Mexico: 5 Newcomers Who Must Play in International Friendly vs. Chile
After a successful performance at the World Cup in Brazil, Mexican coach Miguel Herrera is ready to start his process for the 2018 World Cup with a new generation of footballers.
It all starts on Saturday when Mexico face Chile at the Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., and then plays Bolivia three days later at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Denver, Colo.
Although Herrera capped some of the footballers who made a difference in last summer's World Cup, there are others who will try to become regular picks.
For instance, Erick Torres has never worn the senior team jersey, while Hiram Mier has yet to secure a starting position.
Let's take a look at five newcomers who must play next weekend.
Miguel Angel Herrera
This is the first cap for Miguel Angel Herrera (not related to the coach), who has played for Pachuca since the 2012 Apertura tournament. It wasn't until the 2013 Clausura that he became a starter.
Herrera has made quite an impression. He is a strong centre-back who, despite being 25 years old, has managed to lead Los Tuzos' back line.
After seven match days in the 2014 Apertura, Herrera has completed 85 percent of his passes, has made 27 clearances and 20 interceptions, as per Squawka.
Among his assets we can find fine touch and strong aerial game. He will be a good option for the manager's 5-3-2 system.
Hiram Mier caught the eye of the media in 2012, when he played for Mexico's U-23 squad in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament, the Toulon Tournament and the Summer Olympics.
Eventually, Mier grabbed a spot in the senior team, then under Jose Manuel de la Torre's command. However, he played only 62 minutes in 2012, and the following year he spent 379 minutes on the pitch, despite being capped 12 times, according to FEMEXFUT (Spanish).
When Miguel Herrera took over El Tri, Mier was considered for the two-legged playoff vs. New Zealand, but was sidelined due to a knee injury.
Now, Mier is ready to get back on track. He can play in the right flank or in the center of the box with the same technique and elegance; his flexibility makes him a valuable asset.
He is ferocious and should secure the starting position if he keeps up the good work with Monterrey.
Rodolfo Pizarro is the youngest member in Miguel Herrera's list. The 20-year-old right-back is one of the most promising Mexican footballers.
He currently plays for Pachuca, where he can work in the defensive line or join the last third of the pitch as an attacking midfielder, thanks to his speed and dribbling skills.
During the 2014 Apertura he has created five goal opportunities, 60 percent of them through the right flank, as per Squawka.
Pizarro received his first cap for the senior squad in January when El Tri played a warm-up vs. South Korea.
He didn't make the upcoming games due to his lack of experience with the national team and Herrera's lack of time to put the team together.
Pizarro has four years to mature and prepare for Russia 2018, where he will definitely make an impact.
Javier Orozco is no youngster, but he certainly knows how to finish a play and put the rivals' back line in distress.
El Chuletita has received eight caps with El Tri, but has only appeared three times, all of them in 2010 under the tenure of interim coach Efrain Flores.
The Santos forward is very good when it comes to surprising the goalkeeper and leaving the defenders behind.
Squawka reports that Orozco has 88 percent accuracy—he has seven shots on target. His knack for goalscoring has been evident in the 2014 Apertura, as he has put the ball away three times.
Coach Miguel Herrera needs to have options in the attacking zone, especially since Javier Hernandez's lack of play has hurt him deeply, and Raul Jimenez is adjusting to Atletico Madrid.
Orozco needs to prove he has what it takes because this position will be one of the toughest to lock.
Erick Torres has played for Mexico's underage teams since 2010. He has made the U-17, U-20 and U-23. With the latter he was close to making the cut for the Summer Olympics, but the arrival of overage footballers left him out.
El Cubo joined Chivas USA in July 2013 on a loan from Liga MX side Guadalajara. He has become a game-changer whenever he goes onto the pitch.
After one year, he has scored 22 times, becoming the most prolific Mexican footballer in the MLS, not even Cuauhtemoc Blanco put the ball away that many times when he represented Chicago Fire.
Torres is lethal when he gets into the box. In the past 25 games he has netted 15 times, and only in one of them did he score from outside the goal area, per Squawka.
He is a natural right-footer, but he can also convert with his left foot and head, which gives him options to attack the ball in several ways.
All stats appear courtesy of ESPN FC, unless otherwise noted.