This game might be the least exciting rivalry game for me in years but it is still Mexico vs US. Although Piojo said Mexico needs to win, one look at the rosters and you’ll realize Mexico might be the underdog. While the core of Jurgen’s team has come back to MLS, Piojo’s core players mostly ply their trade in el viejo continento and not LigaMX.
Still, Piojo needs to evaluate the player pool to decide on 46 players to call up this summer for their 2 tournaments. He seems to understand that is where his priorities are and his callups reflect that.
Here are my things to watch for tonight:
The Back 3
Mexico’s back line features nearly 110 caps and 3 World Cups played. Maza accounts for the 3 WCs and nearly 100 of the caps. His 2 partners tonight are not as experienced internationally as him but both are in good form. Mier won a Gold Medal in London but injuries have kept him from cementing a spot on the senior team. He is still capable of being a solid international defender and should make the Copa America team this summer.
Carlos Salcedo is making his senior international debut but has experience playing for Mexico’s youth teams. His form this season has been key for Chiva’s revival. As I have said since the World Cup, Mexico needs new defenders to step into the senior team and Salcedo has the ability to do that this summer.
Torres has been somewhat of an afterthought for Chepo this season. He has mostly played in Copa Mexico games but has kept his form up in that competition. Lalo Herrera did well in his last game and grabbed an early goal. He provides Mexico with a different attacking dimension than the other forwards in the player pool. Piojo focused practice yesterday on set pieces, look for Mexico to try and find Lalo on the end of one. Both players have futures on the Senior team and this game will give them another chance to prove they belong.
This is obviously a money grab friendly on a subpar surface and its not taking place during a FIFA date. Arguably, US has its B team and Mexico has its C team. But both fan bases will throw all of that out the window once kick off happens. How each fanbase will react after those 90 minutes are up will be interesting. Klinsmann already has the US fans frustrated but a win against Mexico can go a long way towards calming them down. At the same time, a lackluster effort against a depleted Mexico squad will not help his cause. Piojo is not in the same boat but as the Mexico head coach, he is always under pressure. I think most fans understand the point of this friendly and will not put much stock into it either way. Unless Mexico looks terrible and loses 3-0 then fans will be looking into Marcelo Bielsa’s availability…..
— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) April 14, 2015