Mexico vs Curacao preview: El Tri nearing a spot in the Gold Cup knockout round

Mexico vs Curacao preview: El Tri nearing a spot in the Gold Cup knockout round

Get ready for more of Juan Carlos Osorio’s infamous rotations.

With four points in hand after two matches, Mexico’s manager is expected tinker with his roster during Sunday’s final group stage game against Curacao.

Despite the fact that Osorio is currently suspended from the Gold Cup tournament, that hasn’t stopped the methodical and meticulous coach from having a massive impact in every game. Even though his assistant Luis Pompilio Paez is running the show on the sideline, it’s easy to see the Osorio influence in not only the starting XI, but the substitutions as well.

Keeping in mind that Osorio has rested key players against undaunting opposition in the past, fans should expect a number of changes for Mexico this weekend. How many will be made? One never knows with the predictably unpredictable Colombian.

Regardless of the roster that is presented, there is no reason why El Tri shouldn’t gain a victory against a Caribbean side that has yet to score in this year’s Gold Cup. That said, will it be as simple as we all expect it to be for Mexico? Will the result be enough to secure an expected spot at first place in Group C?

Along with our usual preview and predictions, we once again have the privilege to invite Nathan Carr, who will provide us with his thoughts on Curacao.

Key to success for Mexico

Hernandez: It’s all about developing more creativity and urgency in the attack. Against Jamaica, El Tri was caught playing cautiously going forward. With the Reggae Boyz sitting far back, it wasn’t that much of a surprise to see Mexico stumble to a 0-0 draw.

On Sunday, Curacao will likely use that game as a blueprint and will sit back with several numbers back in the defense.

This means that the attack must take more risks and be more proactive moving forward with possession. If not, El Tri might shuffle to another unexciting draw, or perhaps even a historic loss.

Key to success for Curacao

Carr: Not expected to win this game as more pressure on Mexico, so they can play with relative freedom and go out and express themselves in front of what I’m sure will be a noisy crowd. Try to use speed down the wings and tighten up at the back, as they’ve been defensively susceptible in their two games

Mexican player to watch — Erick Gutierrez

Hernandez: After missing out on a spot in the starting XI during both of the group stage matches, Gutierrez is easily one of the names that is deserving of 90 minutes against Curacao. The intelligent and well-rounded 22-year-old has the talents to dominate the midfield and emerge as a leader for El Tri.

With many of Mexico’s first-team options being given a break after the Confederations Cup, now is the time for Gutierrez to step up and shine for the national team.

Curacaoan player to watch — Leandro Bacuna

Carr: Some readers will already know of Bacuna from his English Premier League appearances, and he has the ability to make driving runs from midfield and pick out teammates with both short/long range passing. Rangelo Janga can also be a handful up front — gangly striker who puts himself about.

Predicted score

Hernandez: I’ll go with an entertaining 4-1 win for Mexico. El Tri’s attack will easily find the back of the net but I’m still unsure of that backline that will probably have a few changes. I’m tempted to say 4-2.

Carr: Mexico will want to improve upon what was a poor showing against Jamaica last time out, so I’m going with them to win 2-1.

Predicted starting XI for Mexico

Hernandez: Nobody knows with Osorio, but I’ll go with another 4-3-3.

Miguel Fraga in net, Luis “Chaka” Rodriguez as the RB, Cesar Montes and Hedgardo Marin as the two central defenders, Alejandro Mayorga with his debut at LB, Jorge “Burrito” Hernandez as the DM, Erick Gutierrez and Rodolfo Pizarro as the two attack-minded midfielders, Angel Sepulveda on the right wing, Orbelin Pineda on the left wing and Erick “Cubo” Torres as the lone striker.

Predicted starting XI for Curacao

Carr: Room, Gaari, Jakoba, Lachman, Justiana, Mulder, Bacuna, Nepomuceno, Antonia, Hooi, Janga. Worth noting that Cuco Martina has left camp to sign with Everton at club level.

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