Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio believes Wednesday’s friendly with Chile will be a chance to show that his side is a serious contender to land the Copa America Centenario title. Mexico has won all six games played since Osorio took the helm last November, all without conceding a goal. But now, in the final match before beginning a Copa America campaign against Uruguay on Sunday, Osorio will come up against his toughest opponent yet, in the form of the 2015 Copa America champion.
"Chile has a great team with all the possibilities, which is why I think it will be a great match for us, with a high level of play," Osorio said ahead of the match at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium. "It’s no surprise they won the Copa America, and I would say yes, it will be a candidate to win again, but Mexico's also included in that group."
Mexico beat Paraguay 1-0 on Saturday in a match that continued Osorio’s fondness for adapting his tactics and personnel for the opponent. And the former Sao Paulo coach outlined once again that there is no such thing as a "first-choice starting lineup" in his mind.
"We always take into account the opponent, its tactical structure, game plan and most influential players," Osorio explained. "We think it is very difficult to always have an 11."
That philosophy has been most obvious in the goalkeeping department. Guillermo Ochoa made his first start for the national team under Osorio against Paraguay and now the plan is to give the other two goalkeepers in the squad, Alfredo Talavera and Jesús Corona, 45 minutes each against Chile.
There will also be playing time for those squad members who joined the squad late – Jesús “Tecatito” Corona, Hector Herrera, Raúl Jiménez, Miguel Layun and Diego Reyes. Chile will also be boosted by the availability of one of its key players. Arturo Vidal, who scored twice when Chile and Mexico drew 3-3 in the group stage of the 2015 Copa America, has now joined up with the squad and has confirmed that he will be at the disposal of coach Juan Antonio Pizzi.
"I am able to play against Mexico," he told Chilean newspaper La Tercera. "I trained three days and I'm very well. I hope to play some minutes. I talked to Pizzi and am available. The idea is to add minutes to get to one hundred percent to the Cup."
Fellow midfielder Marcelo Díaz is also set to be available for selection. And Chile could certainly do with a lift ahead of its opening game of the Copa America, against Argentina next Monday, after suffering a surprise 2-1 defeat on home soil to Jamaica last week. That result made it two defeats in three matches since Pizzi took over from the man who guided Chile to its first international title last summer, Jorge Sampaoli, in January. Seeking a second victory on Wednesday, Pizzi will be deprived of the services of experienced Fiorentina attacking midfielder Matías Fernández.
Kickoff time: 10 p.m. EDT
TV channel: UniMás, Univision Deports
Live stream: Univision.com