The much maligned August friendlies are upon us. Every club manager’s worst nightmare. Clubs have made such a stink that FIFA will phase them out soon. In the mean time, lets just enjoy El Tri playing more home games in front of capacity crowds. If the game is within North America, I consider it a home game. Even at the World Cup, those games feel like home games for Mexico. Regardless of what continent it is on. Thus, is the power of the Mexico Brand. But back to the upcoming friendlies, El Piojo has picked a squad. Lets dive in to his selections.
- Guillermo Ochoa – Málaga
- Alfredo Talavera – Toluca
- Paul Aguilar – América
- Carlos Salcido – Guadalajara *** Withdrawing from squad
- Hugo Ayala – Tigres (Replacing Salcido)
- Francisco Rodríguez – Cruz Azul
- Miguel Herrera – Pachuca
- Oswaldo Alanís – Santos
- Luis Venegas – Atlas
- Jorge Torres Nilo – Tigres
- Hiram Mier – Monterrey
- Giovani dos Santos – Villarreal
- Miguel Ponce – Toluca
- Andrés Guardado – PSV
- Héctor Herrera – Porto
- José Juan Vázquez – León
- Antonio Ríos – Toluca
- Javier Aquino – Rayo Vallecano
- Rodolfo Pizarro – Pachuca
- Javier Orozco – Santos
- Erick Torres – Chivas USA
- Oribe Peralta – América
- Marco Fabián – Cruz Azul
The first thing I noticed was the formation. Herrera is sticking with his 5-3-2, for better or worse. He has shown a willingness to tweak his tactics from match to match. His system is not as rigid and stubborn as Chepo’s “tactics”. Mexico should continue to press and attack opponents in this formation. It makes it tough for certain players (out and out wingers) to fit in but i have faith Piojo can mold players to utilize his formation.
This is the type of call up list I expected from Herrera and I have a feeling he would have gone younger if Mexico were not playing Chile. The start of a new cycle means new players will need to be called upon and vets will need to be pushed aside. Personally, I’m excited to see Torres Nilo and Mier play. Torres Nilo was a mainstay throughout the 2014 WC cycle but his form crashed and so did his chances of being on the plane to Brasil. Hiram Mier got hit by the injury bug and missed out on Brasil. He has shown with Monterrey that his health is back. I see him working his way into Mexico’s back 3, especially if Reyes did not start seeing more minutes at Porto.
As most fans, I really wish Pulido would have his contract situation worked out by now but his omission is understandable. I agree with Tom Marshall, the omissions of Gullit and Conejito are surprising. I would have thought these games would be a good chance for them to improve and build upon earlier success with the national team. For now, they will have to change their form in LigaMX if they want to be called up gain. One person who does not plan on being called up again is Carlos Salcido.