Mexico announced the U23 squad that will play in the 2023 Central America and Caribbean Games, which will be played in El Salvador from June 23 to July 8th. Mexico is in Group A along with two other teams, hosts El Salvador and the Dominican Republic, this after Venezuela dropped out of the tournament. The top two teams will qualify to the semifinals as they battle for the gold medal.
The call up squad by coach Gerardo Espinoza was the following:
Goalkeepers: Eduardo Garcia (Tapatio), Fernando Tapia (Venados)
Defenders: Rodrigo Huescas (Cruz Azul), Jesus Gomez (Atlas), Diego Campillo (Tapatio), Eduardo Aguila (San Luis), Oscar Villa (Leon), Rafael Guerrero (Cruz Azul), Miguel Gomez (Tapatio)
Midfielders: Jordan Carrillo (Sporting Gijon), Fidel Ambriz (Leon), Zahid Muñoz (Chivas), Rodrigo Lopez (Queretaro), Denzell Garcia (FC Juarez), Eduardo Armenta (San Luis), Isaias Violante (Toluca)
Forwards: Ettson Ayon (Queretaro), Ali Avila (Monterrey), Bryan Gonzalez (Pachuca), Ricardo Monreal (Necaxa)
The team is mostly made up of the U23 team that played under Espinoza for the friendlies against Spain (1-1) and France (1-0) in Europe. Only one player of the U23 team in Toulon made the squad in Isaias Violante, as the team finished in second place after a disappointing loss in the final against Panama (4-1). It was however expected that only Mexican clubs would release players for this tournament. Thus the call up of Jordan Carrillo, who plays with Sporting Gijon in the Spanish Second Division is somewhat surprising.
The Central American and Caribbean games had nine teams going into the tournament with four teams in Group A and five in Group B. Yet changes came after both South American teams (Venezuela and Colombia) dropped out, which means that Group A will have three teams and Group B will have four. Mexico was drawn in Group A with the hosts and the Dominican Republic. They will open their tournament on June 28th facing the Dominican Republic in a must win match to book the ticket to the semifinals. They will skip match day two, and then face the hosts on Sunday July 2, in what is expected to be a high-tension match. With the South American teams, Mexico will be the favorites, along with El Salvador to get the gold medal. Anything else will be looked at like a setback. Mexico last won the gold medal in 2014, when they hosted the games in Veracruz after defeating Venezuela in the final by a 4-1 score.