The European and Liga MX seasons are down to their final moments and the World Cup is 50 days away. Mexico coach, Juan Carlos Osorio has only a few weeks to make his final choices on who will follow him to Russia as he tries to guild Mexico to the famous Fifth Game.
Baring an injury to any of these three, it looks like Mexico will go with Guillermo Ochoa, Alfredo Talavera, and Jesus Corona in goal. Ochoa and Talavera shared the starting spot in JC Osorio’s really time with Mexico, with Ochoa becoming the clear-cut starter over the last year. His play has earned him the spot and Talavera’s injury last year added to that. It was Corona’s performance against Iceland in March’s international friendly that looked to cement his spot in the Mexico roster for Russia.
There were scares after the international break that Carlos Salcedo and Nestor Araujo might miss the World cup because of injuries but there seems to be a good chance that they both make it back in time and if that’s the case, they both will find themselves in Russia. Along with them, Hector Moreno is one of Osorio’s most trusted players, along with Miguel Layun. Diego Reyes has also been one of Osorio’s most used player, even though it will be needed to see if he will be used in the back or as a defensive midfielder, a place that’s seen his share of blunders.
With Mexico lacking a real second option in the left back position, Oswaldo Alanis looks likes to be close to making the Mexican roster. Jesus Gallardo has been one of the breakout youth players for Mexico under Osorio, and his ability to play as a left wing and a left back gives him the flexibility on the field that Osorio likes in his players. Fighting out for the final spots is Liga MX veteran Hugo Ayala, who is trying to make his first and probably only World Cup, along with young Mexican prospects Cesar Montes and Edson Alvarez.
The midfield is where Mexico has a duo cemented in the starting XI with captain Andres Guardado and Hector Herrera almost untouchables for Osorio. Jonathan Dos Santos also looks to have a good chance if he’s able to avoid injury with the LA Galaxy. Now that he’s been giving the green light by the FMF, it also looks like 39-year-old Rafa Marquez has a great chance of making his fifth World Cup. Lastly, if Marco Fabian can continue to get minutes in Germany he will also find himself with El Tri as that gives Osorio a midfielder he trusts to start a game if needed or come on as a sub.
This leaves the likes of Javier Aquino, Jurgen Damm, Jesus Molina, Jonathan Gonzalez, Jesus Duenas, Orbelin Pineda, Rodolfo Pizzaro, Giovani Dos Santos, and Omar Geova fighting out for the last remaining spots.
The forward spot looks to have the most locks of any of the positions with Jesus Corona, Hirving Lozano, Javier Hernandez, Raul Jimenez, and Carlos Vela all set to play a part in Mexico’s attack. The only possible question mark is if Osorio sticks with veteran Oribe Peralta or goes with Alan Pulido or with a dark horse like Henry Martin or saves a roster spot for another midfielder.
Jonathan Dos Santos*
*Locks for Mexico barring injury