Saturday, June 23, 2007

Tri's attack

Hugo Sanchez had a stable of forwards to choose from before the tournament but he seems to have settled on Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Jared Borgetti.

Blanco is enjoying a strong resurgence. After his falling out with former coach Ricardo Lavolpe, Blanco quickly found his way back into El Tri and scored in his second game under Hugo Sanchez. With America this year, Blanco had a fine campaign and led las Aguilas to the Mexican league final. The now-Chicago Fire forward is as strong as ever with his backheels and passing ability in general. He is also strong on set pieces. However, Blanco is still quite temperamental. His red card against Honduras two weeks ago is evidence of that.

Borgetti, meanwhile, is the same player American fans have been accustomed to seeing. Borgetti has had success against the U.S. - he scored in a 1-0 win over the US in Mexico in 2001 and scored in a 2-1 win over the Americans in 2005. Both those games, though, were in Mexico City. Like the rest of Mexico, Borgetti has been quiet against the U.S. in games played on American soil.

Also in the mix is former Chivas standout Adolfo "Bofo" Bautista. Bofo and Blanco are similar players - not a lot of speed but good finishers with excellent vision and passing abilities - but Sanchez is not afraid to use them together. Bofo set up Borgetti's goal against Costa Rica in the semifinal with a nice cross from the right flank.

Omar Bravo is another player who possesses skill but Bravo's exploits have mostly been limited to the Mexican league. Bravo is on the cusp with the national team but has been on the cusp for quite some time. Francisco "Kikin" Fonseca has fallen off badly and was left off the Copa America roster. Still, Sanchez knows Fonseca from their days together with Pumas.

The wild card in this whole scenario is Nery Castillo. Lavolpe went hard after Castillo, who holds Greek, Mexican and Uruguayan passports, but failed to get him to play for El Tri. Sanchez, though, convinced Castillo to play for Mexico. While Castillo, who developed in Uruguay and groomed professionally in Greece, appeared to be a certain starter but was not in uniform against Guadeloupe.

If Sanchez goes with Blanco-Borgetti, the U.S. will have an advantage in that they know how to play both players.

1 comment:

Joel Aceves said...

Lavolpe never 'went hard' after Castillo. He only called him up once, to a U-23 training camp, and Olympiakos denied Nery permission to attend.

Hugo on the other hand called him personally and let him know what he wanted and expected from Nery.

As I type this the GC final is on and Nery started the match!