Players with something to prove
Last week's release of TV ratings for Mexico's second World Cup qualifier confirmed the obvious: El Tri fans love watching their team. More than 7.8 million viewers tuned in to watch Mexico's 1-0 win against Costa Rica, which secured El Tri's qualification into the hexagonal. The match was the second-most viewed game on U.S. TV this year, trailing only Mexico's friendly against Colombia in February.
But will Mexico's fans be so eager to watch their team's two qualifiers in October (the 12th at Guyana and 16th vs. El Salvador in Torreon, Mexico), which have been rendered meaningless? While Mexico as a team has little to prove in these two final qualification games, there are several players who should use the matches to either solidify or increase their roles on the team. Jose Manuel de la Torre's Mexico squad has been constantly evolving. If anything, he's proved that he will allow a player to not only earn a spot on the team but earn increased playing time.
Here are a few players who could benefit from the two qualifiers:
RW Elias Hernandez: While Javier Aquino appears to have the right attacking midfielder spot locked up during Pablo Barrera's absence, Hernandez may get an opportunity to be an impact substitution. Although he's not a star, Hernandez played well as a sub in Mexico's 1-0 loss to the United States at Estadio Azteca in August. He was formidable on the wing and proved far more dangerous than even Barrera in that game.