What to expect against El Salvador
Late on Monday night, hundreds of El Salvadorans gathered outside the Intercontinental Real Salvador hotel in San Salvador and began to clap loudly and yell at the top of their lungs. The fans' intent wasn't to celebrate one of their heroes, but instead it was to awaken and disrupt the Mexican national team, which was trying to sleep in anticipation of its game on Tuesday against El Salvador.
Such are the travails of playing road CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers. While most would like to dismiss the El Salvador match as just another game, El Tri certainly can't, and probably won't. Overall, according to FIFA, Mexico is 5-2 against El Salvador in qualification, but both of those losses came on the road, the most recent being in 2009. Only three players from that team (Andres Guardado, Guillermo Ochoa, Javier Rodriguez) are on this squad, so for many, the late night wake-up call will be a new experience.
Mexico will certainly face a hostile atmosphere, and while El Salvador's team doesn't have any internationally recognized players, Tuesday's match figures to be anything but a walkover.
Here six questions for Tuesday night's qualifier:
Will Mexico revert back to its familiar formation?
In a rather unremarkable performance against Guyana in a 3-1 win in the opening game of qualification, Mexico experimented with a three-man backline, which performed with mixed results. The problem probably wasn't so much the back line itself, but instead the many giveaways in the middle of the pitch that put the defense in a precarious position during Guyana's counter attack. If Mexico wants to play effectively with a three-man back line again, it will need to be much more efficient with the ball.