Head coach Jose Manuel de la Torre of Mexico looks on as he leads his team against New Zealand at INVESCO Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado. Mexico defeated New Zealand 3-0 in their international friendly. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
'Chepo' Jose Manuel de la Torre looks for his first win in Mexico as El Tri manager when his side host Serbia on Friday night.
Mexico manager 'Chepo' Jose Manuel de la Torre has been on the job for almost a year now and is off to a fantastic start, but has yet to win a match at home. In the build-up to the 2011 Gold Cup - which Mexico won - and in the immediate time afterwards, El Tri played all of their friendlies in the United States. During the last international break, Mexico played Brazil in Torreon and fell 2-1, thanks to two late goals.
Thanks to all of that, Chepo is a very successful manager, despite the fact that he doesn't have a home win. Fans will be expecting him to change that on Friday night, as Mexico hosts Serbia in Queretaro. El Tri's side is almost completely a full side, and they should be able to field an extremely strong lineup.
Gerardo Torrado is the only clear-cut first choice player missing from the squad. Veteran defender Rafael Marquez is out due to poor performances with his club side New York Red Bulls, while Aldo de Nigris has struggled with injuries this season and is now below Oribe Peralta in the pecking order. 'Chicharito' Javier Hernandez, Andres Guardado and 'Maza' Fransisco Rodriguez, thought of as the most untouchable fixtures in the starting XI, are all expected to start the match.
Serbia boast a strong side that should challenge Mexico, featuring Fiorentina attacking midfielder Adem Ljajić, Juventus winger Miloš Krasić and Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanović, among others. Caretaker manager Radovan Curcic isn't expected to change much systematically from the team under Vladimir Petrovic, who was fired after Serbia failed to qualify for Euro 2012.
Kickoff is at 9:00 pm ET, and the game can be seen in the USA on Univision. For more on El Tri and Mexican football in general, visit SB Nation's Mexican futbol blog FMF State Of Mind.