Mexico won their Group in the Gold Cup after defeating Curaçao 2-0 on Sunday. Although the result was positive one, the performance left a lot to be desired and most fans felt the team was a disappointment. Mexico made 10 changes as only Orbelin Pineda started the last game against Jamaica. Mexico will face Honduras in the Quarterfinals with lots of doubts and a general lack of confidence from fans toward this team. Here are some observations:
This game was a test that many of them failed. While many people were angry with the overall performance of the team, what many of them should be angry about is that so many players failed to live up to their potential. The Curaçao game was mostly used as a test for the rest of the players, which is why they made those 10 changes from the last game. The fact is that most of the players failed in making an impact and were exposed. Luis Rodriguez, Jair Pereira and Raul Lopez saw their first minutes of action in the tournament and only Lopez proved to be worthy of the opportunity. Players like Jorge Hernandez and Martin Barragan, who had played poorly in their limited minutes played so far in the tournament, both repeated woeful performances. If the tournament is set to be a test for players, the fact of the matter is that most of them aren't in the path to get a pass.
The gulf of talent is not only evident in regards to the A team but in this same team. While a positive that can be taken from the game was the impact the substitutions had on the game, it can also be seen as if the gulf of talent between the bench players and starters is very evident. Elias Hernandez, Edson Alvarez and Jesus Gallardo came in and Mexico took control of the game and finally started to show the superiority in play that many expected before. The fact that many of the reserved players failed so badly is worrying in regards to a bench that Osorio has been shown to consistently use. The team should benefit from the return of players like Rodolfo Pizarro and Jesus Molina, but seeing how Osorio will resort to his bench players eventually, this is a problem.
This teams needs reinforcements but won't get them. This CONCACAF Gold Cup has the peculiarity that teams can make six roster changes from the original 40 man rosters. Teams like the United States have already said that they will take advantage and change six players. This Mexican team looks like they need the help, especially at forward, but they won’t get it. Unlike every other team, Mexico participated in the Confederations cup, which means that players in the roster like Jurgen Damm or Oribe Peralta already had a summer tournament. Clubs aren't likely to like the idea of them missing the start of the tournament or increasing the workload of these players to play in the gold cup. On the other hand a team like Chivas could have allow Angel Zaldivar, but they are already going to miss Alan Pulido because of his injury in the friendly against Paraguay and will not like the risk that will come if Zaldivar leaves for the Gold Cup.
Mexico has an easier path to the Gold Cup final but it might still not be enough. Mexico will face an Honduras team that hasn't scored a goal and only went through after French Guiana forfeited their game by playing ineligible Florent Malouda. Still, Honduras has their best team and should be a tougher game than any of the ones played in the group. That said, it's a benefit to Mexico that Costa Rica, United States and Panama are all on the other side of the bracket. They will, nonetheless, need to improve if they want to make the final.