Juan Carlos Osorio's time in Mexico has come to a close. The Mexican federation announced in July that Osorio will not return despite its efforts to keep him on for the next World Cup cycle.
Osorio is in the mix for the vacant job to lead the U.S. national team, has been contacted about the Colombia national team role with Jose Pekerman not continuing, and has fielded several other offers. It's fair to say opinions on Osorio were mixed, but he ultimately leaves a legacy of changing El Tri's mentality.
He also has left a big hole for the managerial job. While the coaching carousel is slowly beginning to spin, there are no obvious answers for the Mexican federation as to who should replace Osorio.
Let's take a look at a few of the candidates...
Ferretti has coached Mexico on an interim basis before and once again has taken over the position with El Tri in need of a manager. Of course, when asked if he'd continue in the post, he said the job wasn't for him and as recently as a week before the Liga MX season was adamant that despite being asked "50,000 times" if he'd be interested in the job that the answer is still no.
He is, however, beloved by the Liga MX club owners who still have a say in who leads the national team. Reportedly, their hope was to retain Osorio with plan B being to convince Ferretti to take the post. Those efforts are continuing, but Ferretti is a savvy man. He knows he has it good at Tigres where he can see out the final three years on his contract and retire at age 67, without dealing with the headaches that come with leading the Mexican national team.
Though he had a disastrous World Cup with Argentina, Sampaoli is a manager who knows how to take over a team and build toward its goals. That's what he did with Chile, picking up where Marcelo Bielsa left off and helping the country win the Copa America for the first time, then win a second major tournament with the Copa America Centenario. His recent performances haven't been great, but he was tossed into a difficult situation in his native country.
The 58-year-old reportedly likes the idea of taking over El Tri and would be given a good chance to succeed if the federation applied the same conditions with him that it did with Osorio, giving him more control over youth development and also having patience as he builds. But the manager has been criticized lately for losing his touch and abandoning his principles, plus he may be too headstrong to deal with the federation and the press.
Quique Sanchez Flores
The Spanish manager reportedly had conversations with the Mexican federation in August and remains unemployed after being sacked with Espanyol in April. His pragmatic tactics likely would be easier for Mexico's players to work out in a short period of time, and with Espanyol he showed a willingness to play young players that also would benefit El Tri as they look four years into the future.
He's coached outside Spain before in his career but never worked in the Americas. It wouldn't be the hire Mexico fans are expecting, but it's worth remembering that Osorio had a similar (less-distinctive) trajectory in the club game before taking over the national team.
The Argentine parted ways with Chivas this summer after a successful tenure. Eventually, frustrations with the club's directors and their lack of spending led Almeyda to step aside, but not before he'd won the league, the Copa MX and the Concacaf Champions League during his two-and-a-half years in Guadalajara.While at Chivas, Almeyda mentioned his interest in coaching either Mexico or Argentina, and even though he's no longer involved with Chivas he's in no hurry to leave. During his departure, Almeyda said he hoped the club would give him a season ticket so he could continue to watch his players develop. His desire to stay in Mexico looked to only get stronger in the summer when he turned down an opportunity to manage Al Rayyan in Qatar.
As manager of Chivas, which signs and fields only Mexican players, Almeyda has plenty of experience working with and developing Mexican players. He's also expressed plenty of optimism about the future of Mexican soccer. Will the Mexican federation again hire a foreign coach without experience in the international game? And could he overcome his exit from Chivas to once again win over Liga MX owners - including Chivas owner Jorge Vergara? Guillermo Cantu said this week he wouldn't rule out Almeyda, but the coach won't wait forever. He's been linked with Atletico Nacional in Colombia and may give a different answer to returning to South America than he did coaching in the Middle East.
A man who needs no introduction to Mexican soccer fans, it seems enough time has passed since his last stint ended with him getting in a physical altercation with one of the nation's most well-known soccer commentators to have his name back in the mix.
Herrera had a decent tenure with Mexico before his firing and Osorio's subsequent arrival. He rescued El Tri from the brink of missing the World Cup, getting qualified and then to the round of 16 in the 2014 World Cup. He later won the Gold Cup before his fight with the commentator.
The arrival of former Televisa executive Yon de Luisa as the new president of the federation has built on the idea that Herrera could return. Televisa owns Club America, Herrera's current employer, and "El Piojo" knows De Luisa and other decision-makers. But do fans really want Herrera back, knowing his tactical limitations and having seen exactly what he can deliver in his last stint? Some will answer yes, and do so as emphatically as Herrera celebrates goals. Others would be less thrilled with a return.
Speaking of older coaches, there's 68-year-old Jose Pekerman. The Argentine, like Osorio, has a particular way of working and hasn't always been beloved by the football hierarchy of his country. Yet after strong World Cup showings in 2014 and 2018, it's clear the veteran manager has been good for Colombian soccer. He's headed elsewhere after leading Colombia since 2012, officially announcing this week that he won't be returning.
Why not give Pekerman a look with El Tri? The countries are different in some ways, but share plenty of characteristics as 'mid-tier Latin American soccer nations.' Whether, at his age, he'd want to work with a federation that can be as obstinate as the Mexican one could determine whether or not he'd be a serious candidate. That's especially true with the chance to return to Argentina and take on a large role in the setup as the director of football apparently on the table.
Ricardo La Volpe
Not long "El Bigoton" was uploading tactical breakdowns to YouTube and tweeting on topics from football to dating advice. His new job as the head coach of upstart Egyptian club Pyramids FC has him much busier, especially if rumors the club is working to sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic are true. However, things can go wrong quickly at big clubs getting huge investment (remember Anzhi Makhachkala?) so it's not outside the realm of possabiity that La Volpe will be back on the market soon. However, the federation likely can't compete with the wages he's on at the moment.
La Volpe's fingerprints are all over the Mexican game from the tactical modifications he made in the 1990s. That's sort of the issue with hiring La Volpe, though. Rather than a hire seen as taking Mexican soccer forward and building on the progress made by Osorio, it would be the same man who took El Tri to the 2006 World Cup. At 66 years old, La Volpe may be ready for one last go-round before he is off to enjoy retirement. Whether Mexico would hire a coach of his vintage also is a big question.