Mexico has submitted their 23-man roster for June’s Copa América, and it’s abundantly clear that this is a B-team. El Tri are sending their best to the Gold Cup in July. South America gets the leftovers.
Javier Hernández won’t be up top, Carlos Vela won’t be playing off of him, and Andrés Guardado won’t be on the wing. They’ll all be in North America. Mexico won’t get to send Héctor Herrera out to run the midfield, and Héctor Moreno won’t be its defensive stalwart. All of them, the only real undisputed starters El Tri have, will not be at Copa América.
But here’s the cool thing about an overhauled youth system that has been churning out top talent: the leftovers are pretty damn good.
The team is loaded with talented youngsters, highlighted by Chivas’ Carlos Salcedo (remember him, Real Salt Lake?). This tournament could prove to be his springboard to Europe, while Tijuana’s Javier Guemez could be in the same boat. Both players have been excellent in Liga MX and impressive showings could send the two, 21 and 23 years old respectively, across the pond.
Head coach Miguel Herrera will also get to show off Jesus “Tecatito” Corona, the talented 22-year-old who was excellent for FC Twente this season. He’s not going to be at the Eredivisie club for long, and he could turn a strong Copa America into a big-time transfer.
Helping out the kids will be some more experienced players like Raul Jiménez, Javier Acquino, Jesus Corona and Marco Fabián. While the four have had varying levels of success over the last year — Jiménez struggled for playing time at Atlético Madrid and Acquino was underwhelming on loan at Rayo Vallecano, while Corona and Fabian were reliably steady in Liga MX — they’re all proven international players who can give the young Copa América team some much-needed experience, as well as quality.
Herrera has a gold mine of talent and, even when he has to dig extra deep for a summer in which Mexico will play two tournaments, he still did well. There is a curious name or two on the team, like Matias Vuoso, but Mexico needed 46 players total for Copa América and the Gold Cup. Only having 44 or 45 good ones and reaching for one or two is still quite an accomplishment.
Mexico won’t be sending its best players to Copa América, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be sending good ones.
Goalkeepers: Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca), Meliton Hernandez (Veracruz)
Defenders: Carlos Salcedo (Chivas), Adrian Aldrete (Santos Laguna), George Corral (Queretaro), Miguel Herrera (Pachuca), Rafa Marquez (Hellas Verona), Jerry Flores (Cruz Azul), Hugo Ayala (Tigres), Efrain Velarde (Monterrey), Julio Dominguez (Cruz Azul)
Midfielders: Mario Osuna (Queretaro), Luis Montes (Leon), Marco Fabian (Chivas), Javier Aquino (Rayo Vallecano), Javier Guemez (Tijuana), Juan Carlos Medina (Atlas), Jesus Corona (FC Twente)
Forwards: Eduardo Herrera (Pumas), Raul Jimenez (Atletico Madrid), Matias Vuoso (Chiapas), Enrique Esqueda (Tigres)
Reserve list: Enrique Perez (Atlas), Arturo Gonzalez (Atlas), Isaac Brizuela (Chivas), Jurgen Damm (Pachuca), Rodrigo Salinas (Pachuca), Luis Fuentes (Pumas), David Cabrera (Pumas)