It’s A New Day, It’s Time For A New Generation…
by Luis Eduardo Flores
Ok, over the past three years, Mexico’s national team has hit many speed bumps. That isn’t news to us. Eventually, El Tri found success (post World Cup). After a weak performance in the Copa America, El Tri was able to regroup and win the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Shortly after that, El Tri beat the USMNT to win the CONCACAF Cup and the right to compete in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.
That’s all fine and dandy; now Mexico has to look forward to the 2016 edition of the Copa America. Well; that’s just the senior squad. Mexico’s youth squad is going to partake in the Olympics (with the hopes of retaining their championship). Those are two shots at glory for the federation as a whole.
After both tournaments are over, then what? Will the team just sit down, watch the grass grow; in preparation for the 2018 FIFA World Cup? Yeah…no.
The team has to use the Olympics to their advantage for future tournaments. The Olympics are the perfect place to scout for new talent. That new talent will become the face of the senior squad. What’s wrong with the current squad? Nothing. It’s time to look for the new generation of El Tri.
First, let’s run through the list of players that are still in their prime and will lead the new generation. These players will be the veterans of tomorrow.
• Guillermo Ochoa (Age 30): Malaga
• Hector Moreno (Age 28): PSV
• Paul Aguilar (Age 30): America
• Miguel Layun (Age 27): PSV
• Andres Guardado (Age 29): PSV
• Giovani dos Santos (Age 27): LA Galaxy
• Javier Hernandez (Age 27): Bayer Leverkusen
The reason as to why just these players are chosen as part of this list is quite simple. Out of all the players in the active roster (and recent call-ups), these players are frequently active with the team. That consistency will give them more credibility in the eyes of the next generation of players. With all due respect to players like Carlos Vela, frequent or long term absences make them less reliable as contributing players in future tournaments.
Now, let’s look at the future.
• Jose Antonio Rodriguez (Age 23): CD Guadalajara
o This young buck has yet to start with the youth and senior squads, yet he is still the choice goalkeeper for Guadalajara. Great things can come from him if continues to impress the club. Mexico’s current goalies are showing clear signs of aging, and someone needs to step up to take over the role.
• Antonio Briesno (Age 22): Tigres UANL
o Briesno can possibly be Mexico’s next Francisco Rodriguez. The center back contributed the first goal in Mexico’s U-17 World Cup victory. He’s similar to “El Maza”, in the sense that he can work his way up the field for key passes or for clearances.
• Rodolfo Pizarro (Age 22): Pachuca
o Pizarro is a right-back with a good balance of speed and touch on the ball. He could have shone in the 2014 World Cup, but he didn’t make the cut. That was a buzzkill for him; but given that he was greatly considered to partake in the tournament at a young age is enough to know that he has the ability to play a big role with the squad.
• Julio Gomez Gonzalez (Age 21): CD Guadalajara
o It will be one heck of a mystery if Gonzalez does not get called up to the senior squad for World Cup qualifiers, next year’s COCACAF Gold Cup, the Confederations Cup, or even friendlies.
Gonzalez played a huge role in the 2011 U-17 FIFA World Cup. Specifically in the semi-final against Germany. He scored the first goal of the match; at the 3rd minute. Late in the match, Gonzalez collided hard with another player; thus busting his head open and removing him for match. To everyone’s surprise, Gomez came back to finish off the match. At the 90th minute, Gomez scored with a amazing bicycle kick to secure the victory for Mexico and the ticket to the final (which they won).
These are just a few players that have yet to unlock their full potential; they can possibly become the new faces of the Mexican national squad. Time is still on their side, to prove that they’re worthy to be called up to the national squad and make an impact.