With Andres Guardado’s fitness a question, Tata Martino may need to turn to a different player as his left interior midfielder
Two more games and then, if it all goes right for Mexico, the trophy.
El Tri must see off a Haitian team El Tri manager Tata Martino called the revelation of the tournament to get into Sunday’s Gold Cup final against either the United States or Jamaica.
With Martino suspended after getting booked twice this competition, Jorge Theiler will be calling the shots on the touchline. But you can bet Martino has picked the starting XI. As we do before each match, Goal has three projections for what Martino may utilize. Check back before the first half to see the confirmed starting XI.
Confirmed Mexico starting XI right here!
Andres Guardado, the team’s left interior midfielder, captain and spiritual leader, may or may not be fit for this match. Martino said he wouldn’t hold anyone out of the semifinal to keep them fresh, even with a quick turnaround, but he also doesn’t want to run the risk of further injury to anyone. In this lineup, we have Carlos Rodriguez moving over from his normal right midfielder slot and playing on the left. Jonathan dos Santos keeps his place on the right with Edson Alvarez again in the middle.
At the back, Hector Moreno seems to be fit enough to get the nod. The left-footed center back played his first minutes of the tournament late in El Tri’s quarterfinal against Costa Rica. If not, look for another Nestor Araujo-Carlos Salcedo partnership. The typical fullbacks are good to go with Jesus Gallardo on the left and Luis “Chaka” Rodriguez on the right.
In goal, Guillermo Ochoa is a lock after his star showing in the penalty shootout against the Ticos.
Up top, this lineup is unchanged. Uriel Antuna looks to have earned his starting place, Rodolfo Pizarro’s creativity always is welcomed and Raul Jimenez scored a great goal against Costa Rica and could be poised for a big match.
This is the same lineup, but with Guardado fit and able to start the match and captain the team.
I think Rodriguez would likely get the nod in the midfield still, in no small part because he and Dos Santos have been alternating at that position. The other consideration is Dos Santos coming out of Saturday’s game with a cramp. It may just have been a cramp, but there’s really no drop-off to Rodriguez and Dos Santos could perhaps use the rest.
Playing it safe
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If Martino wanted to (or was forced to) rest both Guardado and Dos Santos, he could deploy Roberto Alvarado, who has played winger this tournament but plays interior midfielder at times for his club, in the middle.
And, if he’s playing it safe, he could leave Moreno on the bench as well, putting Araujo and Salcedo together in the XI.
Orbelin Pineda also could step in. Luis Montes is another candidate to play interior midfielder, though he’s more comfortable in a more advanced position.