Somewhere in the depths of his stomach, Mexico coach Jose Manuel "Chepo" de la Torre must feel pangs of excitement about the impending start of the Hexagonal phase of World Cup qualifying. But listening to him bat away questions in the prematch press conference on Tuesday ahead of the Jamaica opener today, you wouldn't guess it.
"I can't promise to be spectacular," Chepo said Tuesday, to the disdain of those wanting to hear a little more inspiration from the Mexico coach. "We have to be efficient; that's how objectives are accomplished."
The words that streamed from De la Torre's mouth were workmanlike, designed to keep his players' feet on the ground and to dampen the expectations of a soccer-crazy country desperate for big wins and excitement.
Three points for El Tri against Jamaica is the mission. Anything less would be a minor disaster (at least for Mexico fans) and anything more a welcome bonus in the first real, meaningful game for El Tri since they played Costa Rica in the Estadio Azteca back in September.
Here are five things to look out for when Chepo's side takes on Jamaica (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2/WatchESPN) in the search for the first Hexagonal victory of 2013.
The youth/experience balance
In the friendly environment of the Estadio Azteca, Chepo should have the luxury of incorporating the likes of Hector Herrera into the starting lineup for the first time in a competitive match. Diego Reyes could debut if things are going well, and Marco Fabian is an outside contender for a starting spot after his positive performance last week against Denmark and his goal for Chivas last weekend.
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