Is the USMNT European Pipeline a Problem for Mexico?

With both nations announcing their rosters, many were quick to point out the makeup of each side. It started a discussion about the leagues where the players are currently at. With twitter user @xGoalsMX pointing out that Mexico has more (4) MLS players in camp than the USMNT (3). A much larger discrepancy was evident in the number of players in the “Top 5 European Leagues” with US Soccer having 16 players to Mexico’s 5. The question has to be asked, do these numbers indicate Mexico is behind US Soccer in producing quality players for their national teams?

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Dream Season for Raul Jimenez

Raul Jimenez had a bumpy start to his European career. It started with him receiving just 4 league starts in his first season with Atletico Madrid and scoring 1 goal. His estimated $12m transfer seemed like a bust for the Spanish giants. He was sent to Benfica and experienced some success but was never fully trusted to lead the line for the Portuguese giants. Jimenez never started more for than 8 league games or saw more than 1,000 league minutes in any of his 3 seasons in Portugal. Although he did reach double digit goal totals in 2 out of the 3 seasons, he wanted more responsibility than being a super sub. A Mexican striker in Europe in wanting to be more than a super sub, sound familiar?

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Raul Jimenez Blossoming in England

Art by Louise Cobbold

Coming into the season, there were a lot of questions whether Raul Jimenez could establish himself as a starter for the newly promoted Wolves. In his 3 seasons in Portugal, Raul only had 20 league starts while coming off the bench 60 times. He never reached 1,000 league minutes in any season or had more than 7 league goals. Many expected him to flop and end up back in Mexico by the summer of 2019. Fortunately for him, he has taken advantage of his opportunity.

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September Callups and Beyond

How many of them will be in Qatar in 2022?

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.

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