The search is over. Following a chaotic, brief and disheartening process, the Mexican football federation (FMF) has chosen Diego Cocca as the new coach of their national team.
After the failure experienced in the 2022 World Cup, the FMF promised to look inside its soul, shake the pillars of Mexican soccer and find a man ready to take El Tri to heights never seen before. The whole job will take 60 days, they said.
But when the 60 days passed, the FMF and Liga MX presidents, Yon de Luisa and Mikel Arriola, called for a press conference only to display a PowerPoint presentation – boo! – where they showcased a plan to improve Mexican soccer with a set of ideas you can see any given day on Twitter. Worst of all, no announcement about a national team's new coach was made.
Later, we knew they had just started interviewing people.
One week after, brushing off rumors about Miguel Herrera, Guillermo Almada and Marcelo Bielsa, Diego Cocca appeared as the chosen one.
View this post on Instagram
Yep! Somehow, Mexico wasted the chance of having Marcelo Bielsa.
Who is Diego Cocca?
Anyhow, I assume most of the USMNT fans are not fully aware of who this Diego Cocca guy is.
Aged 50, Cocca had a long career playing as a right fullback in first-division clubs in Argentina. And while he was a reliable talent, he was never capped for the senior team of La Albiceleste.
In 2006, Cocca decided to hang the boots and started his career as a coach one year later. He has managed clubs in Argentina, Colombia and Mexico, reaching historical titles with Racing de Avellaneda (Transición 2014) and Atlas FC in Liga MX (Apertura 2021, Clausura 2022).
Most recently, he penned a contract with Tigres UANL in Liga MX last November with the promise of obtaining a new championship. However, after just five games at the helm, Cocca broke his word to embrace his first-ever experience as a national team coach.
Tigres are far from being delighted.
Should the USMNT be worried?
From a tactical point of view, Cocca is a good manager, but he is not someone revolutionizing the game.
He is rather pragmatic and defensive-minded, which should reflect in a Mexican national team that is hard to penetrate and always waiting for the right moment to pounce.
However, those tactics didn't work the two times Cocca faced American opposition: the friendly 2022 MLS-Liga MX All-Star Game and the 2022 Campeones Cup between Atlas and NYCFC.
So no fuzz there.
What is more worrisome is the idea of Cocca as a bad-run killer. When he managed Racing to be champion in Argentina, he ended a 13 year-drought for La Academia. But even more impressive was his achievement in Atlas, where he put to sleep 70 years of miseries with back-to-back titles for Los Zorros.
And how that relates to the USMNT vs. Mexico rivalry you might ask? Well, El Tri has lost the last three games against the United States. Is Cocca the man who will cut the streak?