While all the focus was on Rafa Marquez and his brilliant strike Sunday night at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Az., to lead Mexico past Uruguay to open Group C play in the 2016 Copa America Centenario, it was the play of another Mexico star that caught the eyes of a lot of people, midfielder Miguel Layun.
"It was a hard match today," Layun said following Mexico’s 3-1 victory to take the lead in Group C after the first day of group play. "We know that Uruguay is always like that. It’s always physical and we took the last 15 minutes to take the advantage and win the match."
Layun, who played last year for Portuguese club Porto on a loan from Watford in the English Premier League, scored five goals in 27 appearances with the club. Layun has made 33 appearances for the national team, and has scored three goals.
Layun had two steals in the match and had a 65 percent passing efficiency, completing 20 of his 31 passes in the match, and also took three of the team’s six corner kicks in the win.
Layun is a strong No. 7 for the Mexicans, who have been unbeaten now in their last 20 matches, and can tie the country’s all-time unbeaten streak with a win or draw against Jamaica Thursday in Pasadena, Calif.
Mexico knew the opening game of the group phase was going to be the toughest, and was probably going to decide who would top the group and most likely avoid Argentina in the quarterfinals in the tournament.
"Always important to start winning in a tournament like this," Layun said. "We knew that it was the most important match of this phase because if you start losing, the confidence is always in doubt."
"But if you start winning everything changes so I think we have a lot of opportunities to keep going."
What did you think of Layun's performance against Uruguay? Let us know in the comments below.