Chepo De La Torre Faces Increased Pressure After Mexico's Draw with Peru

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2013

ARLINGTON, TX - JUNE 05:  Jose Manuel De La Torre head coach of the Mexico national tean during the match against El Salvador during the CONCACAF Gold Cup qualifying match against Cuba at Cowboys Stadium on June 5, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
Rick Yeatts/Getty Images

Mexico was hoping to build some much-needed momentum against Peru after a lackluster run of World Cup qualifying results. Instead, Jose Manuel de la Torre's side was forced to accept another scoreless draw. The result further increases the pressure on Chepo.

Given the amount of talent available to De La Torre, El Tri were expected to cruise through the CONCACAF hexagonal stage to secure a World Cup berth. It hasn't worked out that way as every step toward Brazil has been a struggle.

Mexico currently sits in fifth place in the group. If qualifying ended this way, the most talented group of players in the region would fail to secure a berth in next year's marquee international event.

It's the coach's job to make sure things get turned around, but the friendly with Peru showed very few signs of progress. The makeshift squad, which didn't feature star striker Javier Hernandez, was unable to generate a single goal.

Mexico has now played five matches in 2013 and all of them have ended in a draw. That includes two scoreless efforts at the vaunted Estadio Azteca against Jamaica and the United States.

That's not going to cut it and De La Torre should be feeling the heat by now. The talent pool is simply too deep for Mexico to keep accepting such middling results. And the margin for error shrinks with each passing draw.

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While a friendly victory over Peru wouldn't have changed El Tri's qualification standing, it would have at least given hope that things are improving ahead of a key run of matches in June. Alas, it was more of the same.

An argument can be made that the players deserve a fair share of the blame for the recent struggles, and they do. But ultimately it's the manager's task to make sure the group he chooses is able to secure results, and that hasn't been the case for Mexico.

Whether it's a high-profile qualifier against the United States or a random friendly with Peru, the confidence to earn victories is absent. And if De La Torre can't instill that in his side soon, the Mexican federation will have some tough decisions to make.

The Peru draw was another step in the wrong direction. While changing managers at this stage of qualification would come with a great deal of risk given the limited amount of time to change systems, the federation also can't afford to sit idly as Mexico risks missing the World Cup.

So, the pressure is rising on De La Torre to get El Tri back on track. Their next match is a friendly with Nigeria before the key three-match qualifying stretch. If the results don't improve, Mexico might be forced to make a desperation move.

The onus is on Chepo to make sure that doesn't happen.