Mexico appoint veteran manager Vucetich as head coach

VictorManuelVucetich1 (Aldia.CR)

By DAN KARELL

For the second time in less than one week, the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) has a new man in charge of the Mexico National Team.

FMF President Justino Compean officially introduced veteran manager Victor Manuel Vucetich as the newest head coach of El Tri on Thursday afternoon, replacing Luis Fernando Tena who lasted all of one game, the 2-0 defeat to the USA in Columbus.

“Today, Victor Manuel Vucetich accepted the challenge and knows what’s coming,” Campeon said in the introductory press conference. “We are confident that (Vucetich) has the experience to go forward. Mexico will be in Brazil 2014.”

Vucetich was most recently with Monterrey, where he had been since the start of 2009 through August, before being fired due to poor early-season results. Prior to Monterrey, the 58-year-old managed at nine other clubs, including Puebla, Cruz Azul, and Tigres UANL after beginning his head coaching career in 1996.

The five-time Mexican league champion nearly became the head coach of El Tri in 2010 after the World Cup, but he declined it at the time due to family reasons. Vucetich now takes over a side that are sitting in 5th place with just eight points in CONCACAF’s Hexagonal round of qualifying, with two matches remaining next month: home against Panama, and away to Costa Rica.

“It’s the biggest challenge of my career, without a doubt,” Vucetich said at the press conference. ”

From 2011 through the early hours of last Saturday morning, Mexico was lead by Jose Manuel de la Torre, who guided the team to a Gold Cup title in his first year in charge but has overseen the national team grow progressively worse, even as the youth teams have improved. The final straw for “Chepo” was the 2-1 defeat to Honduras last Friday at Estadio Azteca.

Vucetich, who stated that his contract with the FMF is currently only through the two October matches, will convene a domestically-based 23-man squad for three days later this month to assess his players, and he’ll be using two of his former assistant coaches at Monterrey as well as some of the Mexico Youth National Team staff to help assist him in the process.

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What do you think of this news? Do you feel that Vucetich was the right appointment? Do you see Mexico playing better under Vucetich? Do you see Carlos Vela and “Memo” Ochoa returning to the squad?

Share your thoughts below.

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30 Responses to Mexico appoint veteran manager Vucetich as head coach

  1. bradj says:

    With Vucetich’s track record in the CCL, I’m glad this appointment has come after the USMNT’s games against Mexico. He certainly knows how to coach a tournament (see Monterrey’s away victory @ Galaxy this year) and I fully expect that he will get Mexico to Brazil. #goodhire

    • YO says:

      You can ask Bruce Arena and he would probably tell that is not the same thing.

    • bottlcaps says:

      I don’t think Donovan was with the Galaxy for the Monterrey game or if he was, he was not match fit,

      It was Vucetich who was trying to recruit Omar Gonzales to play for Monterrey (and Mexico) before OG was called up and capped for the US and re-signed by the Galaxy. He is a good assessor of talent. However, he might not be as strategically astute and does not experiment with formations, skills that are needed for a WC coach. Maybe it’s the reason he has been signed on for the two remaining hex games and not further. If he doesn’t win at least one of the two remaining games, he will have no WC job to go to.

      • bryan says:

        yeah, those questions will always be there for club coaches moving to international roles. completely different way of coaching since you only get a little bit of time with your players each camp as opposed to day in and day out.

        we’ll see if he can figure it out…

      • dikranovich says:

        couldn’t mexico tie panama in their next game, then tie costa rica, and still go to the world cup?

        • Mr_A says:

          It’s possible, but it depends on Panama losing their final match (vs. USA). Mexico shouldn’t count on it, since we’ve already qualified and might be experimenting on the roster and tactics. And they can’t count on CR being an easy roll, or even an easy tie. If they lose to Panama they’re (practically) out, so they’ll definitely try to win. After that, they’ll look at the math again. Even then, they’ll still have to play NZ. Who might even beat them if they don’t get their act together.

          • Dan says:

            Mexico’s most important game for 4th place is against Panama. If Mexico beats panama just by one goal the GD will be -1 for Mexico and -3 for Panama so Panama would have to beat the US by at least two goals. A tie and they will be in event a biggest mess.

            On the other hand, If Costa Rica manages to get the tree points from Honduras and Mexico wins Mexico and Honduras will be tied with Hounduras with the easier game.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Once Chepo made it to CR I felt like we were well set because what can a sub coach really do in one game. It is really their own fault because people both sides of the border were calling for it. This is one instance the Mexicans were too slow to trigger the ejector seat. Ironic because they couldn’t get rid of Sven fast enough last time….and so they recovered last time.

  2. The Imperative Voice says:

    So will Mexico be playing in blue and white stripes (rayados) for a year?

    Odd parallel with the US in the sense that Vucetich was the one they wanted but said no for claimed personal reasons, leading to Chepo. Bradley got his additional post WC year before the Gold Cup debacle, Chepo several. Then Klinsi here, Vucetich now for Mexico.

    Since these are going to be international date games in the middle of pro seasons the real question is can he pick a better roster and encourage the style of play in a direction. Because I think his primary input will be selection for the time being. By holding onto Chepo all summer they’ve blown the longer term opportunities to revamp and install something. He just needs to pick a good squad of players that can play a way to get the result…..and whack anyone upside the head who wants to cross the ball all day.

  3. chuck says:

    They will most likely face Panama and CR with a locally-based squad. I expect a completely revamped team based on whichever team is doing best at the moment and once they clinch the wc spot, start bring back the euro-based players.

    Something similar happened in 2001. They had fired the coach and were in dire straits for qualification ahead of the game vs the US in the Azteca. Javier Aguirre (then a low profiler) was appointed and called up most of the Cruz Azul players who reached the Libertadores final. One year later, the squad was totally different at the wc, with the top names back.

    • jones says:

      Interesting – thanks for this.

    • kevin says:

      I’d be surprised to see a “local crew” after they brought one of those to the Gold Cup. More likely is the return of Vela and Ochoa and all the big names. Do or die against two good teams is tough.

      • Paul Miller says:

        Panama has an arguably tougher road, having to play at Azteca and then against us (though will be interesting to see if JK opts to view younger players or continue to jell the likely players for 2014).

  4. Scott e Dio93 says:

    More androl and clen!

  5. downintexas says:

    Welcome aboard the Titanic, Captain.

  6. Mike R says:

    No World Cup for you !!!!

    • Paul Miller says:

      I still think it’s better than 50-50 Mexico will be there. I can’t see them losing twice in a row at home, and I can’t see New Zealand being a real threat – maybe for a one game fluke, but not a home and home series. But… I certainly didn’t see Mexico in this current position, either.

  7. William the Terror says:

    I’m willing to step in and coach them if he gets fired after the Panama game. I don’t speak a word of Spanish, but every Thursday night I have enchiladas and a couple of Corona Lights. Where do I send my resume’?

  8. Beto says:

    Good hire, they should have done this months ago! I thought Peña would have gotten a better shot. Glad we are past and done with them. They can certainly still make the cup but their next game vs Panama is going to be do or die!

  9. Neruda says:

    All I remember about him is he disrespected RSL during the ccl title series and then backtracked saying it was all mis translated. I still don’t buy it. He realized he made jack a** comments and tried to rectify it.

    I’m rooting for panama to take the fourth playoff spot against NZ. Fmf president is saying Mexico will be in brazil and its all really smug and over confident. Panama and if not them then New Zealand will have something to say about that.

    • Patrick says:

      What comments did he make? I remember his interview after the final in which he called RSL “a llamada de atención”…a warning that MSL was getting way better, and singled out Jason Kries fro praise. Are you referring to some smack he talked before the final?

  10. Drew_OC says:

    I’m sure he’ll be very successful if he can convince players like Humberto Suazo to get an identity change and bypass FIFA laws and play for Mehico.

  11. Joamiq says:

    So… will Mexico manage to end the hex with as many wins as they’ve had coaches?

  12. Gary Page says:

    At Monterrey he often used only 3 at the back. With Mexico desperately needing to score goals, I wonder if he will try that in the last 2 games in the Hex. They have reached the point where they need to take risks, but they could be severely punished by CR if they field their first stringers in the last game.