Mexico v Panama


Its put up or shut up time for Mexico. The same might especially be true for their manager, Piojo Herrera. Mexico has made it to the semifinals in controversial fashion but it will be for nothing if they cant advance tonight. They will face a Panama side that had to endure extra time and PKs. So what does Mexico have to do tonight to win? Here are my thoughts

Alanis is the only addition to the starting 11


Lets try it. The chances were being created but no one was able to score in the run of play. By the law of numbers, there’s no way Mexico can be that bad in front of goal tonight (can they?!). With Gio allegedly out, Piojo will keep Oribe and Vela up top. The relationship seems to be improving between the players and they’re learning to play off each other. With each player setting up the other against Costa Rica.  Fans are hoping the goals will come too.

Set Piece Defending

This will be Panama’s best way to score and Mexico is prone to lapses while defending set pieces. Maza needs to make his presence known in the box. Many have been critical of his GC but he will be counted on tonight. Mexico needs to be smart about limiting Panama’s free kick opportunities. No need to put added pressure on a beleaguered back line by committing silly fouls in dangerous areas.

Wing Backs

Layun and Aguilar have been inconsistent since the World Cup. With no other options behind them, Piojo keeps starting both but the production has just not been there in 2015. While both love to attack down the flanks, Piojo needs to stress the importance of getting back on defense. Whenever one of them fails to track back in time, it puts stress on Mexico’s back 3. It causes one of them to venture out to cover a wide area, leaving the back line exposed. Also, can we please not cross the ball into the box like we have towering forwards?

Hector Herrera

Donde estas? I agree with Piojo’s decision to keep HH in the starting 11 but Mexico needs something from the Porto star, otherwise it will feel like they’re playing 10v11. Guarado and Jona have done a great job this GC but Mexico needs a vintage HH performance

Tecatito Hype Train

I know fans are demanding he see more minutes but he is perfect as a super sub off the bench. His runs and 1v1s are even more effective against a tired backline. The last thing a Panamanian defender wants to see in the 80th minute is a fresh Tecatito coming right at him. Just ask the Costa Rican defenders…