It’s nearly time for Mexico’s September friendlies but the FMF still hasn’t hired a coach. The current rumor is Tuca will coach the September friendlies and October if no coach is hired by then. If I was a Tigres fan, I would not be a fan of Tuca going on loan to El Tri again. But this post is not about the FMF struggling to fill the manager position. It’s about who should get a call for the upcoming friendlies versus Uruguay and the US. The next World Cup is still almost 4.5 years away but the road starts now and its good to keep in mind who can contribute then.
The next meaningful game Mexico will play is next summer during the Gold Cup. Since CONCACAF never misses a chance to get more money, each Gold Cup plays a role in determining the federation’s representative at the Confederations Cup. Since the US won the 2017 GC as Mexico sent their A squad to Russia for the Confederations Cup, Mexico needs to win in 2019 to set up another big money CONCACAF Cup. If the US win, they’ll be in the Confederations Cup. With that in mind, who should we see in September and in the coming months?
Chuy Corona and Talavera will be over 40 by the next World Cup and need to be replaced in the player pool. Memo will be 37 and should be in Qatar, whether in a backup capacity or as Mexico’s number 1. That being said, you don’t need him for the upcoming friendlies. It would be a good time to get a look at other keepers and that would be hard with Memo in camp. I understand wanting a veteran keeper in camp, call up Corona or Talavera to fill that role. There are a few other keepers to call into camp. One keeper I would like to see get a call up is Gibran Lajud. He is 24 years and has started over 100 games for Xolos. Lajud has experience in the national team system playing for several youth national teams. If i had to pick a contender to over take Memo for the next World Cup, I would pick Lajud. A couple other keepers to keep in mind: Hugo Gonzalez (28yrs old) and Raul Gudino (22yrs old). Cota has been on the periphery of the National team for a couple of years and would be 35 by the next World Cup but should get another look this cycle.
Out of Mexico’s natural defenders in Russia (this excludes converted winger Gallardo), Edson Alvarez and Carlos Salcedo are the only ones under 30. So yeah, Mexico needs to incorporate fresh blood into the backline. El Kaiser has retired and will likely not feature for Mexico in 2022. Ayala, Moreno, and Layun will be in their mid-30s by Qatar. They can still help in 2019 but it would be foolish to count on them to contribute by 2022. Diego Reyes finally has a team and will be leaned heavily throughout this cycle but should stay in Turkey in September. Nestor Araujo has been with his new team since the summer and would probably jump at getting back with El Tri after missing the World Cup due to injury. Even though he’s only 24, this name still feels like a blast from the past: Antonio Briseno. He deserves a look with the senior team after a strong finish last season and strong start to this season with Feirense in Portugal. Cesar Montes will be 25 years old come Qatar. I know there are several CBs above him in the depth chart but the more he gets called into national team camps, the better. As for fullbacks? Hold an open try out to find natural fullbacks instead of continually playing converted centerbacks.
El Principito will surely keep adding to his 150 caps but he will be 36 by the next World Cup. Mexico was so reliant on him in Russia that Osorio allegedly played him even though he was banged up. Again, Mexico doesn’t have a coach but whoever takes the job will need to work on replacing Guardado’s production. Erick Gutierrez was his understudy in Russia and will hopefully get opportunities early in this cycle. Besides him, the rest of the World Cup midfielders have a good chance to make it to Qatar. Either way, it’s good to expand the player pool and get looks at others. Fabian was set to sign with a new club in Turkey but it has been called off. He might have to go back to a club that doesn’t want him. That’s a good enough reason to leave him off the call up list. Jona is coming off an injury and has had a rough season at LA. I know he has not gotten off to the best start with Monterrey but the sooner Pizarro gets back in the national team picture, the better. Govea just made his debut with his new club over the weekend but got sent off after 16 minutes. He should get a call to the senior team later this year after he settles in with his club. If the FMF decides to give any of the europeos time off, others who can get called up include Jonathan Gonzalez, Orbelin Pineda and Gallito.
Peralta has retired from El Tri and Gio has shown he cannot be relied upon with the national team. Chicharito will still be relied upon but with him playing few minutes on a bad West Ham team, it might be Raul’s time to take over as Mexico’s #9. I would still call up Chicha this window to get him minutes. As far as new recruits, Roberto Alvarado deserves a look. He will turn 20 when Mexico face Uruguay on September 7th. A couple appearances off the bench in the upcoming window would be a good test to see how he reacts being on the field with El Tri. Alexis Vega and the much hyped Lainez are a couple of other youngsters who can get a look. The lack of Mexican strikers is LigaMX is much talked about so the national team might need to call up players before they become automatic starters for their clubs.
Anyone else you want to see get called up?