Five potential candidates to replace Miguel Herrera as Mexico coach
What's next for Mexico after Miguel "Piojo" Herrera? On Tuesday, the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) announced that after nearly two full years, the 47-year-old manager would no longer be in charge of the Mexican national team.
Herrera leaves El Tri after plenty of exciting and infamous moments, as well as big shoes for the next person in charge to fill. Now the question is: Who will replace Herrera? There seems to be no clear-cut leading option, and it's easy to make an argument against many of the names being thrown around by the media.
Considering the many names that have been brought up during the past couple of days, let's narrow down the playing field to just a select few. In no specific order, here are five possible replacements for Herrera as Mexico's national team manager:
1. Pedro Caixinha
Since taking charge of Santos Laguna in November 2012, Pedro Caixinha has made many smart decisions with roster changes, as well as a more successful move to a high-pressing style of futbol. Caixinha is one of the more progressive-thinking soccer minds in Mexico who has also put a good deal of faith in his younger players -- a likely welcomed shift from the many Mexico managers who have relied on veterans in the past.
That being said, would the FMF have much patience for the 44-year-old who would likely want to implement plenty of changes for the national team? Caixinha has an impressive amount of tactical knowledge, but he may prove too radical for the club owners who will vote for the next manager.
2. Gustavo Matosas
In the past two years, Gustavo Matosas has won two league titles with Leon and a CONCACAF Champions League title with Club America. During his run with both squads, the attack-friendly coach has produced a wealth of exciting matches with his "all or nothing" offensive approach. Then again, those tactics also drew plenty of criticism for ignoring a defensive focus when needed.
The 50-year-old may also be too outspoken for the federation. With Leon and Club America, Matosas had no trouble being blunt about his tenure or his problems with either squad. At times, the manager even seemed disinterested in his job when results weren't going his way. There would likely need to be much patience from both Matosas and the federation if the Uruguayan were to take over Herrera's position.
3. Marcelo Bielsa
Could Mexico somehow convince the likes of Marcelo Bielsa to take over? The 60-year-old manager is a highly coveted option who could work wonders with El Tri. Bielsa's well-known obsession with research and analysis would be a breath of fresh air for many Mexico fans who considered Herrera to be more focused on motivation than tactics.
Bringing in Bielsa would be massive for Mexico, but the manager might now be too big -- or too expensive -- for El Tri. Bielsa is still in charge of Marseille in Ligue 1, and the club might do everything in their power to keep the manager, who is popular with fans.
4. Ricardo Ferretti
The no-nonsense and organized Ricardo Ferretti would be a fascinating addition for El Tri. Mexico wouldn't play the most beautiful soccer under Ferretti, but the squad would be a disciplined and cohesive side that would constantly scrape by with narrow and positive results. Then again, the 61-year-old Brazilian hasn't shown any sort of interest for taking charge of the national team and currently has a full plate with Tigres.
Ferretti could be an interesting choice, but it's unlikely after the major signings for Tigres over the summer as well as the club's current historic run in the Copa Libertadores. It would be strange to see the manager leave at the beginning of what could be one of Los Auriazules' greatest seasons.
5. Raul Gutierrez
The 48-year-old manager from Mexico City has a notable amount of experience with El Tri's youth national teams and plenty of accolades to back it up as well. With Mexico's U17 squads, Raul Gutierrez won the 2011 U17 World Cup and collected a spot at second place in the 2013 tournament. Recently, the manager also helped El Tri's U23 roster to a spot at second place in the 2015 Pan American games.
Despite having success with the younger squads, there may be doubts over his serious lack of experience with older teams. Gutierrez has the potential to become a great national team manager, but he may need more time coaching older players first.
Outside candidates for the managerial job: Victor Manuel Vucetich, Jorge Sampaoli, Antonio Mohamed, Frank Rijkaard, Bernd Schuster
Cesar Hernandez covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @cesarhfutbol.