Victor Manuel Vucetich is considering capping Carlos Vela for the next couple of World Cup qualifiers, against Panama and Costa Rica. After two years of absence, the Real Sociedad striker is closer to El Tri than ever.
Vela is the most successful Mexican playing abroad. He is an undisputed starter with his club and has scored 30 goals in 84 appearances.
He was instrumental in Real Sociedad's qualification to the UEFA Champions League. In the first leg of the playoff against Lyon, he assisted Antoine Griezmann and scored both goals in the final match.
Despite his continued success in Europe, Vela did not want to wear the El Tri jersey. He cited personal issues as the reason for his decision, and promised to reveal the details in due time.
Unfortunately, Mexico lack time. The squad has had its worst performance in the history of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying tournament. Jose Manuel de la Torre led El Tri to a 1-5-2 record before he was sacked. Now, Vucetich has to work with a team that sits fifth in the table, outside of the qualification zone.
The following match, against Panama on October 11, is crucial. Both have eight points; however, Los Canaleros are in fourth place because they have seven goals for, compared to Mexico's four.
The team that gets three points will practically secure its ticket to the playoff round. For Mexico, playing at the Estadio Azteca should be a clear advantage, but the squad has yet to win in the place that was once one of the toughest stadiums—for the altitude and the support of the fans.
Vela can definitively be a changing force. In the past couple of seasons he was Real Sociedad's top scorer, with 26 goals. In this campaign, he has not disappointed and holds the same honor with four goals.
However, Vela is not Mexico's savior. He can bring his expertise, strength and momentum, but an individual effort is not the solution for the team.
We saw it against Honduras. Oribe Peralta, one of the most efficient strikers of the Liga MX with seven goals in the same number of appearances, scored El Tri's first goal at the Azteca in this Hexagonal; it was not enough.
The reason is simple: Mexico have no strategy. The players run all over the pitch with no idea of what to do when they have the ball. There is a constant sense of urgency hence they do not create powerful or dangerous plays.
Vela seems to be willing to come for the next couple of games. ESPN reports that he is ready to talk with the national team officials. But he knows that he is just one piece of the puzzle.
After Real Sociedad's Champions League defeat to Shaktar Donetsk he said:
No one person is going to come in and change the world, or a national team. I think it is the job of a lot of people, to do things in the best way and in that new process, with a new coach it will be seen whether it can or can’t be.
He is right. Vucetich has to change the team's mindset. He has to motivate the players because they are in desperate need of a confidence boost.
The coach also has to work closely with the offense and make Mexico's attack more flexible and diverse. El Tri need to stop being predictable and Vela can help in this front.
He is both unbalancing and lethal. He can assist or finish a play with the same commitment.
So, yes, call Vela. He will be a refreshing player, although he will not work miracles.
After all, El Tri's football crisis is the result of bad decisions, from the Mexican Football Federation and the coaching staff, and eight months of bad performances. And under these circumstances, the team needs all the help it can get.
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