Alan Pulido resurrected his World Cup ambitions with a hat-trick against South Korea Wednesday.
San Antonio’s Alamodome was a festival of goals. Oribe Peralta opened up the score sheet, while Pulido rounded out the night with three consecutive strikes in the 4-0 thrashing. Pulido was adamant on leaving his mark, as yesterday’s game might have been his only opportunity to leave a lasting impression with head coach Miguel Herrera.
America striker Raul Jimenez might have cringed at the thought of more competition for that final spot in attack.
Jimenez had become a regular with El Tri and even attended the Confederations Cup in Brazil last summer. Jimenez was also a starter in attack in the crucial playoff against New Zealand.
Jimenez might have imagined his spot guaranteed after the successful run over the Kiwis. But Jimenez’s current injury opened up a marvelous opportunity for Pulido.
Pulido’s current form severely complicates things for Jimenez.
With the players overseas all eager to rejoin the team, the final tussle will inevitably be between Pulido and Jimenez.
But who stands as a better option for Brazil?
Jimenez has tremendous height and speed and a knack for attempting the impossible but honestly the young striker from Tamaulipas has proven to be a better rounded player. He was devalued in 2012 and proved to be better equipped for the Olympics than Jimenez. He was the top goal scorer alongside Marco Fabian in the Olympic qualifiers. He merited a spot in London but was deprived of it.
Jimenez is a fantastic presence up top but lacks the finish. Jimenez’s bicycle kick against Panama in the Azteca was a glorious spectacle, but goals like that don’t come along very often.
Consistency is a stronger asset to have for Brazil, and Pulido will offer that.
This second time around Pulido isn’t going to go down without a fight. Pulido’s lethal performance yesterday virtually guarantees him a call up for the game against Nigeria in March.
This FIFA date will give Herrera the chance to fuse the players abroad with the local to finally construct the ideal squad for Brazil. It would be a serious shock not to see Pulido on that list.