Mexico would be a stronger team right now had they kept Ricardo Lavolpe.
Now, I'm not saying that Lavolpe is a better manager than Sven-Goran Eriksson, or that the Mexican media and supporters would have put up with Lavolpe after the 2006 World Cup, when Hugo Sanchez was all the rage.
But I am saying that Lavolpe had one thing that Eriksson didn't, and that's time. Lavolpe was hired to take over Mexico in late 2002 and had time to build the team, bleed new internationals and weed out veterans, guide the team through a tournament like the Gold Cup... all before he played a single World Cup qualifier. And then, Mexico had a waltz through the semifinal round before qualifying for the World Cup with two games to spare.
Eriksson was thrown into the fire, and by his own admission had little knowledge of the Mexican league and its players. In a few months, he was asked to guide Mexico through qualifying against some decent competition. Having had little time to prepare and zero experience in managing a CONCACAF team against other CONCACAF teams.
So what happened? Mexico went out and struggled on the road, and everyone was surprised. There has been little continuity in Mexico since 2000. Manuel Lapuente had some good teams at the turn of the century but he moved on, and Enrique Meza took over. That's one coaching change in the midst of a World Cup cycle. Meza lasted not even a year on the job as he nearly sunk Mexico's World Cup 2002 hopes. Javier Aguirre came in, did well to lead Mexico to the World Cup, and moved on after '02. Lavolpe came in, and after the '06 World Cup, enter Hugo Sanchez.
Sanchez actually had the team in decent shape. Where he failed was 1) the Olympic team, which he never ever should have coached, and 2) bringing in the foreigners he so harshly criticized. He may have been able to weather that storm had his popularity not sunk like a stone in the ocean.
Out with Sanchez, in with Eriksson, and that's three coaching changes in the midst of World Cup cycles. And that's just since 2000.
Now there's rumors and speculation about Eriksson own future. If he loses, he's toast seems to be the gist of most of them. While it may seem logical to remove him - a struggling team struggles again, which will only lead to more struggles - if history has shown anything, it's that the lack of continuity has gotten Mexico to where it is today; a talented team with lots of resources and support but also lots of questions and instability.
But if Mexico does lose tonight, Eriksson should stay. Even if its a bad loss, he should stay. If it's a win, everybody is happy and all is right with the world, right? Not exactly. Eriksson has lots and lots of work to do, no matter the result. And he should be given the time to do the work.
After all, if the Mexican federation brought him in as coach, let him coach.