Week 14 provided an opportunity for four young Mexican goalkeepers to demonstrate their abilities for their club teams in Liga MX.
The 2022 World Cup is only a few years away and, before you know it, the national team will be narrowing down the number of goalkeepers to three. We all know that Guillermo Ochoa will be one of the keepers on the roster and likely to be the constant starter, but there are plenty of quality goalies who could make a claim for the other two spots. And last weekend, these young backstops took their first steps toward tossing their names into the hat.
Carlos Acevedo, Santos – The 22-year-old goalkeeper has had a few appearances in the past year and, on Saturday, he stepped into the fray when starter Jonathan Orozco went down with an injury. Unfortunately, his defense did not play well in front of him and Monterrey walked away with a 4-0 win. Still, Acevedo’s overall body of work shows promise for the future of Santos and he could possibly get consideration in the future from the national team. Various reports indicate the Pumas are monitoring Acevedo as they start to consider a wholesale makeover.
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Luis Angel Malagon, Morelia – The goalie, 22, has stepped in to replace the injured Sebastian Sosa, demonstrating flair and talent. Malagon started the past two games against Puebla and Chivas, and his performances were crucial in the draw versus Puebla and the win over Chivas. It seems only a matter of time before he realizes his full potential, maybe even finding a job with a top Liga MX club.
Jose Hernandez, Atlas – The 21-year-old keeper isn’t on the best team to demonstrate his talent, but the Guadalajara native has shown why he has been a starter for Los Rojinegros since last season. Hernandez has not only shown positive skills on the field but is a vocal team leader, which suggests he could become a figurehead for the Zorros. Hernandez has already participated with Mexico’s Under-21 team at last year’s Toulon Tournament.
Carlos Higuera, Tijuana – At just 18 years old, Higuera (pictured above) was given his senior team debut so that the Xolos could comply with the mandatory minutes rule for players under the age of 21. Higuera’s resume is rather extensive for an 18-year-old; he has participated in several tournaments for Mexico’s junior teams, the U-15, the U-17 and now, the U-20. Higuera clearly has considerable promise. For now, Higuera will have to bide his time behind Manuel Gibran Lajud, who is only 25 and has had a few call-ups to El Tri.
It will be interesting to follow the careers of these young goalies beyond the 2022 Qatar World Cup. It would seem Team Mexico is set between the pipes for years to come.