In September, when Mexico embarked on the first three games of World Cup qualifying along with the rest of the seven surviving CONCACAF nations, a largely disappointing summer coupled with a lack of key players had a sector of pundits and fans foretelling doom. There were calls for manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino to be fired if El Tri‘s supposed downward spiral continued.
– Stream FC Daily on ESPN+
– MLS on ESPN+: Stream LIVE games and replays (U.S. only)
Three matches later, Mexico sits in first place in the Octagonal, undefeated and with their coach finding newfound job security despite missing two games on the touchline due to eye surgery. To boot, they head into the October slate of matches with those big contributors back — Raul Jimenez, Hirving Lozano, Hector Herrera — in the fold.
Mexico will host a rising and dangerous Canada (Oct. 7) and an always difficult Honduras (Oct. 10) at Estadio Azteca before traveling to upstart El Salvador (Oct. 13). With returning stars in tow and two home games, expectations for Mexico and Martino have flipped — those same pundits and fans will be hoping the results won’t flip, too.
(Editor’s note: players are listed below with name/club; U.S. caps/goals)
Jesus Corona (Porto/POR; 58/10), Rogelio Funes Mori (Monterrey; 10/4), Raul Jimenez (Wolverhampton Wanderers/ENG; 86/27), Hirving Lozano (Napoli/ITA; 48/14), Henry Martin (Club America; 16/4), Uriel Antuna (Chivas; 23/8), Alexis Vega (Chivas; 10/2)
After last month’s COVID-19 travel ban sparked another fight between FIFA and some of the top European leagues, cooler heads prevailed in allowing Raul Jimenez and Hirving Lozano to suit up for Mexico in October, despite the pandemic’s continued presence.
Jimenez and Lozano will immediately slip into starting roles for Martino and lead Mexico’s three-man attacking line — whether they do it with Jesus Corona, who was hot and cold for El Tri in September, remains to be seen. Even amid the…
Source : espn