Mexico is hurting. The poor management reign of Sven Goran Eriksson all but threw out the successful Copa America run in 2007 under Hugo Sanchez and brought Mexico to its lowest point since the struggles of the 2001 hexagonal.
But Mexico is never to be underestimated. Man for man, when healthy and calling up a full squad, El Tri still has more accomplished and quality players than anyone else in CONCACAF. No other side can trot out a two time UEFA Champions League winner in Rafa Marquez (even though he is hurt for today’s game.) No other team has two Bundesliga winners in their squad, even though Pavel Pardo appears to be out of the mix,while Javier Aguirre manages the team. No other CONCACAF opponent fields a player of Jorge Salcido’s track record in the tough Dutch league.
Carlos Vela has the potential to be one of the best smallish strikers in the Barclays Premier League. While Jozy Altiodre has gotten a lot of love , and rightfully so from American fans, Vela is ahead of him in terms of development and playing for Arsenal says a great deal more than playing for Hull City.
Mexico fills out its squad with players largely based in Mexican Primera Division, a league ranked the 8th toughest in the world by the IFFHS after last season. The other leagues in CONCACAF, were all ranked outside the top 40 in the worldwide ranking.
Sleeping on Mexico is a bad idea. They are hurting no doubt and the United States has never had a better chance to beat them on Mexican soil than they do today. But, El Tri still has the tools, and the pedigree to blow the United States and every other CONCACAF country away if they can get their psychological mindset right, and the players house in order.
Even if Mexico loses today, they have the talent and quality to recover and should they qualify for South Africa 2010, have a deep and successful tournament run.