I was really looking forward to yesterday’s DF derby, the chilango clash between America and UNAM. It is the second best derby in Mexico (the Monterrey derby is by far the best), it had an exclusive broadcast window, and both teams had huge opportunities to put some distance between themselves and the rest of Group 2. It had the makings for a great one, but we got put the zzzzz in siesta. Except for a brilliant save that may have jeopardized the Guillermo Ochoa lineage (even my wife doubled over in sympathy pain), the game was a scoreless dullard. It was an anticlimactic way to end the week, but now we can turn our attention to the National Team and their next games in the hex.
SGE called up 24 players for the games last week. This time, however, a naturalizado made news because he wasn’t on the list. Sinha and the other diablos from Toluca were absent from the call up. It’s curious because the defending champs are dominating again. Sinha, though, has not really looked all that impressive under SGE, and SGE himself has pointed out that Sinha “doesn’t fit” in the Swede’s scheme. This is an excuse that I have never understood. I am a firm believer that the best coaches adapt to the qualities that their players bring, not vice versa.
Mexico continues to deal with suspensions and injuries. But instead of worrying about who is not available, SGE needs to find the players who will nut up and give Mexico their best chance to win. I’m keen to see how Leobardo Lopez and Omar Arellano respond to the pressure.
Use whichever hyperbole you want. These next two games are absolutely huge for Mexico’s world cup hopes, and even bigger for SGE’s future in the tropics. The fan in me wants to see a team that responds to the challenge and walks away from the Azteca and San Pedro Sula with 3 points in each. The cynic in me, however, believes that Mexico will continue to underestimate their opponents. And if that’s the case, the swede might be looking for work on April 2.