Héctor Herrera and Porto finished their UCL road trip with a 1-1 draw against FC Basel. Porto plays at home against FC Basel on Tuesday, March 10.
Chicharito played 20 minutes against FC Shalke in Real Madrid’s 2-0 win in the UCL.
Giovani and Jona played a full 90 against Eibar today. Giovani participated in the winning goal with a slick back heel pass to Vietto for the 1-0 victory.
Tecatito Corona continues to play above and beyond expectations, as he scored a header today against Vitesse. He has claimed 3 goals in three games, and now has the most goals of any Mexican abroad (9).
Raul Gudiño was called to Porto’s U19 squad, and helped them win against Real Madrid in a penalty shootout. Raul was outstanding, saving two of Real Madrid’s shots.
Piojo Herrera made a statement that Jésus Dueñas would be called up by El Tri. Almost on cue after the announcement, Dueñas scored a golazo against Juan Aurich in the Copa Libertadores.
Mexico has a very busy year planned for 2015. Along with the youth qualifiers and World Cups, the senior team has two major tournaments it is preparing for; 2015 Copa América and the 2015 Gold Cup. That being said, many fans want Mexico to send strong squads to both tournaments, but being a month apart makes it very difficult. Therefore, here are the reasons why Mexico should view the Gold Cup as its main priority…
Mexico will be participating in two Copa América’s
Unlike in the previous cycle, the Copa América will have tournaments in consecutive years. The 2015 edition is going to be held in Chile and will be one month before the Gold Cup. Although Mexico would love to send its best team, there is reassurance that in 2016, the Copa América will return. Moreover, the 2016 edition will be held in the United States. This means that home field advantage will be a first for Mexico in the tournament, and that it can be a main focus for El Tri. The 2015 version of the tournament will have to be a training ground for some players, while the first team is sent to the Gold Cup.
Winning the Gold Cup is a ticket to the Confederations Cup playoff
In 2011, Mexico won the Gold Cup and won a ticket to the 2013 Confederations Cup. However, the format for the Confederations Cup ticket has changed in the CONCACAF; the 2013 Gold Cup gave the U.S. a spot in the Confederations Cup playoff. This format change means that Mexico needs to win this cup in order to play the United States in autumn this year. The winner will represent the region in 2017, but if Mexico doesn’t win, they will have no chance of making it to the next Confederations Cup. And why is this important? If Mexico represents CONCACAF in 2017, they will play in a major cup every year until the World Cup (2015 Gold Cup, 2016 Copa América and 2017 Confederations Cup), and nothing helps a teams evolution more than playing against the best year in and year out.
The 2015 Gold Cup will most likely be Rafa Márquez’s final showing in an El Tri kit
Mexico’s legendary skipper, Rafa Márquez, may no longer represent Mexico after this year. At 36 years old, the defender has played a lot for country and club, which means Mexico needs to start focusing on a replacement heading into 2018. Reports have come out that Rafa will be captaining El Tri one more time at the 2015 Gold Cup (along with other top Mexicans abroad). It would be great to send Rafa to Chile for the Copa América, but seeing that he will play with what looks to be Mexico’s stronger team in the Gold Cup, it would be great to see El Capitán go out on top.
Mexico will have two different teams playing in tournaments this year. It may seem unfortunate at first glance, but Mexico will have a major opportunity to win the 2015 Gold Cup, as well as sending a top squad to the 2016 Copa América. Not to mention, a Gold Cup victory gives Mexico a slot in the CONCACAF playoff for the 2017 Confederations Cup. Expect Mexico to take this years Gold Cup very seriously, and with good reason.
There are teams that you should just not lose to, and Cruz Azul managed to do just that this year at the Club World Cup, when they lost to Auckland City from New Zealand. Now, this isn’t an article to bash Cruz Azul, but to address a problem that has been prevalent in the Liga MX. From the fans, to coaches, to the ownership, the obsession with solely wining the league title and not taking international tournaments is seriously is a definite red flag.
It wasn’t the first time an “on paper” stronger Mexican side had lost in a game it should have been able to win. Tigres did this at the 2012-13′ CONCACAF Champions League, when Tuca sent out a reserve squad that fell, 1-3, to the Seattle Sounders. Tigres had gone into the game with a one goal aggregate lead to add. Had it been a Liguilla game, there is no doubt that Tuca Ferreti sends out his strongest side.
Yet, the unfortunate list goes on; América was eliminated by Alajuelense in the 2013-14′ CCL, Chivas was eliminated by Xelaú in the 2012-13′ CCL, Cruz Azul was eliminated by Alajuelense this year in the CCL, so on and so forth.
When Cruz Azul headed to the Club World Cup, they weren’t a favorite to win. Of course, Real Madrid is virtually unbeatable, so the 0-4 loss was not a disappointment. However, the loss to Auckland was a major let down, especially since New Zealand has no where near the league Mexico has. This should have been an easy win, but at the end, Liga MX walks away looking weaker, not stronger.
The CCL, Club World Cup, Copa Libertadores are all very important tournaments for Mexico. When Monterrey placed 3rd at the 2012 CWC, it helped promote the talent of Tecatito Corona. His play caught the eye of many at the tournament, and now he is having phenomenal year with FC Twente in the Eredivisie.
I support Club América, but I want all Liga MX teams to succeed outside the league play. If Cruz Azul or Club León are playing an international match, I’m Liga MX all the way. I really believe this is how it should be. In 2013, Chivas and Club América had an exhibition in Las Vegas and fans erupted in a massive brawl. Many were left bloodied and bruised, something you never want to see at a football match. Especially against your fellow Mexican fans. Fans you cheer with every Gold Cup, Copa América, World Cup…even friendlies!
I understand the desire to be Liga MX champions is huge in Mexican football culture, but there needs to be more pressure on representing on a national level. The better the Mexican teams do in these tournaments, the better Mexico looks. And yes, a Liga MX team has won the CCL year after year, but many of the Liga MX teams have not shown up, as mentioned earlier.
The league needs to take every chance at success in tournaments outside Mexico, as well as exposing the talent of the league…because it is there.
Mexico was in a terrible mental state at the end of the CONCACAF WCQ in 2013. They landed in 4th place, sending them to a playoff with New Zealand. This was something no one forecasted the year prior, but after melt downs in the Confederations cup and WCQ under de la Torre, Mexico had seen itself close to a pure disaster.
Chepo de la Torre was canned, and then Tena…and then Vucetich. The FMF felt it needed to make one last shot by hiring Piojo Herrera to a short term contract, in order to boost Mexico into the World Cup.
What was a controversial move, turned out to be one of the FMF’s best moves in ages. Herrera readied a new look El Tri past New Zealand, and sent them on their way to Brazil. He would then become the full-term manager of El Tri.
After Mexico’s poor WCQ, many didn’t see them advancing out of their group in the World Cup after being paired with Cameroon, Brazil and Croatia. However, Mexico began to take up a great form heading into the World Cup, and they managed to finish tied with Brazil at 7 points after three games.
Mexico’s exit was too early. They were playing some of the best football in years, taking teams on with confidence. Yet, on that fateful day against Holland, Mexico was limited in the round of 16.
We are now post-Brazil 2014 and Herrera continues his reign with Mexico, and for good reason. Since the end of the cup, Herrera has been to looking to the future, giving different names a chance in friendlies. He recognizes that Mexico has many challenges ahead with the Copa América (2015, 2016), Gold Cup, Olympics and possible Confederation cup. El Tri will have the opportunity to showcase its talent on some major stages, and the sour taste leftover from the WCQ can finally be put to rest.
Mexico’s football under Piojo will only continue to improve, as Herrera understands that different players need to get exposure, players need to continue to look at landing with clubs abroad and even trying out different formations. Fans across the world can finally feel confident with a team under Piojo’s control, because his only goal is to see the Mexico team evolve.
El Tri did fall in its last game of the 2014 year, but many fans and pundits understand that Piojo made major changes from El Tri’s triumph over Holland, 3-2. It may not have ended as fans wanted, but Herrera made those changes to see who is ready for the big stage, and what tactical changes are not going to work.
Yet, despite the loss against Belarus, Mexico walked away with positive vibes as the team gelled excellently against the Netherlands…and the return of Vela was nothing short of spectacular.
The win gives us a glimpse of what Mexico can be in the near future. The golden generation is growing, and with Herrera at the wheel, we may see one of the best Mexico teams in our lifetime heading up to Russia 2018.