LOS ANGELES — Miguel Herrera has a selection headache.
It's an ailment which has afflicted many national team managers, with two players capable of filling the same position forcing the manager to rub their temples in hopes of alleviating the difficult decision of which player deserves to start.
But while it may be unpleasant, it also is more of a blessing than any sort of medical issue.
The Mexican press has made much of the competition in goal between Guillermo Ochoa and Jesus Corona. Ochoa starred at the World Cup, nearly single-handedly keeping Mexico in its Group A match with Brazil. He has struggled to find playing time since a summer move to Malaga. While Cruz Azul shot stopper Corona lost out on the starting job for Brazil, he has kept himself at a high level and is one of the first names on the team sheet for his club.
Herrera said he wanted to see Corona in goal Saturday, and "Chuy" put on a show. Ecuador put six shots on target, and Corona stopped them all. Most impressive was his penalty save. After Diego Reyes was whistled for a penalty, perhaps softly, for bringing Angel Mena to the ground, Miler Bolanos stepped up looking to give the South Americans the equalizer. His shot was hit to the goalkeeper's right, and Corona jumped to deny it with both hands.
After the match, he was asked about his celebration, the keeper leaping to his feat and roaring with joy. While it might have been better suited for a more important match, Corona said in that moment he was "very happy. Any time you save a penalty it makes you happy, no matter the occasion."
Add Saturday's strong showing to reports Ochoa may have to return to Malaga early, and it's possible Corona is edging toward the top job. It's a good year for Herrera to have two goalkeepers who clearly can shine at the international level. He hasn't revealed his plans yet - whether he'll take an A team to the Gold Cup and a B team to June's Copa America or if he'll mix the two - but he's going to need at least six goalkeepers.
The question becomes whether he'll take Corona and Ochoa to different tournaments or keep them with the same side, though one of their talents might be wasted. Either way, Corona showed Saturday night that he's ready for the big time. Ecuador's attack featured Jefferson Montero, though the Premier League winger made way with an injury just before the break, an active Bolanos, Antonio Valencia and a few set-piece threats. They were all emphatically denied.
Having two capable keepers is a nice problem to have, but if you see Herrera popping ibuprofen and chugging water, you'll know why. The selection headache might only intensify before the summer.