PorTri, as I like to call them, kickoff their season this weekend as the Primeira Liga is back. Porto’s Mexican contingent has only grown since last season. Diego Reyes is back on the squad after his successful loan at Carlos Vela’s Real Sociedad. That makes 4 Mexican Internationals on the Porto first team with 2 Mexican Youth Internationals on the B team.
Hector Herrera is the longest tenured of the 4. He was expected to be sold to an Italian club by now but they did not meet Porto’s valuation of him. As we all know, Porto gets top dollar for their outgoing transfers. As most of El Tri, his play in the Copa America was below expectations. If a big money move is to come, he will need to bring his play back up to what it was in 2014-2015. Herrera will likely wear the captain’s armband for many of Porto’s games this upcoming season and will be counted on to lead this club back to title contention.
Miguel Layun is coming off a breakout season. He played 45 games across 6 different competitions in 2 different countries. In total, he contributed 19 assists and 7 goals. It was easy to see why Porto exercised their buy option on his loan. He is an automatic starter for the club at LB but might be moved around a little bit this year by new coach, Nuno Santo.
Tecatito had an up & down first season in Portugal. He started right after his transfer from Twente but spent portions of the season coming off the bench. He fell victim to Lopetegui’s stale tactics that would see the wings get the ball and try to create something.Hopefully new tactics will improve the attack at Porto and he has shown well in preseason friendlies. Unlike most of El Tri, Tecatito is coming off a solid Copa America. Since he was not allowed to play in the Olympics, he should be fresh after playing in 2 tournaments last Summer.
Diego Reyes hardly received playing time during his first stint with the club. He was excited to go on loan where he would have a chance to play and mentioned this several times. It isn’t a stretch to say his loan at Real Sociedad saved his European club career. Diego played well at Center Back and even had a string of good games patrolling the midfield for a mid-table La Liga club. He played in 28 games for the San Sebastian club and was entrenched as a starter by season’s end. Porto are in need of defensive help and look for Diego to get a shot to earn some minutes. His contract has less than 2 years remaining and Porto need to decide whether he can help the team going forward or if he will be sold before he can leave on a free transfer.
Raul Gudiño and Omar Govea are both currently on the B team. It is expected Raul will be loaned out to another Portuguese squad soon. It was thought both had a shot at Mexico’s ill fated Olympic squad but Govea got hurt and Potro picked Lajud over Raul. Omar is currently recovering from the injury but is nearing full fitness. His buy option from Club America was exercised over the Summer and he is now a Porto player. No word on whether he will be loaned out or play for the B team.
This is somewhat of a rebuilding year for Porto. They are on their 3rd coach this year and finished 15 points behind the league champion, Benfica. Once again, Porto’s Mexican contingent will need to be a driving force for the club as they were last season when the 3 players combined for 23 goals and 29 assists.
Match date/time: 8/12/16, 3:30pm EST
Venue: Estadio do Rio Ave
TV: Univision Deportes Network (US - Spanish)