Mexico to go for win vs. Honduras with Hexagonal points record in sight
Mexico will seek to set a new points record for the Hexagonal phase of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying when it takes on Honduras in San Pedro Sula on Tuesday, with coach Juan Carlos Osorio guaranteeing already-qualified El Tri won't be taking the match lightly.
Mexico is currently on 21 points and would overtake Costa Rica's record of 23 achieved in qualifying for the 2002 World Cup with a victory, while Honduras sits in fifth place and needs a positive result to have any chance of making Russia 2018.
"We've dedicated the same amount of time [to preparation] as when we've played other games," said Osorio on the eve of the match in a news conference in Estadio Metropolitano.
"You will see an intention to go for the win in the starting XI; you have to wait to see how the game develops, but our idea will be to go out and get the three points."
Full-back Miguel Layun stressed the players are as motivated as ever.
"I don't see anyone with even a little conformism," said Layun in the same news conference. "We all aim to achieve the last objective (of remaining undefeated) that we've mentioned before and tomorrow we have that opportunity."
If Mexico avoids defeat it would become the first side in CONCACAF to stay unbeaten in the Hex since El Tri did so in 1998 and Osorio puts the successful negotiation of qualifying partly down to his players not underestimating opponents.
"This group shows humility, among other values," said Osorio. "You have to respect each and every opponent.
"You see in the other qualifiers that Macedonia draws with Italy or Peru draws against Argentina."
Osorio will be without Javier Hernandez, Hirving Lozano and Hector Moreno for the match. Hernandez left the squad due to a personal problem, Lozano injured his right elbow in Saturday's training session and returned to PSV, while Moreno was suspended and headed back to Roma.
"Hirving was considered for this game, but unfortunately and despite having protected him, this happened and we are sorry for him," said Osorio. "I'm sure he'll recover soon."
The Colombian coach stated ahead of Friday's 3-1 victory over Trinidad & Tobago that he would be making changes between the qualifying double-header, meaning the likes of Raul Jimenez, Jonathan dos Santos, Guillermo Ochoa and Carlos Vela could all get a start against Honduras.
Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.