Mexico: What Is Next for El Tri with Miguel Herrera in Charge

Karla Villegas GamaFeatured ColumnistDecember 21, 2013

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 19:  Coach Miguel Herrera of Mexico speaks to media during a press conference at Westpac Stadium on November 19, 2013 in Wellington, New Zealand.  (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
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Miguel Herrera left Club America after losing in the final match of the 2013 Apertura tournament. However, El Piojo had already secured another job as Mexico’s coach.

Herrera took over El Tri for the two-leg playoff against New Zealand. He brought half of the players of Club America and helped the national team grab a ticket for the World Cup.

In all fairness, the Kiwis were never a threat and Las Aguilas were going through a great moment. It was obvious that Herrera was going to cap half of his then team.

But things are different now. Club America has a new manager, and he will put together his own team, leaving out some players from the Herrera era and bringing new ones.

The new Liga MX starts in January and some footballers will wear different jerseys in the upcoming season, while others must earn their spot in the starting lineup.

When Herrera was hired to save El Tri from being eliminated from the 2014 World Cup, he did not call the Mexicans who play overseas.

That scenario may not change next year. El Piojo told Spanish TV program La Ultima Palabra (h/t Fox Sports) that the players abroad would not be guaranteed a spot on the team, emphasizing the importance of playing time.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21:  Javier Hernandez of Manchester United competes with James Tomkins of West Ham United during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and West Ham United at Old Trafford on December 21, 2013 in Manches
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Herrera has quite the challenge ahead, though. Javier Hernandez, Andres Guardado and Diego Reyes are not regular with their clubs.

Hernandez has appeared 15 times this season, seven of those as a starter. Chicharito has scored four times, his lowest record since he joined Manchester United in 2010.

Guardado was sidelined for a month due to a hamstring tear. He is back in business, but he has a long way to go because he is not as fast and fit as he used to be.

Reyes is having trouble adjusting to European football. Porto manager Paulo Fonseca sent him to Porto B, where he has played 12 matches and scored once.

Meanwhile, Giovani dos Santos, Javier Aquino, Hector Herrera, Guillermo Ochoa and Hector Moreno will surely have a spot in the team.

Dos Santos is a cornerstone of Villarreal. He has played in all La Liga matchdays so far and has scored seven times.

His teammate Javier Aquino has also appeared in every game of the Spanish tournament, plus in a couple of Copa del Rey matches.

Moreno injured his right hamstring in September and missed one month. Different from what happened with Guardado, the Espanyol defender went back at his best.

Herrera has been constant with Porto. He appeared in three UEFA Champions League games and in 12 of the Primeira Liga.

Ochoa has been a crucial player for Ajaccio. He has not missed a game this season and has been named Best Player of his club two years in a row.

There is only one Mexican who is not on the list, not because he does not deserve it but because he is not sure if he wants to appear. Yes, you guessed it rightit is Carlos Vela.

The Real Sociedad striker said earlier this month that he would think of the possibility of going back to El Tri if Herrera talks with him.

The Mexican manager recognized that he will travel to Europe to meet all of the footballers there and that he wants to have Vela on his team.

Once Herrera has picked the so-called Europeans, he will turn to the Liga MX.

Leon and America will feed El Tri with a lot of players.

Rafael Marquez, Carlos Pena and Luis Montes were considered for the playoff against New Zealand, and now that they are champions of the local league, they reassured why they deserve the call.

Miguel Layun, Raul Jimenez and Paul Aguilar proved to be game changers. Their passion and talent have been key with their club and with Mexico.

Herrera will go with his usual 5-3-2 formation, which has given Mexico flexibility and depth, especially through the sidelines, where Layun and Aguilar have made the difference.

The defense needs some tweaks, but Moreno and Marquez will get the job done. They have played a lot of experience and are the best Mexican centre-backs out there.

The midfield will be stronger than ever with Montes, Pena and Aquino. They can keep the ball and create goal opportunities or finish a play any given day.

Dos Santos has to play as second striker, his natural position. He has proved to be a real threat when he plays behind the striker.

In front of him we will see Oribe Peralta, who was recently named CONCACAF Player of the Year, or Vela, who has scored 10 goals this season.

This is one of the best crops of players that Mexico have had, and Herrera has been one of the most successful managers in the past couple of seasons.

The right mix of local and overseas footballers can put this team back on track and in the fight for the fifth match in a World Cup.

Spanish sources cited in this article translated by the author unless otherwise noted.