The Mexican national team will face the Netherlands on Sunday morning/early afternoon in a Round of 16 match. Mexico will not be able to rely on breakout sensation Jose Juan Vazquez in the midfield due to yellow card accumulation. His most natural replacement in the starting lineup is Carlos Salcido.
Salcido was a surprise inclusion into the Mexico's 23-man World Cup roster, but he was chosen because of his experience and versatility as he can play any of the five positions in defense or defensive midfielder.
Jose Juan Vazquez has been able to be one of the huge surprises for Mexico this World Cup. Juan Carlos Medina was supposed to be the starting central midfielder for this team, but an ankle ligament injury during training camp left Medina out of the final list. Following his injury it seemed that Hector Herrera would take over that position, but a double fracture on Luis Montes' leg forced Herrera to play a little further up the field opening the position for Vazquez.
In three World Cup matches, Vazquez has shined both with his defensive work rate as well as his precise distribution helping the flow of Mexico's quick attack style. Vazquez was a key reason why Neymar was just down in the middle of the field in the Brazil match forcing Brazil's attacks to go out wide. He also stood his ground against Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic against Croatia not allowing either La Liga star to shine.
The inclusion of Salcido into the starting lineup gives Mexico manager Miguel Herrera plenty of options to move players around. Carlos Salcido can fill in the vacant spot of Vazquez as the central defensive midfielder. This is a position that he held during the 2012 Olympic Games where Mexico were crowned champions. He can also play any of the three central back positions allowing captain Rafael Marquez to push up the field and play in that defensive mid position. Marquez played this position quite often in his later years at Barcelona as well as a few times in the Mexican national team. And in a very rare scenario, Salcido can play left wing-back allowing Layun to push into the midfield for him or Andres Guardado to play in the central defensive midfield position.
The down side to having Salcido in the central midfield position would be that the offensive contribution would be significantly less as opposed to Jose Juan Vazquez. But he is still the best option as the only other players available are attacking midfielders forcing Hector Herrera to drop into that defensive midfield position. Herrera has been doing such a fantastic job in his position as attacking midfielder that it would be disruptive to move him down and bring in someone new.
What Salcido does offer as opposed to Vazquez (a part from lots more experience) is more defensive power. With the attacking power that the Netherlands have, Salcido might just bring a little extra protection. He will be able to disrupt Wesley Sneijder's service to Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben.
Source: Jonny Rico / Soccerly.com