Mexico vs. Jamaica: El Tri Need to Solve Striker Issues Before World Cup 2014

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 7, 2013

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 30:  Head coach Jose Manuel de la Torre of Mexico sits on the bench during an international friendly match against Denmark at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 30, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona. Mexico and Denmark ended in a 1-1 draw.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Jose Manuel de la Torre needs to figure out what he's doing at striker as Mexico looks to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

El Tri have often used more of a 4-2-3-1 system, like most national teams, and been very successful with it. The heart of World Cup qualification isn't exactly the best time to tinker what that system.

Changing just that one player can throw the entire team off because what each player is asked to do changes a little bit as well.

In the game against Jamaica on Wednesday night, de la Torre opted to play Javier Hernandez and Oribe Peralta together. It resulted in Mexico struggling mightily up top en route to a 0-0 draw in the Estadio Azteca.

Despite picking up the point, it's a rather embarrassing result for Mexico.

The experimental issues at striker were bound to hit a head for de la Torre.

On one side, de la Torre's got Chicharito, who's one of the more lethal strikers in the Premier League. On the other is Peralta, who was the top scorer for Mexico as they won gold at the 2012 Olympics and played very well for Santos Laguna.

Accommodating them both is impossible in a 4-2-3-1, so de la Torre has quite a decision facing him. That formation has served Mexico very well in qualifying up to this point. There's no reason to abandon it now.

He has to choose either Hernandez or Peralta. Both excelled as lone strikers in the national team. Asking them to play together would diminish the impact the pair would be able to make. They might find themselves running into the same areas and going for the same balls.

Should he decide to move forward with just one striker in the starting XI, de la Torre would also have to deal with any potential backlash of choosing one over the other.

One only needs to look at Bert van Marwijk and the Netherlands' issues at Euro 2012 to see how mishandling the man management part of the job can cause major issues. Van Marwijk chose Robin van Persie over Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, and it helped the Dutch to implode at the tournament.

It's a very difficult situation but one that can be diffused if handled right by de la Torre.

With the way Mexico has performed on the youth levels and in CONCACAF qualifying up to this point, the sky is the limit for what El Tri can do at the 2014 World Cup.

The longer de la Torre goes without figuring out a permanent solution for his striker dilemma, though, the more Mexico will continue to struggle.