Oswaldo or Ochoa? Ochoa or Oswaldo? Mexico manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has a dilemma on his hands. Goal.com's Sylvestre Adame has a solution.
Oswaldo Sanchez or Guillermo Ochoa - who will get the call in goal? One of the biggest questions leading up to Mexico's game against Costa Rica on Saturday is who will get the start at goal. Oswaldo Sanchez, Guillermo Ochoa, and Jose De Jesus Corona were the three goalkeepers called in for the match. But there's only room for one, and the most likely candidates are Sanchez and Ochoa.
We are now in the Hexagonal stage for the qualification of the World Cup and it is uncertain who Sven Goran Eriksson’s number-one choice for goalkeeper is. This shouldn’t be happening; the goalkeeper should have been established a long time ago. The Hexagonal round is not for you to tinker around with your players; it’s to qualify for the World Cup.
One could make the argument that both these goalkeepers are good and Eriksson has had a tough time deciding between both. But one of these keepers offers more than the other which should make him a clear choice for Eriksson right?
Oswaldo Sanchez positives
Sanchez brings in experience to the squad. He had his first cap in 1996 and since then has made 99 appearances for Mexico. He has been the clear favorite of Eriksson who has chosen him to play eight times over Ochoa’s four. Sanchez had a good performance in the 2006 World Cup despite playing with his father’s death fresh on his mind.
Oswaldo Sanchez is 35 and has not been at the top of his game for a long time. But goalkeepers Edwin Van Der Sar (Manchester United) and Brad Friedel (Aston Villa) have been like a great wine, they got better with age. That’s not going to happen with Sanchez - he might still be good but will not be great.
Oswaldo made mistakes against the U.S. that should have made Eriksson give the nod to someone else. He let a pretty simple save slip right past him to give the U.S. a two-goal advantage. Most of the Mexican fans and media do not want Sanchez back. They want someone new, some one fresh, some one like Ochoa.
Guillermo Ochoa positives
Ochoa’s mere presence between the goal says it all. Mexico looks new and rejuvenated just by him standing between the posts. If you see Sanchez there, you get the picture of old, and their recent failure. “Memo” will also be faster between the posts. He has played in important games against important clubs. Most importantly El Azteca is his turf he knows. Ochoa needs as much time now so he will be ready for the World Cup - yes, Mexico will qualify. The Ochoa Era has to begin and it has to begin now.
Just two negatives for Ochoa: 1) He is inexperienced. He might need just a little more time. Goalkeepers like him don’t come often and Eriksson needs to recognize that. 2) He is playing in a club that hasn’t seen much success lately. He should have been sent off to Europe a long time ago. We can just hope that America can finally release him and he can flourish in Europe.
Choice to be in goal:
Drum Roll………………………….Guillermo Ochoa
Sylvestre Adame covers Mexican soccer for Goal.com.