galleryTitle description galleryUrl thumbnail
Mexicans Abroad, Liga MX Recap - October 4-6 Check out the latest on how the top Mexican players are performing abroad and the best Liga MX storylines /foxsoccer/mexico/lists/mexicans-abroad-liga-mx-apertura-october-4-6-players-teams-managers-100613 http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/10/06/100613-SOCCER-PROMISING-SIGNS-DC-PI_20131006232305219_136_102.JPG
Mexicans Abroad, Liga MX Recap - Sept. 14-15 Check out the latest on how the top Mexican players are performing abroad and the best Liga MX storylines /foxsoccer/world/lists/mexicans-abroad-liga-mx-apertura-august-30-september-players-teams-managers-090413
Mexicans Abroad, Liga MX Recap - Aug. 30-Sept. 1 Check out the latest on how the top Mexican players are performing abroad and the best Liga MX storylines /foxsoccer/world/lists/mexicans-abroad-liga-mx-apertura-august-30-september-players-teams-managers-090413 http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/09/04/730_20130904104653626_136_102.JPG
Mexican Soccer 2013 - Year in Review Review the best and worst moments from the Mexico national soccer team's 2013 season. /foxsoccer/mexico/lists/mexican-national-team-2013-memorable-moments-year-in-review-122213 http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/12/22/122213-Soccer-Tri-ing-times-PI-AA_20131222191603679_136_102.JPG
categoryName categoryId galleryId galleryTitle mediaId imageTitle imageURL league description shortDescription attribution large thumbnail
Mexico Primera Division 2819 43 Five points: Mexico vs. Panama 31931019 Mexico vs. Panama Mexico+vs.+Panama Mexico Primera Division

Previous failures have forced Mexico in a must-win position against Panama tonight. El Tri cannot afford a fifth consecutive match without a victory at Estadio Azteca. Anything less than the full complement of points against the Canaleros will place Mexico in the unenviable position of requiring help from the United States in Panama City on Tuesday to secure a place in a World Cup playoff against New Zealand next month.

 

In order to avoid that awkward situation and maintain control of its own destiny, Mexico must absorb the crippling pressure and produce its best home performance of the Hexagonal to dispatch a canny and motivated Panamanian outfit. Mexico coach Victor Manuel Vucetich will hope these five factors spur Mexico to the display required to grab hold of its World Cup hopes.

 

-- Kyle McCarthy
 

Miguel Tovar/LatinContent/Getty Images - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/10/11/1_20131011133524506_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/10/11/1_20131011133524506_107_80.JPG
Mexico Primera Division 2819 43 Five points: Mexico vs. Panama 31931020 Establish a solid foundation Establish+a+solid+foundation Mexico Primera Division

The recent struggles to score at Estadio Azteca will encourage Mexico to push additional numbers into the attacking half in a bid to rectify the concern. It cannot do so without a coherent plan to adjust its defensive shape accordingly. Vucetich said on Thursday he wants his side to play aggressively without losing the necessary balance in the back. He will likely aid the process by plumping for a 4-4-2 formation to match Julio Dely Valdes' preferred tactical setup and provide some of the required solidity. The rest will come down to how the players adhere to the instructions set forth and remember the potential pain created by pursuing the game too ardently.

Miguel Tovar/LatinContent/Getty Images - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/10/11/2_20131011133525508_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/10/11/2_20131011133525508_107_80.JPG
Mexico Primera Division 2819 43 Five points: Mexico vs. Panama 31931018 Commit the right numbers forward at the right times Commit+the+right+numbers+forward+at+the+right+times Mexico Primera Division

Vucetich is expected to select Miguel Layún and Jorge Torres Nilo (pictured) at fullback to boost El Tri's options in the wide areas. Both players offer more going forward than they do inside their own third. Panama will look to exploit the space created by their forays into the attacking half by moving quickly to exploit the vacated spaces. Mexico must ensure those excursions do not create counterattacking situations where expected central defenders Hugo Ayala and Rafa Márquez must confront the Panamanian forwards – particularly the mobile Gabriel Torres, a likely starter – one-versus-one.

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports - USA TODAY Sports http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/10/11/3_20131011133522504_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/10/11/3_20131011133522504_107_80.JPG
Mexico Primera Division 2819 43 Five points: Mexico vs. Panama 31931021 Overload the wide areas to create operating room Overload+the+wide+areas+to+create+operating+room Mexico Primera Division

Mexico functions best when it receives quality contributions on the flanks. In this projected setup, with Giovani dos Santos (pictured) and Christian Giménez likely to feature as nominal wide players with established tendencies to drift inside, the onus will fall on Layun and Torres Nilo to overlap frequently and provide width. The extra man out wide does a couple of things for El Tri: it creates two-versus-one opportunities with the midfielders to exploit the suspect Panamanian fullbacks and it stretches the normally compact Panamanian shape. It looks likely to work on paper, but it must succeed in practice, too. Layún and Torres Nilo must give Panama a reason to adjust and compensate to their presence by combining well and providing accurate service into the penalty area.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports - USA TODAY Sports http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/10/11/4_20131011133523505_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/10/11/4_20131011133523505_107_80.JPG
Mexico Primera Division 2819 43 Five points: Mexico vs. Panama 31931023 Lean on Oribe Peralta to pull everything together Lean+on+Oribe+Peralta+to+pull+everything+together Mexico Primera Division

The Santos Laguna man is expected to partner Javier Hernández up front for Mexico. He operates a bit different than Chicharito does: he is a capable conduit willing to drop off the line to facilitate play and permit other players (in this instance, likely central midfield inclusion and club teammate Carlos Peña) to leap into the attack. His aerial presence – he poses a significant danger despite not boasting the size of a prototypical target man – provides a more direct route to goal if required, too. If Peralta can find a way to influence the game (and perhaps even drag Felipe Baloy a step or two out of position along the way), then Mexico stands a good chance of procuring the points.

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports - USA TODAY Sports http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/10/11/5_20131011133524506_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/10/11/5_20131011133524506_107_80.JPG
Mexico Primera Division 2819 43 Five points: Mexico vs. Panama 31931022 Trust the special players to make a difference Trust+the+special+players+to+make+a+difference Mexico Primera Division

Vucetich will send out El Tri with a more coherent tactical approach than José Manuel de la Torre ever mustered, but he still must rely on his players to perform. The onus falls upon dos Santos and Hernández – the two superlative players in this squad – to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and spur Mexico to the sort of showing missing so far in this Hexagonal. The two stars must inspire an across-the-board improvement to ensure Mexico retains its World Cup hopes at least through the weekend.

Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports - USA TODAY Sports http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/10/11/6_20131011133524507_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/10/11/6_20131011133524507_107_80.JPG
EndCap Fox Sports Video and Photo Gallery
thumbnail galleryTitle shortDescription longDescription blurb galUpdated pageNumber totalPages galleryUrl
http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2014/02/24/022414-Rumor-Mill-GUNDO-GONE-DG-PI_20140224164223176_136_102.JPG Top football/soccer transfer rumors - Feb. 23-Mar. 2 Check out the latest rumors doing the rounds... Check out the latest rumors doing the rounds throughout world football. Robin van Persie's rumored return to Arsenal would be beyond controversial in many ways. Feb 26, 2014 8:47 AM ET 1 37 /foxsoccer/world/lists/transfer-rumors-february-24-march-2-football-soccer-players-teams-022414
http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2014/02/23/022314-SOCCE-forget-me-not-PI_2014022319021849_136_102.JPG Americans Abroad - Feb. 21-23 Review the top Americans that can take their... Review the top Americans that can take their talents overseas this year. Familiar faces may rejoin United States men's national team conversation. Feb 25, 2014 2:41 AM ET 1 37 /foxsoccer/usa/lists/americans-abroad-feb-21-23-performances-players-overseas-022314
http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2014/02/21/drasticjump-pi_20140221180930519_136_102.JPG FOX Soccer Power Rankings - Feb. 21-28 FOX Soccer Power Rankings: Paris Saint-Germai... FOX Soccer Power Rankings: Paris Saint-Germain return to top five after crushing Champions League win Giant thumping brings Ibrahimovic and Co. back to our top ten list. Feb 22, 2014 1:50 PM ET 1 37 /foxsoccer/world/lists/power-rankings-february-21-28-paris-saint-germain-return-to-top-five-after-crushing-win-022114
http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2014/02/17/021714-SOCCER-Shock-Waves-HF-PI_20140217182428996_136_102.JPG Top football/soccer transfer rumors - Feb. 17-23 Check out the latest rumors doing the rounds... Check out the latest rumors doing the rounds throughout world football. Robin van Persie's rumored return to Arsenal would be beyond controversial in many ways. Feb 20, 2014 10:42 AM ET 1 37 /foxsoccer/world/lists/transfer-rumors-february-17-23-football-soccer-players-teams-021714