On Friday, new coach Juan Carlos Osorio is set to begin his reign as Mexico national team manager. The newly crowned CONCACAF Cup champions open World Cup qualifying against El Salvador at the Estadio Azteca.
With five national team managers in just over two years, taking a job with El Tri seems to come at a considerable risk. But Juan Carlos Osorio will look to break the mold. Having taken over Atletico Nacional in 2012, he won them three league titles and two Copa Colombias before becoming manager one of Brazil's biggest clubs, São Paulo FC. Whether that equips him for a full four-year tenure at a national team remains to be seen.
First and foremost, Osorio is tasked with reversing Mexico's nightmarish 2013 World Cup qualifying campaign. El Tri gave their fans a big fright and needed a last-minute goal from U.S. midfielder Graham Zusi to keep their World Cup hopes alive.
The prospect now is to avoid another grim scenario like in 2013 and it all begins against El Salvador.
La Selecta are a team in turmoil, though. They must overcome the absence of several key players after a strike was called to protest in favor of better pay and working conditions.
Hopes were already low going into this game, and now El Salvador coach, Ramon Maradiaga, has to worry about the lack of veteran players at his disposition for Friday's game.
Knowing this, winning is clearly the priority of Juan Carlos Osorio as he prepares his team to face the depleted Salvadorans. Osorio has stuck with an experienced spine to his side, similar to his predecessor's Ricardo Ferretti. The only notable absences for the Colombian are Paul Aguilar and Rafael Marquez, who are both out through injury. On the other hand, 22-year-old Raul Lopez makes his first senior call-up and may be a surprise starter on Friday.
Even when Mexico go into this game as heavy favorites, pressure will always be looking over Osorio's shoulder. Osorio has to learn fast that stakes are always high when coaching El Tri. The Estadio Azteca is ready. Is Juan Carlos Osorio ready?
Match date/time: Friday 9:00pm EST, 7:00pm local
Venue: Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, Mexico
TV: Univision Deportes Network (US - Spanish), Unimas (US- Spanish), Azteca 7 (Mexico), UnivisionTDN (Mexico), TDN (Mexico), Canal 5 Televisa (Mexico), Canal 4 El Salvador (El Salvador)
Streaming: Univision Deportes En Vivo
Radio: Futbol de Primera (US)