Five changes Mexico could make in rematch vs. Canada
MEXICO CITY -- After its 3-0 win over Canada in Vancouver on Friday, Mexico's national team arrived to Mexico City on Saturday's early morning hours following the team's fourth consecutive win in the Juan Carlos Osorio era.
Osorio noted after Mexico's victory in Vancouver that the 24 players in the squad will have a shot to be part of El Tri's XI on Tuesday in the second match against the Canadians. With this in mind, here are five potential adjustments Osorio and his coaching staff could decide to make.
1. Nestor Araujo at center back
Hector Moreno has been the only center back who has played all of Mexico's World Cup qualifying matches. Diego Reyes and Hugo Ayala have started in two of El Tri's three qualifying games. Osorio thinks highly of Moreno. He even has stated in multiple occasions that he believes that PSV's center-back is one of the best left-footed center-backs in the world.
Considering that Yasser Corona, who is the other left-footed center-back in the squad, is not having the best of seasons at Queretaro, Moreno could once again be included in the starting XI. But who will he be paired with?
Nestor Araujo has been closely followed by Osorio's coaching staff since the friendly against Senegal in Miami. Osorio might want to see how the center-back duo of Araujo-Moreno works, and if that's the case, someone like Reyes, who has played as defensive midfielder for Real Sociedad, could be tested in that position with Mexico's national team.
2. Switching from a 4-3-3 to a 4-2-4
During Osorio's Estadio Azteca debut last November with the national team, the Colombian manager selected an ultra-attacking team, which included two strikers -- Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez and Oribe Peralta -- and two players who could play out wide -- Carlos Vela and Jesus "Tecatito" Corona.
In Vancouver, strikers Raul Jimenez and Eduardo Herrera didn't participate, which makes one think that perhaps Osorio is contemplating on utilizing a 4-2-4 formation with Jimenez and Herrera as strikers. The options out wide are plentiful with wingers such as Javier Aquino, Isaac Brizuela, Marco Fabian, Candido Ramirez, and even Chivas' Orbelin Pineda. In the midfield, the two main starters have been Andres Guardado and Hector Herrera, but if one of them gets the night off, midfielders like Rodolfo Pizarro and/or Jesus Molina could step up to the plate.
3. Candido Ramirez as a left-back?
It could well be the case that Miguel Layun will once again play as Mexico's left-back on Tuesday night; however, if Osorio wants to use the game at the Azteca to make certain test-runs, slotting Ramirez in as a left-back wouldn't be a crazy idea.
For Ramirez, taking part in Tuesday's game would be a win-win scenario for him, no matter if he plays as left-winger or left-back. If Ramirez plays as left-back and does well, he could to prove to Osorio that he's in fact a versatile player, capable of giving results in different areas of the pitch.
4. Orbelin Pineda's senior team debut
Pineda's favorite stadium in Mexico is the Estadio Azteca, and in his first chance to play at the mythical stadium, he scored. Nowadays at Chivas, Pineda plays in a deeper midfield role, which doesn't allow him to showcase the explosiveness he boatsed during his Queretaro days.
Against Canada on Tuesday, Pineda has the skills to play on one of the wings, especially the right, which is where he feels more comfortable. Pineda, as Hirving "Chucky" Lozano last Friday, could be presented with an opportunity to prove that at 20 years old, he's prepared to help out Mexico's senior team. Early on in his tenure, Osorio has shown that he's a big fan of Mexico's young talents.
5. Who gets the start in goal?
Under Osorio's supervision, Moises Munoz, Jesus Corona and Alfredo Talavera have had games in goal for El Tri. The only goalkeepers, who have been included in Osorio's call-ups but have not seen time on goal are Alejandro "Pikolin" Palacios and Guillermo Ochoa.
Palacios could well be the chosen one on Tuesday night, but Osorio might want to get another look on Corona, especially since the Cruz Azul goalkeeper has had a great start to the 2016 Clausura. Nevertheless, it's likely that on Tuesday night, there will be a different goalkeeper for El Tri..
Nayib Moran covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @nayibmoran.