Hector Herrera showing old form and five thoughts from Mexico's draw

Hector Herrera Mexico
Pedro Pardo
Goal looks back at Sunday's qualifier against the U.S. with thoughts on the Porto midfielder's uptick in form, El Tri's fullback issues and more

The Mexico national team already has moved on from Sunday's draw against the United States.

Really, there was no other choice. The team flew overnight to Amsterdam and will train in the Dutch capital before heading to Russia ahead of Sunday's Confederations Cup opener against Portugal.

Where were Lozano & Chicharito in Mexico's WCQ?

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While coach Juan Carlos Osorio and his charges may already be game-planning for Cristiano Ronaldo and European champions, we haven't forgotten the World Cup qualifier. Let's dive into five thoughts that occurred during the 1-1 stalemate...

HH is Russia-ready

Hector Herrera Mexico Bobby Wood USA

Hector Herrera did it all Sunday night. He created chances, thwarted U.S. attacks (winning nine of 12 duels, according to Opta stats), made tackles and hit the post with a stunning free kick from distance. The moment that best sums up Herrera's match came in the first half when he darted back to stop a Christian Pulisic run and, after winning the ball, sent the 18-year-old flying past him by faking a clearance he eventually dribbled back into the midfield.  

Jonathan dos Santos, his partner in the middle of midfield, also had a fine game, but that's become the norm for the Villarreal man. Herrera, by contrast, has seen his time with Porto slashed and when he's suited up for El Tri has looked far from the breakout star who put in so much work for Mexico at the 2014 World Cup.

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We thought that by now HH would be at an even bigger club, and even this winter a move to Napoli seemed to be in the works only to fall apart, but those hopes had diminished as his minutes did the same. The player's club future will be of less concern for Osorio and Mexico fans than his ability. In both Thursday's game against Honduras and Sunday's against the U.S., Herrera showed that player we saw in Brazil is still there. The Baja California native is back in good form and could be critical in the Confederations Cup.

Corona will be missed

Jesus Corona Mexico Republic of Ireland

Mexico will not be able to rely on Jesus "Tecatito" Corona during the Confederations Cup after the player withdrew because of a personal matter, and it was clear Sunday that he'll be missed. Perhaps it's better to say that he was missed already. The United States was able to shut down Hirving Lozano on the left side and while substitute Javier Aquino is a quality player, the game needed someone better at making opportunities for themselves rather than setting up others. Look no further than the goal Mexico was able to score with Carlos Vela able to get past DaMarcus Beasley and put his shot past an American defense that was deadset on keeping its assignments.

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The 24-year-old winger has grown into as close of a fixture as you can get with Osorio's teams and is tied with Chicharito for most goals scored for El Tri in the Osorio era with five. Lozano should be able to provide plenty of danger from the left side, but Corona's talent and the simple depth of being able to bring one of the speedy players off the bench against tired defenders are both things Osorio will be pining for in the upcoming tournament.

Fullbacks still a concern

Kellyn Acosta USA Jesus Gallardo Mexico

The good news for Mexico on the outside of defense is that Miguel Layun reportedly is fit and ready to play in the Confederations Cup. The bad news is there's only one of him. Layun is Mexico's best left back and best right back. Osorio's experiment of the Porto defender playing in the midfield seems to be over, perhaps rendered simply unnecessary because of Jona dos Santos and Herrera locking down those places, plus Andres Guardado's expected return from injury as well.

So, if Layun slots in at his typical position at left back, Mexico still would need Carlos Salcedo there. While the converted center back wasn't poor against the U.S., the idea of Ronaldo bearing down on the former Chivas defender doesn't inspire positive thoughts. Osorio may be tempted to put Layun on the right but then who plays on the left? If he doesn't have the confidence to put Luis Reyes there to shut down Paul Arriola, would he put him out there to go against Andre Silva or Ricardo Quaresma?

Alanis gamble doesn't pay

Oswaldo Alanis Mexico

Speaking of fullback difficulties, Osorio elected to put one of the bright spots against Honduras, Oswaldo Alanis, back on the field against the U.S. The Chivas center back had filled in admirably for the rested Hector Moreno but with Moreno back in the lineup scooted over to the left side. It was a gamble that Osorio lost on, deciding to cut his losses after a half-hour and replacing him with Jesus Gallardo.

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Alanis didn't get forward enough to keep Paul Arriola and DeAndre Yedlin from coming up the right side. Gallardo was able to get forward a bit more, but the Pumas winger is not on the Confederations Cup squad, instead heading for the Gold Cup. If Osorio was hoping to have Alanis as an option at left back against Portugal, New Zealand and Russia, he may be recalculating right now. Alanis looked as uncomfortable with the unfamiliar role as he did comfortable playing center back four days before.

Health (mostly) in tact for Russia

Guillermo Ochoa Mexico

One of the bright spots for Osorio has to be that his team made it through two friendly matches and two World Cup qualifiers without picking up any new serious injuries. Obviously Corona's non-soccer absence is a blow, but that's different from losing a player to a torn ACL after a tackle from an overzealous Honduran or American defender.

Miguel Layun and Andres Guardado both are expected to be at 100 percent for the tournament after missing out on the qualifiers, while Rafa Marquez's status is a bit more uncertain. The good news is that with the rest of his team healthy, Osorio doesn't need to call on the 38-year-old unless Marquez is totally ready to go.