Mexico have long since qualified for the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, but there remains the incentive to finish Group B with their 100 percent record intact.
El Tri continued their impressive run with victory in Guyana last Friday, a match that featured all five goals coming in the final 15 minutes. Coach Jose Manuel de la Torre elected to mix up his lineup for the game, with veterans Zinha and Gerrado Torrado lining up in central midfield, while the partnership of Oribe Peralta and Javier Hernandez was tested up front.
Promising midfielder Jorge Enriquez was handed his debut as a substitute against Guyana in Houston and could now be given a first start. Enriquez is an embodiment of the encouraging future of Mexican soccer. The 21-year-old was a part of the team that finished third in the Under-20 World Cup last summer and then went on to win gold at this summer’s Olympics.
“I’m excited and very happy,” the Guadalajara man said after making his debut, according to FIFA.com. “It’s a dream for me to be here and to be playing my part with these guys.”
Along with Enriquez, there could be another full debut handed to fellow highly-rated midfielder Hector Herrera. The Pachuca 22-year-old was reportedly the subject of an inquiry from Manchester United in August. Andres Guardado and Javier Aquino are again likely to be called upon to be chief supplier of the creativity from out wide, while Peralta and Hernandez may be given another run out.
Mexico’s opponents, El Salvador, go into the game with just an outside chance of making it to next year’s hexagonal. El Salvador currently sit in third in the group, two points behind Costa Rica. A win is essential for the Salvadorans, but even that is unlikely to be enough with Costa Rica taking on the group’s whipping boys, Guyana, at home.
El Salvador will also be hampered by the suspensions of Alfredo Pacheco and Eliseo Quintanilla, who were both sent off in a 1-0 defeat to Costa Rica on Friday.
Mexico came out on top when the two sides met in El Salvador back in June, 2-1.
D: Torres Nilo, Moreno, Rodriguez, Meza
M: Aquino, Enriquez, Herrera, Guardado
F: Hernandez, Peralta
El Salvador (probable)
D: Moises, Purdy, Henriquez
M: Romero, Guitierrez, D. Alas, J. Alas, Castillo
F: Zelaya, Burgos
Prediction: El Salvador are likely to be demoralized after what looks like to be a campaign ending defeat at home to Costa Rica. Regardless of what lineup De la Torre puts out they should have too much quality for El Salvador.
Mexico 3-0 El Salvador
Where to watch: The World Cup qualifier kicks-off at the Estadio Corona in Torreon, Mexico, at 9 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by Univision, with a live stream available on Univision.com.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.