1) Juan Carlos Paredes could be key.
Think of Juan Carlos Paredes as Ecuador’s Miguel Layun. In fact, both players are teammates at Watford FC and play similar positions. Paredes was sensational for Ecuador in their last World Cup process, and most recently, he was one of Ecuador’s best players in their last friendly against Mexico.
Paredes doesn’t shy away from going forward,but he could leave a lot to be desired on the defensive end. If Paredes starts, he could be going head to head against Layun. With Giovani Dos Santos and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez alternating on the attack, it may be a good idea to float one of them behind Paredes. The space may be there for one of the forwards to latch on to a counter-attack.
2) It is time for Hugo Ayala to step up.
It may sound odd, but Hugo Ayala, a center-back, is currently the player with most passes attempted in the Liga MX this season. Moreover, Ayala may be one of the most consistent Mexican defenders of the past few Liga MX campaigns. The problem, however, is Ayala has been unable to perform at the same level on the national team.
At first glance, Ayala is the type of defender Miguel Herrera likes, with a superb defensive skill-set and a great passer. With the players in front of him not getting any younger, Saturday’s game will be key for Ayala’s future national team aspirations.
3) Mexico’s biggest strength remains the midfield.
So much of Mexico’s success depends on how Mexico’s midfield does on Saturday. The wings may be where a lot of the attacking will begin, but the midfield continues to be the focal point for El Tri. Hector Herrera and Andres Guardado are in one of their best moments as professionals, and El Tri manager, Miguel Herrera, seems to be delighted at their progress. Their ability to break down defenses in short spaces is vital in Mexico’s quest to score goals.