It’s been a long wait, but the Gerardo “Tata” Martino era officially gets underway this Friday as the Mexico National Team takes on Chile at SDCCU Stadium. After a disastrous end to 2018, Mexico take the field for the first time this year in a tune-up ahead of the 2019 Gold Cup.
For the most part, Mexico arrive to this match with several of its star players, including Javier “Chicarito” Hernandez and Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, as well as the red-hot Raul Jimenez and youngster Diego Lainez.
However, it wouldn’t be a Mexico game without some controversy, as El Tri will be without the in-form Jesus Manuel “Tecatito” Corona, who refused to travel with the team through injury and already appears to be in the bad graces of the new coach.
The conditions of the pitch will, unfortunately, also be a topic of discussion, with rumors that the pitch was only being laid a day before the actual match.
Tata Martino: The pitch is bad. They tried to improve parts of it today. SUM should represent the interests of the Mexican national team better. #eltrieng— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) March 22, 2019
Of course, Chile have their own problems to worry about. La Roja are looking ahead to another Copa America competition after winning the last two South American titles. Under the direction of new coach Reinaldo Rueda, the results have so far been mixed, but make no mistake about it, this is a team that has the technical ability to beat just about any other in the regio.
First impressions matter, and for a fanbase eager to find joy in watching their national team play well and win, Tata’s job is not easy. That said, there is nothing all sectors of Mexican football would like to see more than a win in Tata’s first game in charge, and while this match certainly won’t be easy, this is the kind of pressure that coaching the biggest team in North America assumes. Tata, are you ready?
Date: Friday, March 22
Time: 7:15pm Pacific, 9:15pm Central, 10:15pm Eastern
Venue: SDCCU Stadium, San Diego, California
TV: Univision Deportes (US-Español), UniMás (US-Español), Canal 5 Televisa (Mexico), Azteca 7(Mexico), TDN (Mexico), CDF (Chile)