Mexico trains at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, on January 28, 2014. (Photo: Mexsport)
SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Mexico will open its 2014 schedule on Wednesday, when it faces Korea Republic at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The friendly marks the debut of Miguel Herrera as the Tricolor’s permanent head coach.
After the challenges of 2013, a year in which the CONCACAF power needed to overcome New Zealand in an intercontinental playoff to qualify for the World Cup, the match offers the opportunity for a fresh start.
"Korea is not a team that we will face in the World Cup,” Herrera said at a Tuesday press conference. “It is simply a friendly game that will make us work harder at what we have to do that will make us focus on what we’ll find in the World Cup."
The Mexican roster is comprised fully of players from Liga MX with the exception of defender Diego Reyes, who plays for Portuguese side Porto.
“Tomorrow is the day to observe the players that we brought,” commented Herrera. “I want to see them on the field. I want to see if they can enter into competition with one you already have in mind.”
Herrera revealed his starting line-up on Twitter. Toluca’s Alfredo Talavera will be in goal, while the back line will consist of Rafael Marquez, Francisco Javier Rodriguez, Reyes and Miguel Ponce. In midfield will be Isaac Brizuela, Jose Juan Vazquez, Rodolfo Gilbert Pizarro and Carlos Peña. Oribe Peralta, the 2013 CONCACAF Player of the Year, and Alan Pulido will search for goals from the forward positions.
Vazquez, Pizarro and Pulido will be making their national team debuts.
"We have peace of mind,” the former Club America manager added. “They (the players) know that I am also going to keep watching them on their teams. What I am asking is that tomorrow they have the willingness and determination to do the right things."
Korea, which has defeated Mexico four times in 11 all-time meetings, topped Costa Rica, 1-0, in another friendly on Saturday.