What to watch for against Colombia 

February, 28, 2012

MIAMI -- Although Wednesday's match against Colombia will be Mexico's second contest of the year, it would not be presumptuous to claim it's the first important event of 2012. January's match against Venezuela featured only Mexican league players and the opponent carried mostly a young and inexperienced squad.

Wednesday's match in Miami showcases most of Mexico's European based players (Chicharito, Gio Dos Santos, Hector Moreno) -- a notable exception being Real Sociedad's Carlos Vela, who bowed out of the game because of personal reasons, which is a bit odd considering he played 80 minutes this weekend in a league match. No one can quite figure out Vela's status with the national team -- Vela's own brother Alejandro, who plays for Cruz Azul said he was unaware of any personal problems regarding his brother -- and his absence this week would seem to be yet another setback for those hoping for an amicable reunion. Mexico had extended the preverbal olive branch with a call up to the game, which Vela seemed to slap away by rejecting the invite.

Regardless, Mexico brings a strong squad to Miami. The senior Mexican national team won't play again until May 27 against Wales, so this match gains a bit more importance as El Tri begins looking ahead to World Cup qualifiers in June.

Here are four things to watch:

Defending Falcao

Radamel Falcao Garcia -- the third leading scorer in La Liga with 15 goals, trailing only Cristiano Ronaldo (29) and Leo Messi (28) -- may be the best striker Mexico has faced since playing against Spain's David Villa in 2010. The biggest question will be whether Mexico manager Jose Manuel de la Torre chooses to test the center back tandem of the future of Hector Moreno and Hugo Ayala, or whether he chooses to go with the more experienced Rafa Marquez or Javier "Maza" Rodriguez in place of Ayala.