If Mexico is to return to the CONCACAF peak and win this month's Gold Cup, it appears it will have to do so without Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez.
Chicharito fractured his right collarbone in Mexico's pre-Gold Cup friendly against Honduras in Houston Wednesday night and will miss the tournament according to multiple Mexican outlets and ESPN's TV broadcast. The injury occurred in the final minutes of the first half, when Chicharito landed awkwardly after getting tangled with Brayan Beckeles.
Chicharito, who reportedly is aggressively being sought after by MLS along with El Tri teammate Giovani dos Santos, exited the match and was taken to the hospital to have his collarbone examined, according to Mexico's federation. Mexico, which has yet to confirm the injury, has already had center back Hector Moreno ruled out of the Gold Cup with a foot injury.
[UPDATE: Mexico confirmed the injury, and announced that Chicharito was undergoing an operation in Houston on Thursday.]
Here is the 40th-minute play that caused Chicharito's injury:
Assuming Chicharito is unavailable for the Gold Cup, manager Miguel Herrera could call on the likes of forwards Aldo de Nigris, Javier Orozco and Carlos Esquivel to replace him, as they were on El Tri's 35-man provisional roster. Mexico already has Carlos Vela, Dos Santos and Oribe Peralta on its 23-man roster as front-line attacking options.
Even without Chicharito, Mexico is the favorite in the Gold Cup's Group C, in which it will play Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago and Cuba.