Goalkeepers: Alfredo Talavera (Toluca), Jose Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul), Guillermo Ochoa (Malaga)
Defenders: Rafa Marquez (Atlas), Nestor Araujo (Santos Laguna), Diego Reyes (Real Sociedad), Hector Moreno (PSV Eindhoven), Yasser Corona (Queretaro), Paul Aguilar (America), Miguel Layun (Porto), Jorge Torres Nilo (Tigres UANL)
Midfielders: Andres Guardado (PSV Eindhoven), Hector Herrera (Porto), Jesus Duenas (Tigres UANL), Carlos Pena (Chivas), Jurgen Damm (Tigres UANL), Javier Aquino (Tigres UANL), Jesus Molina (Santos Laguna)
Attackers: Javier Hernandez (Bayer Leverkusen), Raul Jimenez (Benfica), Oribe Peralta (America), Hirving Lozano (Pachuca), Jesus Manuel Corona (Porto)
The Skinny: Mexico and manager Juan Carlos Osorio want to make a statement at the Copa America this year by taking down their South American rivals and winning the tournament.
The Mexicans certainly have the talent and the momentum to do just that. Under Osorio so far, El Tri have yet to concede a goal, much less lose a game. They are the hottest team in the tournament on form, and leading the line for them will be a player coming off of the best season of his career.
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez will be the focal point of Mexico’s attack, and he has had a career revival this season after moving to Bayer Leverkusen from Manchester United. Hernandez was the fourth-highest goalscorer in the Bundesliga (Third over Thomas Muller if penalties are not counted), and Mexico will hope he can combine with young wingers Jesus “Tecatito” Corona and Hirving Lozano to continue his prowess in front of the net.
Chicharito Hernandez has had a career year at Bayer Leverkusen, scoring 26 in all competitions
While Hernanez has garnered many of the headlines leading up to the competition, the rest of Mexico’s team looks just as good. In the midfield look to see a lot of Andres Guardado, who has played excellently for PSV Eindhoven since moving there, a leader and top performer for El Tri. He will likely start with longtime partner Hector Herrera in the center. Carlos Pena has had a strong Clausura campaign for Guadalajara, may also feature alongside them.
Mexico looks solid in the back as well with Guardado’s PSV teammate Hector Moreno manning his usual post at left centre back alongside Diego Reyes. Whether he plays on the left or the right, expect Miguel Layun to be a danger to opposing defenses as well as a significant part of Mexico’s own defense. Layun had a breakout season for FC Porto this year, scoring seven goal and racking up 19 assists in all competitions.
Mexico’s quality alone should propel them through group C, where their most dangerous competition (Uruguay) will be without their star striker. The Uruguayans certainly still pose a threat to El Tri, but without Suarez and with Mexico basically playing at home, Mexico expect to emerge from their Glendale, AZ matchup victorious.
If Mexico win their group, their path through the knockout stages of the tournament will be a challenge at every turn. In their first knockout game they would face the second place team from group D, possibly Argentina but likely Chile. Mexico would prefer to draw Chile, who they have been fairly successful against recently, including a 1-0 win just yesterday in a friendly. After that El Tri could draw teams like Costa Rica, the United States, Ecuador or Brazil. If they make it to the final, Argentina are the favorites to make the final from the other side of the bracket.
It will be a difficult path to the final for Mexico, but with their talent and recent success, they should be aiming high at the Copa America this year.
Key Performers: Javier Hernandez, Miguel Layun, Andres Guardado
Predicted Finish in Group C: First Place