Sven-Goran Eriksson and Player Selections

January 12, 2009

Sven-Goran Eriksson:

Since taking over the Mexican national football team, Sven-Goran Eriksson has managed the team to four victories, one loss, and three draws. While the situation could be much better, at least it’s not any worse than it could be. Now that the third round of the 2010 CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers is behind us, let us analyze Sven’s progress with the team over the past few months.

Depth Chart:

Before one can properly criticize or analyze Sven’s selection of players, it’s best to establish a depth chart to review his recent selections:

Goalkeepers
Oswaldo Sánchez – Santos Laguna
Guillermo Ochoa – América
José de Jesús Corona – Tecos U.A.G.
Moisés Muñoz – Morelia
Jonathan Orozco – Monterrey
Luis Ernesto Michel – Guadalajara

Right Backs
Ricardo Osorio – VfB Stuttgart
Diego Martínez – Tigres U.A.N.L.
Israel Castro – U.N.A.M.
Mario Méndez – Toluca
Óscar Rojas – América

Center Backs
Rafael Márquez – Barcelona
Jonny Magallón – Guadalajara
Aarón Galindo – Eintracht Frankfurt (*Guadalajara)
Héctor Moreno – AZ Alkmaar
Édgar Dueñas – Toluca
Leobardo López – Pachuca
Francisco Javier Rodríguez – PSV Eindhoven
Juan Carlos Valenzuela – Tecos U.A.G.

Left Backs
Carlos Salcido – PSV Eindhoven
Fausto Pinto – Pachuca
Édgar Castillo – América
Jorge Torres Nilo – Atlas

Right Wingers
Fernando Arce – Santos Laguna
Carlos Esquivel – Toluca

Center Defensive Midfielders
Pavel Pardo – VfB Stuttgart (*América)
Gerardo Torrado – Cruz Azul
Leandro Augusto – U.N.A.M.
Jaime Correa – Pachuca

Center Attacking Midfielders
Giovani dos Santos – Tottenham
Sinha – Toluca
Francisco Torres – Santos Laguna
Luis Ernesto Pérez – Monterrey

Left Wingers
Andrés Guardado – Deportivo La Coruña
William Paredes – Monterrey

Strikers
Carlos Vela – Arsenal
Vicente Matías Vuoso – Santos Laguna
Omar Bravo – Deportivo La Coruña
Omar Arellano – Guadalajara
Guillermo Franco – Villarreal
Carlos Ochoa – Monterrey
Francisco Fonseca – Tigres U.A.N.L.
Nery Castillo – Manchester City
Arnhold Rivas – Tecos U.A.G.
Enrique Esqueda – América

* Denotes recent winter transfers

General Assessment:

While many praises can be lauded left and right, the truth of the matter is that the FMF player pool has been lacking in recent years. It seems as though the days of entertaining, fast-paced football are over, and instead, we now have a slower paced game that is less technical, more sloppy, and less creative. With this mind, it’s no surprise that the Mexican league based players have been unable to produce much of what is expected from them.

Goalkeeping:

Ochoa, Sanchez, Michel, and Orozco all stand at about 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in ), Muñoz tops the list at 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in), and Corona bottoms at 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in). Since we’re not comparing these keepers to say, for example, Jorge Campos who stood 1.65 m (5 ft 5 in), we can’t make height into a key criterion. Oswaldo currently holds the most caps from the group, and at 35 years of age, the most experience as well. However, Memo has shown to have impressive reach, dive, and positioning [the latter of which Oswaldo lacks], and both Corona and Michel have shown great judgment and anticipation, while also proving to be impressive during penalty shots.

So even though Oswaldo Sanchez undoubtedly has the most experience in this position, at this point his prime is now in the past and at 35-years of age, he is hardly a top choice for the 2010 World Cup [providing Mexico advance]. This coupled with the fact that he has underperformed in recent matches lead me to believe that his role with the team should be critically reduced.

Ochoa, Corona, and Michel are all viable candidates for the position yet their presence has been severely overshadowed by Oswaldo Sanchez. Whereas Sanchez typically resorts to shouting and yelling at his teammates, Memo’s calm and cool approach appears at times to translate well with the rest of the squad. If Sanchez is to be kept on the squad, he deserves to only be third or fourth on the pecking order.

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2 Responses to “Sven-Goran Eriksson and Player Selections”

  1. […] For a re-cap of my thoughts on Mexico’s depth at the goalkeeping position, I encourage everyone to read my entry from January 12, 2009. […]

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