Mexico has its eyes set on finishing the Hex undefeated and with a Tuesday win over Honduras would set the record for most points achieved in the final round of World Cup qualification by CONCACAF team since the Hex was adopted prior to the 1998 World Cup.
Manager Juan Carlos Osorio said at a news conference Monday that the starting XI he chooses will show a desire to win. But how exactly will that look? Below, Goal takes a look at three potential lineups.
Remember, there are a number of absences from the squad originally called in. Hirving Lozano and Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez didn't travel to Honduras with the team, Lozano because of an injury and Chicharito because of a personal matter. Center back Hector Moreno is suspended because of yellow card accumulation.
Fighting fire with fire
Honduras coach Jorge Luis Pinto is known for using a five-man back line but actually generally has used a four-man back line in recent World Cup qualification matches. Still, Osorio has often used a formation with three center backs, and with Moreno out this is a chance for Oswaldo Alanis, Diego Reyes and Hugo Ayala all to get a run out. This also gives Edson Alvarez an opportunity to continue getting comfort outside of the center, though he could be the right center back with Carlos Salcedo again playing right back.
There's plenty of experience in the middle and up front, though this team may not get enough width for Osorio, who likes his wingers to have their boots on the line as they move up and down the field. Perhaps, though, he feels the fullbacks can provide enough going forward to use this alignment.
Keeping it simple
Osorio's favorite formation is the standard 4-3-3, and he could use it with few modifications. Diego Reyes would be able to repeat his role at right center back, getting important reps while he struggles for minutes at the club level. We've once again inserted Alvarez at right back as Salcedo playing two full qualification matches so soon after injury does not seem like the most enticing option.
Up front, Raul Jimenez easily slots into the spot typically inhabited by Chicharito, with Jesus Corona again getting a start on the wing and Carlos Vela having a chance to improve on his disappointing substitute showing against the Soca Warriors.
With Osorio's mind set on 35 potential players who could be on his World Cup squad, there isn't all that much space for players to emerge. They missed that chance if they didn't stand out at the Gold Cup. With that said, this lineup gets three players from that team: Alvarez, Erick Gutierrez and Elias Hernandez on the field to show what they can do with what otherwise is as close to Mexico's best as Osorio can put together in this match.