Osorio, Paraguay set to face Mexico in March

The former El Tri manager will see many of his old players at the site of his lowest moment in charge of the Mexican national team

Mexico fans will be seeing Juan Carlos Osorio again sooner than they expected.

The former Mexico national team manager left to take over Paraguay after declining a contract extension after the 2018 World Cup, ending his tenure with El Tri after more than three years in charge. Now Paraguay boss, Osorio will lead his new charges against his old ones on March, according to the Paraguay federation.

The match is set for March 26 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, in the San Francisco metro area.

It will be a return to the site of Osorio’s lowest point as Mexico manager. El Tri went into the 2016 Copa America Centenario quarterfinal against Chile undefeated in 22 consecutive matches, but were embarrassed 7-0.

The defeat set off a round of demands by fans and members of the press for Mexico to move on from Osorio, but the FMF stuck with the Colombian tactician. He ended up leading Mexico to a near-perfect run in World Cup qualification, topping the Concacaf confederation.

Despite opening the World Cup with a win over reigning champion Germany, however, Osorio was unable to get the team any further than his successors with a round-of-16 exit to Brazil, meaning Mexico once again failed to get to a fifth match in a World Cup on foreign soil.

His time with Paraguay is still getting off the ground, with his only match thus far a 1-1 draw with South Africa. Before facing Mexico, the Albirroja will take on Peru at Red Bull Arena near New York City. Osorio also will attend the South American U-20 championship in January and participate in the Copa America draw on Jan. 24 prior to the March matches.

Mexico is yet to name Osorio’s long-term successor, but it is likely to be Gerardo “Tata” Martino, who recently led Atlanta United to the MLS Cup but is leaving the MLS team. Time is short for both managers, with Osorio getting Paraguay ready for the summer’s Copa America and the new Mexico coach with just the March matchups and a few pre-tournament friendly games to prepare for the Gold Cup.

While neither the Mexican federation nor SUM, which promotes El Tri’s matches in the United States, has confirmed its opponents yet, it has announced that Mexico will play one match in San Diego and another in northern California during the March FIFA window.

Earlier this month, the vice president of the Chile federation said La Roja will face Mexico and Peru during the March window. El Tri also have a June 9 contest set to take place AT&T Stadium, home to the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.

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