Mexico will look to kick-start their Hexagonal campaign as they face a tricky trip to Honduras on Friday.
El Tri, widely expected to stroll to qualification for next year’s World Cup, suffered an unexpected blip in their Hexagonal opener last month when they were held 0-0 at home to Jamaica.
Coach Jose Manuel de la Torre will be eager for a positive result with their northern rivals on Tuesday when the United States visit Mexico City, but says that there is no reason to panic.
“It was just the first game and though nobody was pleased with the result, that doesn't mean we're under pressure," he said, according to Concacaf.com. "It doesn't make this a game of life or death."
But De la Torre is expecting a tough battle in the intimidating atmosphere in San Pedro Sula.
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“At home, [Honduras] has to be aggressive, in the good sense of the word, not violent,” he explained, according to Goal.com. “That’s what I’m expecting and that’s what we’re also going to do.”
De La Torre is right to expect a challenge, with Honduras having gotten the better of the U.S. at the Estadio Olimpico in their opening Hexagonal match. In addition, Mexico have suffered defeats in their last four visits to San Pedro Sula.
However, Honduras and Wigan Atheltic midfielder Roger Espinoza is well aware of the quality that Mexico possess.
“Mexico are still the best team in CONCACAF,” he said, according to FIFA.com. “It will be tough for us even though we are playing at home. But we’ll be ready for the challenge. We are a humble, hard-working team and we are ready to succeed.”
D: Peralta, Bernandez, Figueroa, Juan Garcia
M: Boniek Garcia, Espinoza, Garrido, Martinez
F: Bengston, Costly
D: Meza, Rodriguez, Moreno, Torres Nilo
M: Salcido, Zavala
Aquino, Dos Santos, Guardado
Prediction: Mexico were extremely poor against Jamaica last time out, not only looking toothless going forward, but also suspect at the back. The loss of striker Oribe Peralta may actually be a blessing in disguise with his partnership with Javier Hernandez failing to bear fruit as the two often made the same runs and failed to complement each other.
The trio of Javier Aquino, Giovani dos Santos and Andres Guardado should be able to create opportunities for Hernandez. But as Mexico have found, Honduras are a real force at home and, with their confidence likely to be high, they should secure at least a draw against El Tri.
Honduras 1-1 Mexico
Where to watch: The World Cup qualifier will kick-off at 5.05 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by Telemundo, with a live stream available on the Telemundo Deportes website.