Mexico Vs. USA, 2012 International Friendly: El Tri Still Looking For Central Midfielders

Mexico have their best team in decades, if not ever. They are solid at the back and their attacking quartet of Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez, Andres Guardado, Pablo Barrera and Giovani dos Santos is absolutely deadly. Liga MX is also continually getting better and the success of the Mexican youth teams at the U-17, U-20 and U-23 level is an indicator of what should be sustained success. El Tri just have one problem -- central midfield.

This isn't a new problem for Mexico. They leaned heavily on Gerardo Torrado all the way through last year's Gold Cup, but the midfielder was aging and couldn't keep up his form forever. So what would Mexico do? They still haven't figured it out.

El Tri like to play in a 4-2-3-1 and they are good everywhere except in the band of two. That just happens to be an incredibly important two, as anyone who has ever watched the sport will tell you.

The good news for Mexico is that they are not short on options. Jesus Zavala appears to have a lock on one spot in the double pivot and for good reason. At 6'3'', he is plenty physical enough and he reads the game extremely well. Zavala's passing is also better than he gets credit for and he is plenty experienced with 13 caps for Mexico and two Liga MX titles and two CONCACAF Champions League titles with Monterrey.

But who will play next to him? On Wednesday against the United States it will be Manuel Viniegra. The Tigres player has been very consistent for his club and he also has a Liga MX title, winning the Apertura in 2011. Being merely consistent would be a nice step up for El Tri, who has struggled to get that from their central midfielders and Viniegra has an opportunity to really make his case for the starting spot with a good performance against the Americans.

If Viniegra fails to impress, Hector Herrera might be the next player to get his chance at the spot next to Zavala. The 22-year-old has been very good for Pachuca since making his debut last year and was one of the stars of Mexico's U-23 team this summer. First he was named best player at the Toulon Tournament early in the summer and then he shined at the Olympics, helping El Tri to the gold medal. His passing and range make him an excellent partner to Zavala as well and while he is like the rest of the Olympic team and not playing against U.S., he could be the man who wins the job down the road.

Elsewhere, there are players like Jonathan dos Santos, Jorge Enriquez, Edgar Lugo and even the older guys like Torrado and Israel Castro. Carlos Salcido could also make the move to the midfield and play in that double pivot.

There are plenty of options for Mexico so that isn't the problem, but sorting through those options and identifying which two are going to man that double pivot are. If they can figure it out and solidify that central midfield to go with the rest of that excellent team, watch out.

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