Guemez, Salcedo and Corona ones to watch at Copa America
Mexico manager Miguel "Piojo" Herrera has undoubtedly saved his best squad for July's Gold Cup. In order to fight for a spot in the 2017 Confederations Cup -- and regain dominance in CONCACAF -- Herrera has left big names like Javier Hernandez, Andres Guardado, Giovani dos Santos, and many others out of his Copa America roster.
For the tournament in Chile, Herrera has brought along numerous fringe and back-up players for Mexico. With a need for two different squads this summer, a couple of atypical names -- like Juan Carlos Valenzuela and Vicente Matias Vuoso -- have been given a chance to once again play for the national team.
Although there will undoubtedly be worries for Mexico in this month's tournament, a few of the younger names on the roster have the potential to stand out in the competition. With good performances this summer, a few young players could make a name for themselves and emerge as exciting prospects for El Tri going forward.
Here are three young players to watch for Mexico in the Copa America.
1. Javier Guemez
It was no surprise to see Club America make a move and sign 23-year-old Javier Guemez. The defensive midfielder is a calming presence on the pitch and is consistent with his dominant performances in the midfield. After joining Club Tijuana in 2013, Guemez immediately became a starter for the team and was a key player for Los Xolos in nearly every season match.
Guemez is an aggressive player with plenty of strength to back it up. The youngster is also great with his interceptions and short passes going forward. Against Brazil last Sunday, Guemez had one of the few positive performances for Mexico and worked well with Mario Osuna as the second defensive midfielder.
Depending on Herrera's utilization of one or two defensive midfielders, Guemez may work with a player like Osuna or Juan Carlos Medina alongside him. Either way, Guemez's consistency and confident presence should him a stalwart in any of Mexico's formations during the Copa America.
2. Carlos Salcedo
At just 21 years of age, Carlos Salcedo is the youngest member of the Copa America roster, but plays like a seasoned veteran for country and club. During the most recent Clausura season, Salcedo formed a centre-back partnership with Jair Pereira that was arguably one of the best in Liga MX, as Chivas allowed only 16 goals in 17 league games. His play for the Guadalajara club also earned him a spot on the Liga MX ideal starting XI for the 2015 Clausura.
Salcedo's fantastic marking and strength makes him a headache for any attack. The defender seems to be getting better every match and has yet to step away from any opportunities given to him by El Tri or Chivas. While other players his age tend to show justifiable hesitance or anxiety, Salcedo takes control of his spot in defense with a surprising amount of ease.
Considering El Tri's recent worries concerning a lack of defensive options, Salcedo's surprisingly quick rise provides a sigh of relief for many Mexico fans. Going forward for Mexico, Salcedo could easily take over for Francisco "Maza" Rodriguez as Mexico's best right center back.
3. Jesus "Tecatito" Corona
In the midst of all Mexico's uncertainty for the Copa America, there is hope in Jesus "Tecatito" Corona.
The 22-year-old Twente player plays with no inhibition when the ball is at his feet and takes advantage of any opportunity given to him. Corona is a risk-taker that Mexico will likely need this month against daunting opponents. While other midfielders see a roadblock when faced with two opposing players, Corona sees an opportunity.
Corona has an immense amount of speed and an excellent touch with the ball that has helped Twente during the 2014-15 season. The midfielder has easily been Mexico's best player during their pre-tournament friendlies and he may have to carry the team to success in Chile.
Unfortunately for Corona, his courage with the ball is also his downfall. At times, he takes on one player too many and can even be selfish with his possession. That being said, if Mexico wants to avoid an embarrassing showing this month, the squad must optimize Corona's presence on the field.
Corona has already made a name for himself in the Eredivisie and has the talents to truly stand out in the Copa America this month.
Cesar Hernandez covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @cesarhfutbol.