Mexico Soccer: Fine tuning; Diego Reyes returns to the fold

Mexico defender Diego Reyes, front, and South Korea forward Kim Shin-Wook compete for possession during the first half of an international friendly soccer match on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, in San Antonio. Darren Abate, Photo: AP

Diego Reyes Fights for the ball in an international friendly against South Korea Photo: AP Darren Abate

FC Porto defender Diego Reyes was the first Mexican international abroad to return to El Tri after a stormy year of qualifying.

The Aztecazo in Mexico City, followed by the 2-0 defeat in Columbus to the yanks highlighted the failures of 2013.

Mexico opened 2014 with a 4-0 victory over South Korea in San Antonio’s Alamodome even with a shaky performance from the backline.

Reyes was eager to pounce on the early opportunity to impress and integrate to the squad. But yesterday’s game drew more questions than answers.

Being the only European based player to make the trip gave him a jump on the competition for a spot on the 23 man roster to Brazil. With very little playing time under his belt at FC Porto it was no surprise to see Reyes lacking confidence in his play. Herrera is surely aware that Reyes is struggling to find his place in Porto.

The primary reason Herrera was adamant on getting Reyes in for Wednesday’s game.

Coming off the Olympics in 2012 fans believed Reyes to be the perfect partner for Hector Moreno in central defense. But with a couple of slip-ups in qualifying and now a constant struggle to find minutes in Europe. The question beckons, will Reyes make it to the World Cup roster?

Wednesday’s match against South Korea highlighted a struggling backline. Marquez and Rodriguez both looked liabilities, and made mistakes that would cost El Tri in the World Cup..

Reyes is still one of Mexico’s best options in defense.  At 34 years of age Rafa Marquez is going on his 4th World Cup. After an illustrious career with the national team he is no longer in the same shape he was in 16 years ago. Its time for a player like Reyes to fill the shoes Marquez is soon to leave behind.

Mexico’s backline needs a serious tune up if it wants to advance from its group in Brazil.