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Mexico’s Best Players Should Be In Chile For The Copa America

Fans were skeptical of Miguel Herrera’s decision to field an altered team in Mexico’s second match of 2015, but no one raised an eyebrow after Eduardo “Lalo” Herrera volleyed in Mexico’s only goal against Paraguay in the 2nd minute of the match. It was E. Herrera’s first time wearing the Mexico shirt, showing that Mexico has talent to spare in Liga MX and abroad.

Mexico’s two matches in the international break weren’t easy wins by any means. Ecuador was a tough team to break down, with Mexico having to rely on Chicharito’s brilliance to put away a goal, and Paraguay weathered the offensive pressure that Mexico brought with them in the 2nd match. The two wins weren’t as dominant as many El Tri fans would hope but it did showed that Miguel Herrera will have a talented pool to choose from for this summer’s competitions.

It’s a good thing to have talent in abundance because El Tri fans recently have had to suck it up and watch their team fall prey to the powerhouses of South America in the Copa America, with Mexico choosing to keep its top players in the North American Gold Cup instead. Credit to head coach Miguel Herrera though, he does not have an easy time trying to balance two top competitions, but you would think that Mexico would choose to send its top players to the more demanding competition of the two: the Copa America. It’s reasonable for Mexico to focus on the Gold Cup though, mainly for the following reasons: the likelihood of winning the tournament is higher, a Confederations Cup spot is on the line, the competition is in their region, and regional pride is at stake. Not to mention that money might be another reason why they choose to focus on the Gold Cup. Even though the Gold Cup is mostly held in the United States, El Tri matches still draw in a lot of Mexican fans willing to spend big to see their national team.

All in all, it make sense as to why Mexico prioritizes the Gold Cup but at the end of the day, what makes a difference at the international stage is getting the opportunity to compete against the best. South American teams are without a doubt much better than the teams that Mexico faces in the Gold Cup, with the exception of the United States and Costa Rica. According to FIFA’s rankings, 4 of the top ten teams in the world are South American teams. With Copa America’s most recent winners Uruguay in 8th, “Joga Bonita” Brazil in 5th, Los Cafeteros Colombia in 4th and 2014 World Cup finalist Argentina in 2nd place. Compare this to the top ranking teams in the CONCACAF region: Costa Rica (15th), Mexico (18th) USA (27TH), Panama (53), and Trinidad and Tobago (63).

Many argue that FIFA’s ranking system makes no sense but in this situation, it makes a lot of sense. South American teams are full of individual quality. Uruguay is a team to be feared, with the likes of Edison Cavani and Luiz Suarez leading the line for the small South American country. Brazil has Neymar, David Luiz and Coutinho on their side. Colombia has the struggling Falcao and World Cup superstar James Rodriguez ready to win the tournament this summer, and should I say anything about Argentina? The team almost won the most recent World Cup and the boast the likes of Sergio Aguero, Di Maria, and former Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi.

If Mexico wants to be the best, they should take on the best, with their best players. The most recent Mexico showing at the Copa America was depressing for the whole nation. In the 2011 tournament, Mexico couldn’t even make it out of the group stage. The Copa America comes every 4 years (except for the Copa America Centenario that will be held in the U.S.A.) so this time around Mexico should do its best to show that they deserve to be one of the only non-CONMEBOL countries to be invited to participate. The last time they truly had any chance of winning the Copa America was when Nery Castillo did this to Brazil:

Not to take anything away from the Gold Cup but Miguel Herrera should truly think hard about how he can balance both squads so that Mexico regains its regional influence. With the last winner of the tournament being their bitter rivals – the United States, and are able to put on a strong showing at the Copa America. I argue that the starting line ups (in a 3-4-3 set-up) for the Copa America and Gold Cup should look like the following:

Gold Cup

Oribe Peralta | Raul Jimenez | Alan Pulido

Andres Guardado | Luis Montes | Jonathan Dos Santos | Jurgen Damm

Jorge Torres | Francisco Rodriguez | Diego Reyes

Jose Corona

Copa America

Carlos Vela | Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez | Eduardo “Lalo” Herrera

Javier Aquino | Giovani Dos Santos | Hector Herrera | Jesus “Tecatito” Corona

Hugo Ayala | Rafa Marquez | Hector Moreno

Guillermo Ochoa

What do you all think?

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