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New Era Awaits Mexico with September Friendlies

New Era Ahead For Mexico Beginning with Sept. Friendlies

Photo Courtesy of the Official Seleccion Nacional de Mexico Facebook Page

The play of the Mexican National Team at the 2014 World Cup was one which left a very positive impression to all whom watched and left all Mexicans feeling proud for how the team played during the tournament. During the tournament, one thing that stood out was how veteran defender Rafael Marquez provided some solid play in defense and was an undisputed leader and veteran presence as the captain of the team. Another player who added veteran presence on the team with him being part of the 23-man squad was defender Carlos Salcido.

Earlier this week during a press conference, it was announced and confirmed that Mexico would be taking on Chile on September 6 and Bolivia on September 9 here in the United States.

Both of these friendlies come during those FIFA dates, which officially ushers in the new World Cup cycle leading to the 2018 World Cup. This was not the announcement that had people talking.

What got people talking was during that same press conference, national team coach Miguel Herrera stated that he would no longer call up Rafael Marquez and Carlos Salcido. Herrera’s reason for not calling up either player is a straightforward and logical one as he stated since neither player would be in consideration to play at the next World Cup.

This is a case where Miguel Herrera is right to have stated this and made this known as he begins to embark on preparing his team to be ready to compete and win the Copa America and 2015 Gold Cup. While Marquez and to a lesser extent Salcido had value and were vital members of the 2014 World Cup squad,they were short-term solutions to a short-term task.

Now that Miguel Herrera will have a chance to work for a complete four-year cycle (assuming this is allowed to happen) he will get the chance to develop a squad and give himself options in who he can select to play in defense. The leadership aspect which they lose with Marquez in time will be replaced and assumed by players like Hector Moreno, Miguel Layun, midfielder Andres Guardado, and even a darkhorse candidate in Jose Juan Vasquez.

In terms of whom will come into the fold with the likes of Marquez, Salcido, and Javier ‘Maza’ Rodriguez no longer being taken into account, expect to see Hector Moreno once he returns from injury to become the leader on defense with Diego Reyes hopefully continuing his maturation as a player. Another player who was on the cusp of being part of the World Cup squad but could not because of injury is CF Monterrey defender Hiram Mier who now is back healthy and playing well. In addition to Mier, Pachuca defenders Hugo Rodriguez, Miguel Herrera (no relation to the National Team coach), and Rodolfo Pizarro are expected to get a look. Other players who now stand a chance to be in the mix are Santos Laguna defenders Oswaldo Alanis and Jose Abella while Tigres UANL defenders Hugo Ayala and Jorge Torres Nilo can once again be in contention for the national team again.

The start of a new World Cup cycle always represents a chance for national team coaches to be able to form and develop national team squads with players who they identify as players whom they can see making it to the next World Cup if their team qualifies. For Miguel Herrera and Mexico, by stating that Rafael Marquez and Carlos Salcido will no longer be called up, it will give Herrera and the players he selects a chance to build towards the 2018 World Cup with a successful run in mind. No better time to start this than with the two friendlies to come in September.

Lucas Carreras is a contributing Mexican National Team and Liga MX writer for Stoppage Time Soccer. You can follow Lucas on Twitter by following him @maldini3fan

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