Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti is an experienced manager at the club level, but the interim Mexico boss seemed a little shell-shocked after his first full international window in charge of the national team. After a draw against Argentina early in September, the interim Mexico manager said he would call only players who can report on time to Oct. 10’s CONCACAF Confederations Cup playoff. It seemed the Tigres boss was trying to get a handle on the quick adjustments that must be made in limited time at the international level.
He also gave some hints about what kind of squad he would call in to face the United States, and while that roster is ready, so far he’s among the only people who know what it will look like. But examining at the qualities he’s mentioned and how players have performed since the last international break can help us take a few educated guesses at players who have done enough to sway the manager’s preconceived notions.
Moving the needle
Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez: Although he scored from the spot against Argentina, Hernandez missed a number of wide open chances and eventually got the hook from Ferretti, which might have left the Tigres coach wondering if the 27-year-old is right to start against the U.S. But since the international window he’s scored in two of five matches with new club Bayer Leverkusen.
Diego Reyes: The center back is becoming one of the first names on Mexico’s team sheet, especially with Rafa Marquez injured. Lack of playing time at the club level was a concern, but Reyes made 10 clearances and passed well out of the back for Real Sociedad on Sunday in a Basque derby draw with Athletic. Reyes keeps getting minutes from David Moyes, which should make it easy for Ferretti to start him next to Hector Moreno at the back.
Giovani dos Santos: After missing the September friendly matches for what Mexico insisted were “sporting reasons,” the LA Galaxy attacker has continued to show good form. He scored once and helped craft another goal in the Galaxy’s Sunday win against FC Dallas. Dos Santos is back on the provisional roster, and if only his play is taken into account, he’ll make the cut down to 23.
Carlos Vela: The Real Sociedad attacker was one of only a handful of players to get minutes in both Mexico’s September friendlies, but he wasn’t able to put his stamp on either match. After returning to Real Sociedad, Vela’s play has been overshadowed by Reyes and other teammates. He’s yet to score this season, and with a number of Mexican attackers in better form, his starting role might be in jeopardy – something that seemed unthinkable just a few weeks ago.