The Mexican Football Federation (FMF)have confirmed that Juan Carlos Medina has suffered an ankle injury which will require immediate surgery and rule him out of the World Cup. His enforced absence has opened the door to Toluca’s left sided player, Miguel Ponce who will now join up with the rest of the squad. In what is not a like-for-like replacement, it leaves a slightly worrying lack of depth in the defensive midfield role.
Juan Carlos Medina might not be the first name that springs to mind when you list the most important players to México but under coach, Miguel Herrera he would almost certainly have been the player given the responsibility of anchoring the midfield. Knowing Herrera’s system well from their time together at Club América and proving his worth in recent matches against New Zealand and the friendly against the USA, his loss is an early blow to México’s preparations.
The US-born, Ponce has had a great season with Toluca and will offer competition for the left wing-back slot but there is now just one recognized defensive midfield player, José Vázquez. El Gallo has also had a fantastic season, completing back-to-back titles with León and his bustling, ball winning skills make him an excellent replacement.
However, it will be expected now that Herrera will take a look at some other options in the forthcoming warm-up matches. Porto’s, talented midfielder, Héctor Herrera is one option but for all his skill going forward he may not offer quite the same degree of protection to the centre-backs.
Veteran, Carlos Salcido’s versatility in these situations was exactly the reason he was included in the squad but I am not so sure Herrera or all the El Tri fans would be too happy with Salcido being the first choice defensive midfielder.