All of a sudden Mexico is on just one point in qualifying, are heading to Honduras on Friday for a very tough match and could come out of their first two matches at the bottom of the Hex. That isn't quite what El Tri envisioned.
Even if Mexico does lose in San Pedro Sula they will still be the best team in CONCACAF, will probably come on strong and finish top of the Hex. But the team will have serious doubts for the first time. They will be challenged for the first time. Manager Jose "Chepo" Manuel de la Torre will be under fire. Mexico will meet strong scrutiny.
An injury to Oribe Peralta has ruled him out of the match in Honduras and likely forces Chepo to dump his recently favored 4-4-2 in favor of a formation that uses Javier Hernandez as a lone striker. That will mean Andre Guardado and likely Javier Aquino on the wings and Giovani dos Santos underneath, a fearsome quartet that could cause Honduras problems.
But Honduras has some firepower of their own and have a team that could bully Mexico. Roger Espinoza is a menace in the midfield and the centerback duo that melds the power of Victor Bernardez with the mobility of Maynor Figueroa is pretty well suited to play with El Tri. If Jerry Bengston and Carlo Costly can take advantage of the chances the ofte shaky Mexican defense will likely present, the Hondurans could follow up their Hex opening win over the United States with a win over Mexico to jump to the top of the the group.
Match date/time: Friday, March 22; 5 p.m. ET
Venue: Estadio Olimpico, San Pedro Sula, Honduras
TV: Telemundo (USA)