Why Guillermo Ochoa Should Start in Mexico's World Cup Opener in Brazil

Karla Villegas Gama@karlitsvFeatured ColumnistFebruary 9, 2014

BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL - JUNE 22: Guillermo Ochoa of Mexico reacts during the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Group A match between Japan and Mexico at Estadio Mineirao on June 22, 2013 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Miguel Herrera has three clear candidates for the goalkeeper’s starting position: Jose de Jesus Corona, Moises Munoz and Guillermo Ochoa. However, the latter should get the job for Brazil 2014.

Ochoa is in the prime of his career. He has been playing professionally since 2004, when he debuted at age 19 with Club America.

After seven seasons he finally left for Europe and signed with then-newly promoted French Club Ajaccio.

Ochoa debuted on August 2011, becoming the second Mexican goalie to play in the first division of any European league.

In 2006, Ricardo Lavolpe caped him as the third-choice goalkeeper for the World Cup—Ochoa was 21 years old, and Oswaldo Sanchez was going through a great moment in his career—and four years later Javier Aguirre called him as the sub for Oscar Perez—which was arguable since Ochoa had proven to be in good shape during the qualifying tournament.

With his departure, “Paco Memo” opened the door to El Tri to some who had been in the shadows, including Corona and Munoz, plus Alfredo Talavera and Jonathan Orozco.

Ochoa has had quite an impact in Ajaccio. He helped the Bears to stay in the first division and was named Player of the Year (2011/12), an award that he also received the following season. In the league he has also been one of the top goalies since he arrived in France.

He has proven to be a save keeper, with confidence and leadership. Despite being 28 years old, Ochoa knows how to organize the defense and push his teammates toward perfection; it's no wonder why he wore El Tri's captain armband last March.

His experience is vast, and that is why he knows how to handle pressure. Paco Memo has played in some of the most important tournaments in world football, such as the Confederations Cup, Gold Cup and Copa America.

Ochoa’s aerial game is enviable. He can catch a cross or a shot, but he can also deflect them with high dives with the top hand and punches.

But those are not his only assets. His reflexes are so sharp that he can perform a collapse dive with one hand with ease, even if he has just rejected a shot.

When the rivals made it past the defense, Ochoa knows how to work inside the box to cover his goal as much as possible by narrowing the angle.

All of the above will come in handy against Cameroon, Mexico’s rival in their World Cup opener.

The African side characterizes as being physically fit, with strong and fast players.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Benjamin Moukandjo will be in charge of the attack, but the real threat Cameroon imposes is the defense and midfield; if those two lines make a strong link, El Tri's defense may be in distress.

This game is about confidence. It actually helps Mexico that their first rival are the Indomitable Lions, the weakest side in Group A.

Miguel Herrera tweeted a picture with the goalkeeper and said that the player has a lot of disposition and wants to compete.

Ochoa has acquired a lot of experience in his time in France, stopping some of the most spectacular shots from players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and there is no better time for him to defend El Tri's goal.


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