How will Mexico line up against Costa Rica?

Tuca Ferretti’s time with the Mexico national team will come to an end soon, with the manager set to stay with Tigres rather than call the shots with the national team full-time. He’s still calling the shots for this friendly window, though, and he has given himself options for how he’ll line up the team against Costa Rica.

As Goal does before every Mexico match, we’ve taken a look at three possible lineups for El Tri tonight. A few things to take into consideration before we get to the projections:

  • First, Monterrey topped Queretaro on Tuesday in a postponed Copa MX match. That means Monterrey players Jesus Gallardo and Jonathan Gonzalez and Queretaro midfielder Javier Guemez are unlikely to start or even play, especially after Ferretti said last month he was conscious there would be conspiracy theories popping up should the Tigres manager play a Rayados player with the national team when he’s at less than 100 percent.
     
  • Second, Ferretti played the majority of his Europe-based players in the first of last month’s two friendly matches and then sent them back to their clubs. He said he’d again use two groups and if he were done with players would be happy to release them.

    He didn’t say, though, which group would play which game. Conventional wisdom would suggest to hold those players until the game against Chile, but Ferretti is not conventional. The other obstacle to that idea is there are only three traditional center backs on this roster – two of them based in Europe. While Ferretti could again press Jesus Angulo or a player like Jesus Duenas into center back duty, that hardly seems like a recipe for success in stopping Alexis Sanchez and Nicolas Castillo. 

So what will Ferretti do against Costa Rica on Thursday? Let’s start with those Europe-based player and move onto a few other potential lineups:


All-Europe-based


GFX Mexico all euros

This gets all Europe-based players into the same roster, with some domestic-based talent around them. There’s the center-back partnership of Araujo and Reyes with Santos Laguna’s rising star Jesus Angulo on their left and Tigres right back Luis “Chaka” Rodriguez on their right.

The midfield sees Marco Fabian step back into the starting lineup, something that should help his confidence after a few frustrating months with his club situation. Erick Gutierrez is better on the left, but he’s also better than Fabian at playing in front of a defense. He and Duenas could swap spots in this lineup, but the lack of strength in the midfield would be a concern.

Up top, it’s a trio that Mexico would feel comfortable with forming the attack if the World Cup started today and not in four years, with PSV standout Hirving Lozano on the left wing, Porto’s Jesus “Tecatito” Corona on the right and Wolves forward Raul Jimenez as the No. 9. The way Lozano has been scoring and the way Jimenez has been setting up runners off him with one-twos or passes with his back to goal to put them into advantageous positions has to have Ferretti excited. 

Porto’s relationship with El Tri was complicated in the Juan Carlos Osorio era and just one of the two Mexicans based there were called in. Even if Ferretti holds out some of his European players, don’t be surprised if Corona came with some conditions attached, whether that was an early return (meaning he’d start and play the bulk of the minutes in this game before flying home) or a request to keep the minutes down (meaning he could sit out Thursday and get into the mix next week).


Throwing it way back to September


GFX Mexico Sept throwback

Do you remember the 21st night of September? Ten days earlier Mexico had played the United States in Nashville, a game El Tri lost but one in which a couple of players showed potential in an interesting scheme drawn up by Ferretti. One of them was Diego Lainez, who is out with an injury. Others include Gerardo Arteaga, who was free to attack down the flank from his left-back position, Edson Alvarez, who roamed between the midfield and helped to shore up the back line, and Victor Guzman, who was efficient in switching the field to start dangerous attacks.

This alignment gets a pair of those players back in – and there’s no reason you couldn’t add Alvarez if you wanted – though again he will probably be saved until the second game.

The big question about the lineup would be who the playmaker is. Guzman has played the role well in the past, but Ferretti utilized him deeper and asked Cruz Azul’s Roberto Alvarado to do it against the Americans. It doesn’t look like the 10 is 20-year-old Alvarado’s best spot, but if Ferretti likes him there it might be fair to give him another shot against another Concacaf opponent. The Chucky-Tecatito-Raul triangle remains to strike fear in the heart of Costa Rica defenders like Oscar Duarte and Giancarlo Gonzalez. 


The 4-4-2 is back


 GFX Mexico 442 return

Against Uruguay, Ferretti went with a relatively uninspired 4-4-2 and ended up delivering a considerably uninspired performance in a 4-1 defeat. He could go back to the familiar formation, though, especially if he’s looking to keep his powder dry by resting Lozano, Corona and the crew. That could mean a start for Jurgen Damm in front of his home fans with Chivas’ Isaac Brizuela on the other side.

There still would need to be some Europe-based players in the XI, especially with Jonathan Gonzalez and Javier Guemez leaving the center of midfield short on options. Gutierrez could play the part next to Guzman while Angel Zaldivar and Jimenez partner up top.

source: GOAL

Leave a Reply