Mexico names competitive, but not first-choice roster for Copa America
Mexico manager Miguel Herrera has named the 23 players that will travel to Chile to compete in the 2015 Copa America, the Mexican federation announced today.
The roster contains a healthy mix of fringe players and those that have a consistent spot within the program, but should not be considered a first-choice squad. Strikers Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez and Carlos Vela; defenders Miguel Layun and Diego Reyes; midfielders Giovani Dos Santos, Jonathan Dos Santos, Andres Guardado and Hector Herrera; and goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa are among those who have been left out of the trip for South America's continental championship.
However, the Copa America is just one of two major tournaments on the horizon for Mexico. After Copa America, Mexico will also compete in its own continental championship, the 2015 Gold Cup, where winning the tournament would equal a spot in the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia. The big names listed above are all likely to be picked for the Gold Cup squad, and the reasoning is fairly simple.
If Mexico were to win the Copa America, the team would not earn a berth to the 2017 Confederations Cup, as it would instead go to the next-highest placing team that hails from CONMEBOL, the South American confederation. However, if Mexico wins the Gold Cup, the trip to the World Cup warm-up tournament could be in the cards (it would take on the USA, the 2013 Gold Cup winner, in a playoff).
As such, it makes sense to take a competitive, yet ultimately not full-strength roster to Chile, saving the key players for the local tournament.
However, the Copa America roster isn't without its notable players, which include Atlético Madrid striker Raul Jimenez, Hellas Verona defender (and El Tri mainstay) Rafa Marquez, and Chivas striker Marco Fabián. For Marquez, the four-time World Cup captain, it marks his first return to the national team since his controversial 2014 World Cup trip on Arjen Robben gifted the Netherlands a penalty that ultimately eliminated Mexico in the round of 16. He was initially called in for a pair of March friendlies, but he withdrew with an injury.
The squad also includes FC Twente midfielder Jesús Corona, who will be the only player made available for both the Copa America and the Gold Cup. This means Mexico will use a total of 45 players across two tournaments this summer. Mexico was drawn into Group A with host Chile, Ecuador and Bolivia.
Mexico's full Copa America roster
GOALKEEPERS: Jesús Corona (Cruz Azul), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca), Melitón Hernandez (Veracruz).
DEFENDERS: George Corral (Querétaro), Gerardo Flores (Cruz Azul), Rafa Marquez (Hellas Verona), Hugo Ayala (Tigres), Julio Cesar Domínguez (Cruz Azul), Carlos Salcedo (Chivas), Miguel Herrera Equiha (Pachuca), Adrián Aldrete (Santos Laguna), Efraín Velarde (Monterrey).
MIDFIELDERS: Mario Osuna (Queretaro), Juan Carlos Medina (Atlas), Javier Güemez (Tijuana), Jesús Corona (FC Twente), Javier Aquino (Rayo Vallecano), Luis Montes (Leon), Marco Fabián (Chivas).
FORWARDS: Raúl Jiménez (Atletico Madrid), Eduardo Herrera (Pumas), Enrique Esqueda (Tigres), Matías Vuoso (Chipas).
INJURY ALTERNATES: Enrique Perez (Atlas), Arturo Gonzalez (Atlas), Isaac Brizuela (Chivas), Jurgen Damm (Pachuca), Rodrigo Salinas (Pachuca), Luis Fuentes (Pumas), David Cabrera (Pumas)