Tom Marshall: Which striker should back up Chicharito for Mexico?

Who should be in the backup striker for El Tri, with Manchester United striker Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez the undisputed No. 1 in that position?
The remaining weeks of the Liga MX should provide a fascinating battle between Mexican strikers jockeying for position ahead of the summer’s vital national team qualifiers, the Gold Cup and the Confederations Cup.

The good news for Mexico fans is that there are a plethora of players banging goals in at present and plenty of competition for the spots, with Aldo de Nigris, Oribe Peralta and Raul Jimenez the main contenders and all in rich veins of form.

A look at the Liga MX scoring chart shows Jimenez and Peralta on seven goals each, with De Nigris on six goals. (Emanuel Villa, who is from Argentina, tops the charts with eight goals.)

It was De Nigris who missed out on the call-up to the last Mexico squad, not even getting the shout after Peralta had been ruled out due to injury.

But that only seems to have fired-up the 29-year-old Monterrey man. Though Mexico drew a blank against the United States late last month, De Nigris was the match-winner in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal first leg on Wednesday against the LA Galaxy and he has found form recently after a lean spell in the Apertura championship.

De Nigris’ record over recent seasons is also more than respectable, with 46 goals in 117 appearances since the Apertura 2009 tournament. In international soccer he’s averaged a goal every 124 minutes.

De Nigris’ strength and physical presence provides a different kind of threat for El Tri, adding options if the Monterrey-born player is on the bench.

Then there is Santos Laguna’s Peralta. It has become almost fashionable to pour scorn on the Peralta and Hernandez partnership for El Tri. On one hand, the duo haven’t shown much chemistry together, but it is not difficult to see the potential that must keep Mexico coach Jose Manuel 'Chepo' de la Torre awake at night thinking of how to unleash it.

In Liga MX, Peralta has been on one long scoring streak that has seen him notch 38 goals in his last 60 matches. Wedged in-between the league goals were four goals at the Olympics, which were a huge part of Mexico winning its first ever medal and made Peralta a national hero.

In short, Peralta is the one who can make something happen, score goals from outside the box and do things that are a little bit special.

The wildcard in the pack is America’s Jimenez. The tall 21-year-old striker is on a high after scoring the winning brace in the Clasico last Sunday against Chivas and debuting for El Tri against the United States.

There was purportedly interest from Premier League outfit Stoke City over the winter transfer window and he’s already made giant strides in his career over the last 12 months. He seems the natural heir to De Nigris, but Chepo’s decision to include Jimenez ahead of the Monterrey striker in the last squad could mean his time has come sooner than expected.

The other player that deserves a mention is Omar Bravo. The Atlas forward, like De Nigirs, has six goals this season and was used off the bench in both the last two Mexico games. His advantage is experience and versatility, although it is difficult to see where Bravo fits in with the other three firing on all cylinders.

How busy each of the strikers are this summer will probably depend on their performances the rest of the Liga MX season. The competition will be more than worth tuning in for.

And if Carlos Vela decides he would like to wear La Verde once again, the situation become ever more complicated.

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