If you like El Tri, you have to appreciate the fact that Mexico plays a lot of men’s soccer friendlies right here in the U.S.A.
So it goes for the next week as the Tricolores opened a three-match trip Sunday in New Jersey against Wales. Mexico goes to Chicago’s Soldier Field next for a match with Bosnia-Herzegovina on Thursday night, then finishes up its World Cup qualifying warm up against Brazil next Sunday afternoon at Cowboys Stadium.
The Wales match went as well as expected, Mexico dominating an average European side with a pair of goals from Aldo De Nigris and firing away at the goal against a tired and embattled Welsh backline.
Wales was fortunate to have lost only 2-0. It hardly challenged on offense.
Of more importance to Mexico and its fans are the questions head coach Chepo de la Torre hopes to answer with regard to his roster for all-important World Cup 2014 qualifying. Matches begin June 8 in CONCACAF, and Mexico is the favorite to secure the top spot coming out of the North American region.
Expectations are always high in Mexico for El Tri, but with the recent success of the Mexican soccer federation’s younger teams (U-17 and U-23, the latter which is headed to the London Olympics) those expectations should rise.
It’s hard not to get excited. De la Torre gave forwards Giovani Dos Santos and De Nigris the start on Sunday, and the pair played very well. Attacking midfielder Andres Guardado and English Premier League star Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez didn’t even play; both are on the roster and could see action before the week is out.
With midfielder Pablo Barrera and forward Oribe Peralta from the Mexican First Division champions Santos Laguna, El Tri has a lot of offensive firepower on display. And of course, the team could call in other attacking players for the qualifiers who aren’t at the friendlies.
Mexico figures to be in Brazil with perhaps its best World Cup team ever. But they have to dominate the competition in their qualifying group, and it all starts this week with the gearing up.
With forward and midfield looking strong, the coaching staff’s focus could be on defense, where Rafa Marquez and Carlos Salcido are there to lead.Severo Meza played a very good right back Sunday.
De La Torre is going to have some difficult choices to make on his roster, but at least he has these three games to evaluate the full squad and see how the puzzle pieces fit together.
It’s an interesting mix of young talent and veterans that Mexico hopes will mesh well for when it counts.