'Chepo' Jose Manuel de la Torre Still Mulling Mexico's Midfield Options

Jose Manuel de la Torre has done a lot to stabilize the Mexican national team, and a number of young players have improved significantly during his reign. His attacking 4-2-3-1 with Javier Hernandez leading the line presents various matchup problems for most teams going forward. They're good enough that they mask El Tri's problems against average teams, but the hole in Mexico's side might get found out on Saturday against Brazil.

Mexico is currently in the process of figuring out what to do with their center of midfield. Gerardo Torrado, with 135 caps to his name, has been a rock in the middle for over a decade, but his career is coming to an end. Fitness issues plagued his season with Cruz Azul, and at 33-years-old, the time has come to find a replacement for him in the middle. His partner at the Gold Cup and at Cruz Azul, Israel Castro, is now 31 and coming off a poor season as well.


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El Tri has plenty of quality -- and young quality at that -- to pick from in the center, but 'Chepo' hasn't been able to settle on anyone. Monterrey pair Jesus Zavala and Jose Ernesto Perez got a run-out against Wales, but Perez is on the wrong side of 30 and an average defensive player. Against Bosnia-Herzegovia, natural fullback Carlos Salcido played in the center while Jose Torres Nilo played left back. In addition to not being an actual midfielder, Salcido is also on the wrong side of 30.

Some of de la Torre's best options for the center of midfield aren't available against Brazil because they're with the Under-23 team, but post-Olympics, he'd do well to bring one or two of those players into the team. Hector Herrera had an excellent Toulon Tournament with the Under-23 side, while Jorge Enriquez has performed very well at Under-20 and Under-23 level, as well as for his club team Chivas. He also has some other talented, but currently out of form (and out of squad) options in Jonathan Dos Santos and David Cabrera.

Jesus Molina is currently with the Mexico squad, but he hasn't gotten a shot at playing with Zavala yet. Zavala, the massive and versatile 24-year-old Monterrey star, seems to be locked into one place in Chepo's midfield of the future. He needs to work on finding the other piece now, before Mexico starts playing competitive matches against good opposition. Molina might not be the answer, but it's time for him to get a three-game run. Perez and Salcido are, without a doubt, not going to be de la Torre's best midfield options going forward.

We'll have updates and live coverage in our Brazil vs. Mexico StoryStream. For more on Mexican football, head over to FMF State Of Mind.

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