The Mexican Football Federation has decided to keep Jose Manuel de la Torre as the national team manager. This seems wrong because El Tri has not performed well this year.
Chepo has struggled in friendlies and official games and the team seems worse than ever, despite the great results the new generation of footballers have had at the U-17 World Cup and 2012 Summer Olympics.
The first game of the Hexagonal brought some questions. The dreadful draw against Jamaica at the Estadio Azteca was just the beginning. The team was not focused and they had trouble finding rhythm and pace. A lot of bad passes from the midfield to the strikers and a weak defense were the main issues.
The squad is erratic in every line and only an individual effort can make a difference. A long-distance shot or a cut in from the midfielders are some of the strategies they use to put some pressure on the rival. Mexico has become a very predictable team, though.
In 2013, de la Torre has won five times. To be fair, those victories came with small teams, in terms of quality. Canada, Martinique, Trinidad and Tobago and a couple that were certainly more complicated— Jamaica, an away victory, and Japan at the Confederations Cup.
The draws have been painful to watch, especially those that have come at home turf. Jamaica, Honduras, United States, Panama and Costa Rica have managed to secure a point when they faced El Tri.
And regarding the defeats, a team that has struggled so much does not stand a chance against Brazil and Italy and probably everybody knew that. However, when Panama beats you twice in less than a month then there is no doubt that there is something wrong.
Friendly matches have not been any better. Denmark, Peru and Nigeria gave the team a hard time.
The numbers do not support Chepo. This year, his record is worse than those of Hugo Sanchez and Sven Goran Eriksson, in their respective tenures.
The former Madrid player had 44 percent of productivity, as a result of eight wins, four draws and six defeats. The Swedish had 46 percent—six wins, one draw and six defeats.
This year, Chepo has 28 percent and the team averages 0.69 goals per game.
In contrast, in June 2012, de la Torres had been in charge of El Tri for 22 games and his numbers were significantly higher—78 percent of productivity, including 16 victories.
In 2011, he won the Gold Cup in style: six wins, 24 goals for and four against.
The team needs a restructure and new strategies are in order. This includes a playmaker that can give the strikers more options and help the wingers to generate goal opportunities.
Also, some footballers should be left behind. Gerardo Torrado has not been at his best for a while and he does not deserve to be on the team. Others need to step up or give their spots to the newcomers—Diego Reyes for Francisco Rodriguez, for example.
There are a lot of adjustments in order, and de la Torre insists that his objective—qualifying to the 2014 World Cup—is still intact. However, back in January he said that the goals for this year also included winning the Gold Cup and getting a spot at the final stage of the Confederations Cup—he did not get any of them.
Chepo’s tactics and strategy are not working. They haven’t suited the team for more than seven months and it is definitively time to make a change.