Is This Tata’s Last Dance?

Tata Martino, current Seleccion Mexicana manager and former MLS head coach comments on the success of LA Galaxy and Mexicans playing in MLS / Christian Hofer/Getty Images

The Concacaf World Cup Qualifiers start back up on Thursday, and this could be the last chance for many teams, players, and even coaches to step up. Someone who falls under that category is Tata Martino.

After a disastrous World Cup Qualifying performance in November, Gerardo Martino has been on thin ice. Mexico currently sit in 3rd place with 14 points, where the only thing separating them from playing in the inter-continental playoff is a goal difference of ___. Luckily (or unluckily) Mexico plays that direct opponent, Panama, in this international break. 

Nevertheless, these next few games will define whether or not Tata Martino remains as Mexico’s head coach. During this international camp, ‘El Tri’ will have to face Jamaica away, and play Costa Rica and Panama in an empty Estadio Azteca.

Player Selection

After hosting two friendlies in October and December, many El Tri fans were hopeful that they would see new faces in the WCQs. Against Ecuador and Chile, Tata called up many exciting young players like Marcelo Flores, Carlos Acevedo, and Julian Araujo. 

Unfortunately, an El Tri fan can only dream of seeing these new faces as only 5 players from those two friendly camps were called up this time. Those players are: Rodolfo Cota (34), Jonathan Orozco(35), Osvaldo Rodriguez(25), Uriel Antuna(24), and Julian Araujo(20). And out those 5 players, the only real new face is LA Galaxy’s Julian Araujo.

It can be said that Tata’s list of call-ups was disappointing as usual. Many are still wondering why they called up 4 goalkeepers once again. Moreover, fans are wondering how young keepers like David Ochoa or Carlos Acevedo weren’t called up instead of Jonathan Orozco. Many were also hoping to see a young striker like Santi Gimenez or el ‘Mudo’ Aguirre. Unfortunately, Tata went with an inconsistent Rogelio Funes Mori and an out-of-form Henry Martin.

On the good side, Tata finally called up players who were needed in the games against the USMNT and Canada. Alexis Vega and Gerardo Arteaga can solve small problems like the recent inconsistencies of Jesus Gallardo and ‘Tecatito’ Corona. Other exciting names include Charly Rodriguez and ‘Gutti’ Gutiérrez. Charly has started off on fire with Cruz Azul while ‘Gutti’ is now a consistent starter for PSV Eindhoven.

Going Into Tata’s ‘Last Matches’

Although the Mexican Federation has publicly backed up Tata Martino, it wouldn’t be a surprised if he was sacked after losing two of three games. The Mexican Federation is known for not sticking to their word, so Tata will hope to come out alive come February.

A successful round of WCQs would obviously come out 9 for 9 points. Nevertheless, 7 out of 9 could put Mexico in a good position. Anything lower than 7 points could jeopardize Martino’s position.

Although it’s not the best squad, it’s enough to come out with at least 2 wins.

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