The Ajaccio goalkeeper has been in fine form this season, but will face competition for the Mexico starting position.It was a bittersweet 100th appearance in Europe for Guillermo Ochoa this weekend.
On one hand, it is a notable accomplishment and the praise he has received during his time in Ligue 1 has been widespread. The former America ‘keeper has made his mark and developed as a player.
But the milestone was also tainted by Ajaccio’s 2-0 loss away to Nice, leaving the Corsican club dead last in the league, with a full 12-point gap between the team and safety.
Ochoa is reportedly in the midst of gaining French citizenship and his contract runs out this summer, meaning he is almost certain to move on from Ajaccio in the near future.
At present, it might be better sooner rather than later, but the visa issue – which would make him an EU national and therefore much more appealing to leagues with foreigner caps – could mean he waits until after the World Cup.
But playing for a side with one win in 21 matches this season can’t exactly fill Mexico coach Miguel Herrera with confidence, even if the team’s poor performances are not down to Ochoa and without him, the club might already be playing second division football.
A step up to a better club would do Ochoa’s chances no harm at all as Mexico’s only goalkeeper based in Europe, with the competition for the goalkeeping place as fierce as ever in the national team.
Over at Cruz Azul, Jesus Corona is in fine form. The former Estudiantes Tecos ‘keeper has conceded just one goal in the first three games this season and has been at his consistent best of late, saving his team on numerous occasions.
For El Tri in 2013, Corona made a mistake for Eddie Johnson’s opener for the United States and was at fault for Jerry Bengston’s equalizer for Honduras, but he also saved Mexico in a number of other games, including both Jamaica matches, and Costa Rica in the Estadio Azteca.
Herrera also seems to like Corona, saying he had the talent to play in Europe last August when he was still America coach, and Ochoa was controversially not included in Jose Manuel de la Torre’s squad.
“If ‘Chuy’ had a free pass to try out in Europe, he would stay due to his quality,” Herrera said in a press conference.
The current Mexico coach, in the same press conference, went on to name Moises Munoz, Alfredo Talavera and Cirilo Saucedo as ‘keepers that could start for El Tri in goal without any problem.
Munoz might have been Herrera’s trusted shot-stopper at Club America, but the coach knows Corona very well from their time together in Guadalajara with Estudiantes Tecos.
Although Munoz got the nod for the World Cup playoff games against New Zealand, Herrera said it was due to him being more in-tune with the other players – six of whom were his teammates at America.
The No. 1 shirt seems to be between Ochoa, Corona, and Munoz at present
Toluca’s Talavera is another highly talented ‘keeper and is capable of the spectacular, but he would seem to be out of the squad, with Jonathan Orozco – whom Herrera knew at Monterrey – and Saucedo slightly further down the pecking order.