Mexico and their supporters would certainly like to see more of Carlos Vela. The Real Sociedad star made his first international appearance in more than three years Wednesday against the Netherlands, and scored two goals in the 3-2 victory at Amsterdam Arena.
Vela put El Tri up 1-0 early, and then took back the lead midway through the second half. Eight minutes into the rematch of the controversial World Cup Round of 16 duel, the 25-year-old forward put Mexico up 1-0 with a left-footed blast from outside the box to the top left corner off midfielder Hector Herrera’s assist.
Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder provided the equalizer, a stunning left-footed strike that looked to be sailing over the net but glided inside the top left corner, in the 49th minute. But Vela would respond in the 62nd, converting Tecatito’s perfect diagonal cross into another deadly left-footed goal in front of the net.
Chicharito would pour on the lead, cutting deep past the Dutch backline after accepting a Andres Guardado pass. The Real Madrid forward would then shake off goalkeeper Tim Krul in the box, and calmly deliver a left-footed shot in the open net for Mexico’s final goal.
Still, despite the elation of Vela’s return, the Netherlands refused to give in. Manchester United midfielder Daley Blind cut the lead to one in the 74th with another shot well outside Mexico’s box and away from goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa. The Malaga star recorded 10 saves on the day, and the Dutch could only prove effective from long-range.
Vela was invited several times to come back to the team, following an injury during the 2010 World Cup and a six-month long suspension, but it wasn’t until last week that supporters learned of his official return.
Mexico and manager Miguel Herrera certainly could have used Vela during the World Cup in Brazil earlier this year, especially in the Round of 16 versus the Netherlands. El Tri suffered a disappointing loss to the Dutch after a controversial penalty call was made late in the match, but Vela somewhat erased all those hard feelings with the 10th and 11th international goals of his career.
Over the last two years, Vela has netted 32 goals in 83 appearances for Sociedad, and before his hiatus he totaled nine goals in 35 appearances for Mexico.