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Juan Carlos Medina off Mexico World Cup roster due to injury

Mexico's midfield may be a mess without Juan Carlos Medina.

Hannah Johnston

SB Nation 2014 Champions League Preview

Juan Carlos Medina is off Mexico's World Cup roster after suffering a right ankle injury in training. A statement released by the FMF said that Medina would have to undergo surgery to fix his problem and that Mexico has added Miguel Ponce to the World Cup team in his place.

Medina's injury will be a major knock to Mexico's World Cup hopes. The midfielder has been the anchor of Mexico's three-man midfield since Miguel Herrera took over as manager, giving Luis Montes and Carlos Peña, or whomever Herrera opted for in the more attack roles, the freedom to get forward.

With Medina out, Herrera must now come up with another holding midfielder, which will not be easy. He gave Jesus Zavala a chance to impress in that role when Mexico played the United States in an April friendly, but Zavala was dreadful and couldn't even get onto the World Cup roster.

Herrera may turn to Jose Juan Vazquez, who has played excellently with Montes and Pena for Club Leon, but lacks international experience. If not Vazquez, Carlos Salcido may be next in line, but it's tough to imagine him effectively anchoring the El Tri midfield at the World Cup considering his age and dip in form. That may lead Herrera to give Hector Herrera a look, giving Mexico a more athletic player in the midfield, but eschewing the true holder that Medina is and Miguel Herrera normally prefers.

Ponce is not a like-for-like replacement for Medina, but there isn't such a player in the Mexico pool, so Herrera opted to give himself another option on the left. In the meantime, Mexico's friendlies just took on added importance because Herrera has some work to do as he tries to figure out a suitable midfield without Medina.