During Monday’s press conference in Mexico City, El Tri manager Juan Carlos Osorio outlined a few of the changes to expect for Tuesday’s World Cup qualifying rematch against Canada.
Due to injury concerns, Osorio stated that 37-year-old captain Rafael Marquez would be left out of the starting XI. The decision was made after a lackluster 45 minutes from the veteran in last Friday’s 3-0 win over the Canucks in Vancouver.
The Colombian manager was quick to praise the leader and influential member of the Mexican national team, but there now seems to be a good chance that Marquez’s days with El Tri will soon be over. Since returning to the Liga MX this season, “El Kaiser” has struggled to reach high expectations and highlighted his lack of mobility in last week’s win against Canada.
Although it seems likely that many other starters will also be benched, it does leave Marquez’s role with the national team up in the air — especially with the Copa America and Olympics this summer.
Looking at the position in net, Osorio stated that starting goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera has no guarantees to once again play in the match at the Estadio Azteca. Whether it’s Alejandro “Pikolin” Palacios, Jose de Jesus Corona or Talavera, the manager mentioned that the decision for El Tri’s starting goalkeeper would be made on the day of the game.
With an easy road to get to the final CONCACAF hexagonal round (essentially just one point needed in the last three games), it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Osorio give an opportunity to either Corona or Palacios. Corona has much more international experience than Palacios, who has yet to play a single minute for the national team, and will probably be given the start on Tuesday night.
Another player which Osorio pointed out is Benfica striker Raul Jimenez. The manager mentioned that the 24-year-old would receive playing time, but didn’t specify exactly how much he would get. With just one true out and out striker in Osorio’s formation, this could also mean that there might be limited time on the pitch for Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.
Looking elsewhere on the roster, a change in the defense may occur with some playing time given to either Yasser Corona or Nestor Araujo. With a surprisingly shaky backline last week, Osorio may bench a starter like Diego Reyes and replace him with Santos Laguna’s Araujo. As for Corona, the player will have a harder time replacing the more significant Hector Moreno in Mexico’s defense.
In the midfield, Jesus Molina is the obvious candidate to replace Marquez as the defensive midfielder; meaning Santos may potentially have two starters in Tuesday’s game. Hector Herrera and Andres Guardado were excellent in last week’s match as the two attacking midfielders, but Osorio may want to toy with the idea of trying out younger talents like Rodolfo Pizarro, Candido Ramirez or Orbelin Pineda.
Finally, in the two winger positions, Javier Aquino is a prime candidate to play in Jesus “Tecatito” Corona’s spot. The Tigres player has an immense amount of pace and energy to wreak havoc on the Canadian backline. Then again, the manager may want to continue to build on the exciting attacking trio of Hirving Lozano, Chicharito and Corona.
At times it has been difficult to predict who Osorio will utilize, but one thing is certain for tomorrow’s match: Changes in the starting XI will be made.
Keep an eye on the Mexico side that will look to extend their current unbeaten streak to 17 games.