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Tri almost perfect, but not as Chepo imagined
by Paul Kennedy, June 12th, 2013 7:37PM

TAGS:  mexico, world cup 2014


[MEXICO] On the eve of the Hexagonal, Mexico coach Jose Manuel de la Torre, then 12-0-0 with the Tri in official competition, boasted that his goal for the final round of World Cup qualifying was to go 10-for-10. Six games into the Hexagonal, Chepo looks rather foolish. If you throw out the 1-0 win at Jamaica on Day 6 -- moved ahead two weeks because of its participation in the Confederations Cup -- Mexico would be a perfect 5-for-5 -- five draws -- and sit in fifth place at the halfway point.

As it stands, Mexico sits in a tie for second place on eight points with Costa Rica, which has a game in hand. Barring road wins by Honduras and Panama next Tuesday, Mexico will sit no worse than tied for third place after six games.

Four years ago, Mexico was fourth in the Hexagonal at the midway point with six points but went on to take 13 of its final 15 points and qualify easily. Twelve years ago, the Tri was fifth with just four points, four behind the third-place team, Honduras, after back-to-back losses -- including its only home loss ever in qualifying -- when Javier Aguirre was brought at the last minute for the game against the USA and Mexico won, 2-1, putting it on course to qualify again with 13 of its final 15 points.

After such a horrible start to the 2013 Hexagonal, you'd think de la Torre would get the picture.

"I prepare myself every day to win," he said after Tuesday's 0-0 tie with Costa Rica -- its third straight scoreless draw at home in the Hexagonal.

Before the game against the Ticos, Chepo called it a must-win situation.

“At home, we have to make our advantage count,” he said. “For me, a win is necessary to get the points to be in a good position in the standings.”

Thanks to his 12-0-0 start -- 6-0-0 in the semifinal round of qualifying and 6-0-0 in the 2011 Gold Cup -- De la Torre is still looking to become just the second Mexico coach in the last 30 years to survive the entire qualifying campaign. Ricardo La Volpe did so in 2004-05, but Mexico then employed four national team coaches in 2008-09.

So did Chepo have any thoughts of resigning after Tuesday's game?

“I’ve never thought about resigning," he said.

  1. Chris Sapien
    commented on: June 12, 2013 at 7:47 p.m.
    They should put Luis in charge....

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: June 13, 2013 at 9:27 a.m.
    What is foolish is SA writers slamming Mexico every chance they get but yet tone it down quite a bit when talking about the USMNT !! Mexican media dont need your help SA. They are slamming Chepo and the entire team much harder than you are. And thats a good thing. It makes the Mexican team accountable to it's people. You should try it some time. Your bias is very clear. Instead of wasting your time with another country's soccer problems why dont you look a little deeper at our USMNT issues at all levels?? That would be time better spent for you and should be your top priority. Mexico has won at a higher level than anybody else in Concacaf. They recently won the Gold in the Olympics!! Why wouldnt Chepo set 10-0 as a goal for his team in this Hex?? Was it not a realistic goal for him to set at the moment ?? What is foolish is "hoping" for a team to win even though it has the biggest player pool in the world and a superpower economy with unmatched infrastructure. That is truly foolish. I am not surprised by this journalism.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: June 13, 2013 at 9:37 a.m.
    Chepo should expect to win and that should be the attitudde of a country's team and coach that is at the level of Mexico. SA should be writing about how farther along USA should now be as a Soccer World Power given all these facts. Biggest player pool in the world, by far, 2. Most $$$, 3. Only country in the hex with youth organized soccer, 4. Now too many Hispanic players getting recruited by their 2nd countries. Write about this : IF we are losing so many players to Nationals teams like Mexico's then we should have a much better National team than they do. That would be true journalism!!

  1. Gus Keri
    commented on: June 13, 2013 at 10:32 a.m.
    Luis: Before you write a comment you need to sit back and take a deep breath. Your bias toward Mexican soccer and against American soccer is scary. "slamming Mexico every chance they get"? Nothing they wrote here is untrue. "but yet tone it down quite a bit when talking about the USMNT"? Apparently, you don't read Paul Gardner's columns.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: June 13, 2013 at 10:35 a.m.
    Foolish?? Was the one that stuck out at me. I wouldnt mind it if they werent so scared to critisize the USMNT the same way. Appraently, you missed the point. Paul gardner doesnt write columns for SA. Does he??

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: June 13, 2013 at 10:41 a.m.
    Gus, when it comes to holding Mexico accountable and critisizing every single aspect of their short comings, nobody does it better than all of the Mexican Media. But when it comes to American media and SA in particular, they seem to think it fit to mostly criticize Mexico and not USA. Remember the " Epic Battle of VAtos" column posted on SA by this very same writer ?? That was posted when Mexico played USA in the U20 Concacaf Final. This title was later changed because of complaints they received. All I am asking is to spread it out evenly.

  1. John Peters
    commented on: June 13, 2013 at 11:02 a.m.
    I agree with Luis, we have problems of our own to analyze and scrutinized. One big one is named Jurgen... the way we are playing is scary. Let us not fool ourselves by the latest game against Panama. we are not making progress, write about what Jurgen needs to do to bring creativity into this team. Write about why Donovan hasn't been call back yet...write about what is happening to Bocanegra...write about increasing level of interest in our own league...if you are going to write about international soccer, cover topics of real interest. Mexico has done a wonderful job lately, unfortunately, like any other NT is going through a tough time right now... that makes teams better. Let us see them in an international display tournament like Confederations, where we are not participating because an amazing displayed of soccer by Mexico last year. Here it is...

  1. John Soares
    commented on: June 13, 2013 at 12:49 p.m.
    Mexico is going through a rather embarrassing stage at the moment.... Embarrassing by by "their" standards. Three ties at Azteca, three games without a goal. With the quality this team can put on the field it is not what anyone expected. They will get over it and win or come in second in the group. In the meantime they must look in the mirror first and work on fixing it. Happens to most NT teams. Anyone seen Brazil lately now rated in the 20s. Anyone really believe Brazil is done?! Finally; You should always play to win AND expect to win. Especially if you are Mexico OR USA in the CONCACAF:)

  1. 0 M
    commented on: June 13, 2013 at 12:53 p.m.
    Please explain why professional players sometimes play like amateur youth players. It's embarrassing and unacceptable.

  1. Gordon Hayes
    commented on: June 18, 2013 at 11:04 a.m.

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