Indeed, boss Gerardo Martino used his press conference to hint that Messi, along with Gonzalo Higuain, Angel Di Maria, Javier Pastore, Ezequiel Garay, Pablo Zabaleta, and Lucas Biglia would all play after they missed out on the Bolivia game.
For El Tri, improvements are needed. Few expected to see a Tuca Ferretti team ship three goals in his opening game in charge, especially against a Trinidad and Tobago attack that was missing its best striker Kenwyne Jones, who was allowed to stay in the UK with Championship side Cardiff City.
El Tri dominated the possession, and in truth two of Trinidad’s goals were somewhat fortuitous, but a repeat performance tomorrow night could lead to an Argentine rout.
Ferretti could be boosted by the return of Javier Hernandez. The striker, who has recently joined Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen, didn’t feature on Saturday and could be given a chance to shine. On the flipside, they will be without Saturday’s debutant Henry Martin; he picked up a leg injury in the second half.
In the post-match press conference the manager claimed he was happy with the performance, adding that he drew a lot of positives from the performance. In the back of his mind he will know they need to be much better, but will take solace in the fact that leading lights Raul Jimenez, Hector Herrera, Hector Moreno, Andres
Guardado, Juan Vazquez, Miguel Layun, and the aforementioned Chicharito all spent most (if not all) of the match sat on the bench.
Even though a win in this game is vital if Mexico are to avoid a month of speculation, pressure, and rumour, Argentina will not easily allow it. El Tri’s record against their South American rivals is dismal, with only four wins in 26 games, no victory since 2004, and only two since 1990. The last meeting occurred during the 2010 World Cup, with Argentina running out as comfortable 3-1 winners.
Kick-off in Arlington is at 10:30pm EDT.