OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 26: Andres Guardado of Mexico is congratulated by teammates after he scored a goal against Paraguay during their international friendly match at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on March 26, 2011 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
On Saturday, in Mexico's match against Paraguay, Chepo da la Torre opted to start Sinha as an attacking midfielder behind Javier Hernandez, leaving both Carlos Vela and Giovani Dos Santos on the bench. While Sinha was effective and it's understandable that Chepo wanted to start a consistent veteran player that he was comfortable with, it's not terribly conducive to developing a cohesive team who has a deep understanding not just in the 2011 Gold Cup, but the 2013 Gold Cup, the 2014 World Cup, and hopefully for Mexican fans, the 2013 Confederations Cup. Against Venezuela on Tuesday, Chepo might want to start integrating some of his younger players.
Venezuela are not a team to be laughed at, but they are nowhere near as good as Paraguay. If Chepo wants to get experimental, he has the ability to do so. His second XI is comparable to, if not better than Venezuela's first XI. There's no reason to keep the older players in the lineup, unless he thinks that Sinha is going to be key to winning the upcoming Gold Cup.
Giovani Dos Santos and Carlos Vela have struggled to find playing time with their clubs in Europe over the years, but they're still more important to the future of the team than a 35 year old. If their lack of playing time is a problem for their national team prospects. Managers have been in and out and they have been in and out of the side in different positions. If someone could decide whether or not they need to play regularly to make the national team and what position they play for the national team, it would probably help their development exponentially.
Andres Guardado and Pablo Barrera started on the wings against Paraguay, and that was probably for the best. At this point, it's very difficult to argue that someone else should be playing in those positions, despite Guardado's fitness concerns. Maybe they will be rested against Venezuela, but there should be no doubt about them being first choice. Obviously, the same goes for Chicharito, who scored a hat trick. Gerardo Torrado is a staple of the team, and it makes sense that Israel Castro was the man next to him. All of these spots are all but nailed down, and Chepo should probably rest all of these players in order to figure out who his next best options at those positions are.
Venezuela have a high quality defender in Roberto Rosales, a high quality midfielder in Tomas Rincon, and a high quality striker in Nicolas Fedor. After that, the drop off in quality is significant. They are not a particularly deep team, and if they test Mexico significantly, there will be cause for concern. Of course, a media will likely blow a score draw way out of proportion and insist that Chepo has lost the plot. I almost hope it happens for the amusement factor.
Is there anything in particular any of you want to see from Mexico on Tuesday? Let us know in the comments.