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Future of Mexico’s soccer coach hanging by a thread

Jose Manuel de la Torre will probably learn of his fate as Mexico's soccer coach this week.
(Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty Images)

The future of embattled Mexican national team coach Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre reportedly hung in the balance Monday as owners of Mexican league teams met with officials from the country’s soccer federation to discuss options in the wake of a disastrous performance by El Tri in the recently concluded Gold Cup.

Mexico, the two-time defending Gold Cup champion, failed to reach the final for the first time since 2005 after losing twice to Panama, with de la Torre being booed off the field both times by Mexican fans, who called for his ouster. The U.S. won the tournament Sunday with a 1-0 victory over Panana.

When Mexico cruised through the third round of World Cup qualifying with six straight wins last year, de la Torre’s team was being hailed as one of the best in Mexico’s long soccer history. But they’ve won just one of six qualifiers this season and sit third in the table, one point ahead of Honduras, with four matches remaining. Only the top three times in CONCACAF qualifying are assured of a berth in next summer’s World Cup in Brazil.

Mexico also played poorly in last month’s Confederations Cups, losing its first two games.

The Liga MX owners are reportedly meeting with federation president Justin Compean and the director of national teams Hector Gonzalez Inarritu in a secret location.

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De la Torre, hired in the fall of 2010, had success his first two full years in charge but has won just five of 17 matches this year and has yet to score a goal at home in Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca.

Only one Mexican national team coach in the past four decades has lasted through a full four-year World Cup cycle.

Firing de la Torre now would give his replacement more than a month to prepare for the resumption of World Cup qualifying in September. Among the names mentioned as a possible replacement are Marcelo Biesla, Luis Fernando Tena, Miguel Herrera, Victor Manuel Vucetich and Tomas Boy.

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