And so, less than three months after that fateful evening in Santa Clara, California, the Mexico national team makes its return to the soccer fields as they take on El Salvador at the Estadio Cuscatlán in World Cup qualifying.
Not much has changed on the lead up to this match. Mexico’s latest disappointment has not been forgotten yet, and criticism towards manager Juan Carlos Osorio and El Tri has been far and wide. For many fans, patience is wearing thin, for everything that Osorio accomplished during his first few months in charge there seems to the looming curse and memory of that 7-0.
In that regard, there is an added pressure to this game. Mexico are already in the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, as well as they should be, but given what transpired in the Copa America Centenario, you can understand why El Tri need a good result in San Salvador.
If nothing else, El Salvador is certainly a team Mexico has had few worries about in recent years. It’s been five straight wins for El Tri against La Selecta, including a 3-0 beating at the Estadio Azteca last November.
Where Juan Carlos Osorio might face some problems is in his team selection. Mexico will be without six players through injury: Oribe Peralta, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Jesus “Tecatito” Corona, Jonathan dos Santos, Nestor Araujo, and Paul Aguilar. In addition, Diego Reyes will be unavailable due to his deadline day transfer to Espanyol.
It is also worth mentioning that El Salvador still have a genuine chance of reaching the Hexagonal. In fact, even a draw against El Tri could mathematically keep El Salvador in the mix of things ahead of their final game against Canada. El Salvador almost always provide a brave resistance at the Cuscatlán, and a positive performance against Mexico would bring hope to La Selecta.
All things considered, however, Juan Carlos Osorio might need this win as much as anybody. While there is little glory in winning a game with nothing on the line for El Tri, it might help fans and press not linger too much on one really bad result.