Mexico Without Chicharito…
by Luis Eduardo Flores
With the Copa America over, Mexico now has to focus on the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2015. As record holders for most Gold Cup championships, El Tri is obligated to win the title; even without Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.
During a “friendly match” against Honduras, Hernandez was brought down hard by Brayan Beckeles which resulted in a fractured collarbone. Now Mexico is “Chicharitoless” as they head towards their first Gold Cup 2015 match.
El Tri’s last Gold Cup championship was back in 2011. In proper CONCACAF tradition; El Tri faced their rivals from the north. El Tri and the USMNT played a hard fought game from the very beginning. In the end, El Tri emerged victorious with a 4-2 win over the USMNT. Out of everyone in tournament, Chicharito was the tournament’s best player; scoring seven goals.
In 2013; Mexico was going through a dark period. Not only were they failing to win World Cup qualifying matches, but they also had miserable appearances in the Gold Cup and FIFA Confederations Cup. For Hernandez it was not just the lack of wins that bothered him; it was the lack of goals. In Mexico’s last match in the Confederations Cup (Group A); Hernandez scored the gaming winning goal against Japan (2-1).
Not only did Mexico bow out of the tournament in shame, but that was Hernandez’s last international goal for a whole year. Hernandez came back to life in the 2014 FIFA World Cup group stage match against Croatia; scoring the team’s third goal at the 82nd minute. Hernandez’s year long goal drought finally ended where it first started; In a final Group A match in Brazil. Irony? Maybe not.
This year, Mexico has been on and off; but it hasn’t been too bad. To sum up Hernandez’s absence from the Gold Cup; Coach Miguel Herrera has lost attacking power, but not all of it. Offensively; Mexico still has Giovanni Dos Santos, Carlos Vela, Oribe Peralta, and Javier Orozco (replace a Javier with another Javier).
We also have to greatly consider Mexico’s group; Group A. Their opponents are Guatemala, Cuba, and Trinidad & Tobago. Let us be realistic, these are very easy opponents. Guatemala is the only challenge; by a tad bit. Mexico doesn’t need Hernandez to beat these teams. He will be needed if Mexico meets the United States or Panama in the final (if they make it that far).
In addition, Mexico’s first game (against Cuba) isn’t until Thursday night. Given the day when Hernandez was injured between Mexico’s first game; Herrera has had time to make the necessary changes. Mexico was met with a worse scenario back in the 2011 Gold Cup. On June 6; Antonio Naelson Sinha (midfielder), Christian Bermudez (forward), Edgar Duenas (defender), “El Maza” Francisco Rodriguez (defender), and Memo Ocoha (goalie) all tested positive for clenbuterol; due to eating tainted meat. With that, they were suspended for the remainder of the tournament (having already beaten El Salvador 5-0). This setback was huge, but Mexico still managed win the Gold Cup in a 4-2 victory over their bitter rivals; the USMNT.
Pretty much, Mexico has gone through a loss of more than one player in the past and still succeeded. One player should not make a difference. El Tri does not live off Hernandez’s participation in their games to win.
Photo: dailyreadlist.com, coloradorapids.com.