfielder Jesus Dueñas went the entire way in their international debuts.

The game was marked by physical play with 43 fouls called and cautions being issued to eight players, including five to Paraguayans.

Richard Ortiz had the South Americans’ best chance just before the break, but his header off a corner kick hit off the crossbar.

Mexico returns to action on April 15 against the United States in San Antonio, Texas.