Mexico Gold Cup roster: Who will make Martino's squad?

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With stars absent because of injuries and rejections, the Argentine's squad is not as deep as he hoped but still should compete for the trophy

Tata Martino will coach his first major tournament this summer, with Mexico meeting Canada, Cuba and Martinique in Gold Cup group play in June.

Of course, getting out of the group is the minimum for Mexico. But with veterans like Hector Herrera, Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez and Carlos Vela asking not to be part of the squad and rising star Hirving Lozano out with an injury, El Tri faces a challenge to win the tournament. 

Martino's task is even more difficult with Concacaf modifying the tournament rules to make coaches pick a 23-man team and stick to it, unlike previous years in which they could make six changes after the group stage.

Here's a look at the final 23 players on Martino's list:


Goalkeepers


Guillermo Ochoa Mexico

Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa (Standard Liege), Hugo Gonzalez (Necaxa), Jonathan Orozco (Santos Laguna)

Ochoa remains the clear-cut No. 1 for the Mexico national team, and with a potential summer move to a bigger club in Europe it looks like that will be the case heading into Qatar as well. Martino also has a pair of goalkeepers in camp who had solid seasons in Liga MX, though foreign goalkeepers like Argentina's Agustin Marchesin may have outshined them.


Defenders


Hector Moreno Carlos Salcedo Raul Jimenez Mexico

Edson Alvarez (America), Nestor Araujo (Celta), Carlos Salcedo (Tigres), Hector Moreno (Real Sociedad), Diego Reyes (Leganes), Luis "Chaka" Rodriguez (Tigres), Jesus Gallardo (Monterrey), Cesar Montes (Monterrey), Jorge Sanchez (America), Fernando Navarro (Leon), 

There are plenty of center backs in the squad, and Martino has the luxury of choosing his best pairing. After struggling for minutes most of the year, Moreno saw an uptick in playing time at the end of the La Liga season. Araujo started most of the year with Celta. Salcedo is nursing a knee injury but was El Tri's best defender at the 2018 World Cup and when healthy is performing well for Tigres.

Reyes and Montes provide depth while Alvarez is more likely to step into the midfield than play as a defender, where he's listed on the official roster. He could play at center back or at right back as well, though his injury in a friendly against Venezuela raises plenty of questions about whether or not he'll be fit for the tournament.

On the right, Luis "Chaka" Rodriguez had a superb season with Tigres, and Navarro held his own with Leon. This is the 30-year-old's first national team opportunity, but it's nice to see him make the cut after the excellent campaign he had. 

Especially with Layun out and Gallardo potentially needed further up the field, left back becomes a big question mark. Sanchez is just 21 but made his Mexico debut against Paraguay and played well. He may be the answer.


Midfielders


Andres Guardado Mexico

Andres Guardado (Real Betis), Roberto Alvarado (Cruz Azul), Carlos Gonzalez (Monterrey), Jonathan dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Erick Gutierrez (PSV), Luis Montes (Leon), Orbelin Pineda (Cruz Azul)

There's a good mix of experience and youth for Mexico in the middle, which has morphed into the strength of the team even despite Hector Herrera's absence. Guardado is the leader of the team and while Betis struggled down the stretch this season he seems only to be getting better with age.

Gonzalez had a stand-out debut for Mexico, and he might plug right in to the starting XI. Dos Santos also has a good case for a starting spot with his good form with the Galaxy heading into the tournament. Gutierrez is hurt a bit by Guardado playing the same position he does, but perhaps the Pachuca product can shoulder some of the load as the deep-lying player in the midfield, responsible for recoveries and protecting the defense.

Montes is another player who brings experience, and both he and Rodolfo Pizarro could play as No. 10s were Martino tempted to alter his preferred 4-3-3 formation. Pineda was a rising star who stopped rising but looks to be on the rebound after closing out the season well with La Maquina.


Forwards


Rodolfo Pizarro Mexico

Raul Jimenez (Wolves), Rodolfo Pizarro (Monterrey), Alexis Vega (Chivas)

There is no doubt Jimenez will lead the line for El Tri. With many of the team's best attacking players missing, having a Premier League forward in good form makes life much easier for Martino. The concern is the depth.

Alvarado likely will be called upon to play on the wing, with Gallardo also potentially moving from left back into the attack. On the other side, it's likely Pizarro will get the nod, but the Monterrey attacker is not a true winger. Vega could be utilized when Jimenez needs a rest or as a spark off the bench.


Full Mexico Gold Cup roster


Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa (Standard Liege), Hugo Gonzalez (Necaxa), Jonathan Orozco (Santos Laguna)

Defenders: Edson Alvarez (America), Nestor Araujo (Celta), Carlos Salcedo (Tigres), Hector Moreno (Real Sociedad), Diego Reyes (Leganes), Luis "Chaka" Rodriguez (Tigres), Jesus Gallardo (Monterrey), Cesar Montes (Monterrey), Jorge Sanchez (America), Fernando Navarro (Leon), 

Midfielders: Andres Guardado (Real Betis), Roberto Alvarado (Cruz Azul), Carlos Gonzalez (Monterrey), Jonathan dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Erick Gutierrez (PSV), Luis Montes (Leon), Orbelin Pineda (Cruz Azul)

Forwards: Raul Jimenez (Wolves), Rodolfo Pizarro (Monterrey), Alexis Vega (Chivas)

*Uriel Antuna will replace Edson Alvarez if Alvarez has to pull out because of injury


Notable absences


- Hirving Lozano (PSV - on provisional roster but out with knee injury)

- Miguel Layun (Monterrey - on provisional roster but out with renal issue)

- Hector Herrera (Porto - fatigue and impending transfer)

- Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez (West Ham United - birth of child)

- Jesus "Tecatito" Corona (Porto - dispute with manager)

- Carlos Vela (LAFC - declined call-up)

- Victor Guzman (Pachuca - manager's decision) 

- Javier Aquino (Tigres - reportedly declined call-up)

- Diego Lainez (Real Betis - played with U-20 World Cup team)

- Juan Jose Macias (Leon - played with U-20 World Cup team)

Source: Internet