Five things to watch against Ecuador
All right, all right, let's all calm down now.
Jesus Corona's neck seems to be fine, Francisco Rodriguez didn't embarrass himself too much and El Tri somehow came away with a 3-0 win over Israel on Wednesday. With the bad luck that sometimes surrounds the Mexican national team, a loss at Azteca wouldn't have been too surprising, but El Tri have done well with crossing their first hurdle -- a small hurdle at that.
Ecuador are a squad that has actually qualified for the World Cup and will present a much bigger test for Miguel Herrera and the national team. They still have defensive issues to resolve but have an impressive attack with the likes of Enner Valencia, Jefferson Montero, Antonio Valencia, and Felipe Caicedo. How will Mexico fare with this competition, and what changes will Miguel Herrera make from Wednesday?
Here are five things that Mexico fans will want to consider during the Saturday's friendly (3 p.m. ET on ESPNews and WatchESPN):
Which striker(s) will stand out for Mexico?
In their game against Israel, Cuauhtemoc Blanco was Mexico's best striker. Oribe Peralta failed to capitalise on his opportunities, Javier Hernandez was ineffective, Raul Jimenez disappeared from various moments in the match and Alan Pulido wasn't given enough time. With both striker spots still up for grabs, Herrera and Mexico fans will be eager to see somebody step up and score some goals. Giovani dos Santos is also another possible striker that could be brought in but he may not work well with Herrera's current formation.
As mentioned, Ecuador will be a big test for Mexico's defence. Herrera used a very experimental central defensive line of Carlos Salcido, Francisco Rodriguez and Diego Reyes against Israel and may tweak the defence a bit against Ecuador. Rodriguez may want to get comfy on the bench after his last appearance but Salcido emerged as a decent option for Mexico. A back-line of Hector Moreno, Rafael Marquez and Diego Reyes seems best but it wouldn't be too shocking if Herrera gives Salcido another chance.
Guillermo Ochoa or Alfredo Talavera?
Jesus Corona's time against Israel will unfortunately be overshadowed by his early exit from the match due to his injury. This will give either Guillermo Ochoa or Alfredo Talavera a golden opportunity to set themselves apart. My assumption is that Ochoa will be given the start on Saturday. Either way, whichever option is placed in the net will have just 90 minutes to prove their worth to El Tri.
The central midfielder experiment against Israel wasn't a failure with Andres Guardado but it didn't really enlighten anybody with a new option in the middle. Guardado did well moving forward and distributing the ball, but it was a little uneasy to watch his defensive capabilities against a squad who didn't qualify for the World Cup. Jose Juan Vazquez would work very well with fellow Leon teammates Carlos Peña or Luis Montes, if they were also used.
For months, the Europeos were a hot topic for the national team especially after Herrera had turned their services down last year during the New Zealand matches. For most of Herrera's tenure, the head coach has often relied on Liga MX players to find recent success for El Tri. Now with the Europeos at his disposal, Herrera will need to decide which ones will be crucial pieces of his starting eleven.