Mexico face a difficult summer schedule, starting with Friday night's friendly against Jamaica. It's understandable that 'Chepo' Jose Manuel de la Torre and the FMF wanted a warm-up friendly before competitive matches, but El Tri didn't exactly need another game on their schedule. This first team squad will play a minimum of seven games in under a month between Friday night's friendly, three World Cup qualifiers and the Confederations Cup.
Giovani dos Santos will join up with the team after a long tug-of-war between FMF and Mallorca, but will not be available for Friday night's game. Hector Moreno is expected to be fit for the June 4 game against Jamaica, but will not start on Friday. Everyone else is available for the game against Nigeria. Here's our projected lineup, based on what we think Chepo will do, not personal preferences.
Mexico lineup (4-4-2, left to right): Guillermo Ochoa; Jorge Torres Nilo, Diego Reyes, 'Maza' Francisco Rodriguez, Servero Meza; Andres Guardado, Carlos Salcido, Hector Herrera, Pablo Barrera; Aldo de Nigris, Javier Hernandez
Let's dive into some potential questions people might have that I made up in my head.
Meza over Mier?
I know that Mier is younger and is in great form, but Meza's been good for Mexico and I don't see Chepo dropping him. I'd definitely give Meir a run-out in a friendly, but I figure Chepo's going to dance with the on that brought him, even if this team is currently in the process of bringing him to the unemployment line.
Memo over Corona?
Not what I would pick, but Memo's started the last two qualifiers and been good.
We're still pretending Maza is one of Mexico's best central defenders?
If you're a supporter of El Tri, hope for Reyes to have a blinder and Maza to make an error or two. The sooner Chepo goes to a Reyes-Moreno central defense pairing, the better off everyone will be. Maza doesn't get in over a healthy Hugo Ayala for me, either, but he's the captain. It's going to take a few more displays of incompetence (or flipping off TV cameras) for him to get dropped.
Aldo over Jimenez?
I guess that, because it's a friendly, the federation and Televisa could get Chepo to play their golden boy, but I still think the backup plan is Aldo in the absence of Gio.
What does Jesus Zavala have to do to get into this team?
Honestly? Go all Tonya Harding's man on Carlos Salcido. I wish Chepo would have decided that Zavala and Herrera were his pairing for a decade and let them fight through the road bumps starting two years ago, but that ship has sailed.
You really don't agree with a thing Chepo does, do you?
No, not at all, I think the man's a loony.