Mexico's Gold Cup squad: How many make the cut for 2018 World Cup?
Now that the dust has settled following Mexico's stunning semifinal exit from the Gold Cup, it's worth revisiting how this squad performed. Keeping in mind that El Tri's roster was made up of alternate options, manager Juan Carlos Osorio likely used the CONCACAF tournament as an opportunity to test numerous backups.
With one year to go before the next World Cup, the stakes were high for plenty of fringe players who needed to impress Osorio. Now that the tournament is over, here are the current standings of those El Tri players who were fighting for roster spots for Russia 2018.
Should be in the World Cup squad
DF Edson Alvarez, GK Jose de Jesus Corona
For those who had a chance to watch Mexico's disappointing July, it shouldn't be that surprising to see just two names on this list.
In a competition that was filled with worrisome matches and constant individual errors, Edson Alvarez stood out with his versatility and confidence. Thanks to his ability to play a few positions, the 19-year-old defender has moved up several places on Mexico's depth chart, as no other starter was more consistent or reliable than Alvarez.
Although many will doubt Corona after he allowed Jamaica's game winner in the semis, the mistake was the one blemish in an otherwise impressive Gold Cup run. Were it not for the 36-year-old, El Tri's underwhelming tournament could have easily been a catastrophic one.
Neither Corona nor Alvarez will start for Mexico in the next World Cup, but as seen in the past few weeks, they would at least be trustworthy backup options for the first team.
Still on the bubble
MF Jesus Duenas, MF Jesus Molina, DF Luis Reyes, DF Raul Lopez, MF Orbelin Pineda, MF Erick Gutierrez, MF Rodolfo Pizarro, MF Elias Hernandez
Midfielders Jesus Duenas and Jesus Molina were generally decent but also didn't exceed expectations in the Gold Cup. Reyes, who was fairly average, should have taken charge in the tournament as the only Mexico international who was worthy of playing in the Confederations Cup.
Given more time, Raul Lopez could have possibly joined Alvarez and Corona in the "definite" list. The high-pressing defender was brilliant in his one start but needs more opportunities to make a case for himself.
Looking elsewhere, Orbelin Pineda, Erick Gutierrez and Rodolfo Pizarro were some of the more frustrating players to watch. All three are future stars for El Tri but were far too inconsistent. That they have an immense amount of potential still works in their favor.
Speaking of inconsistency, Elias Hernandez's brilliant start later led to a dull finish for Mexico. That said, the winger's spark and risk-taking runs might earn him more opportunities in the near future.
Unlikely to make the trip
GK Moises Munoz, DF Hedgardo Marin, DF Hugo Ayala, DF Jair Pereira, FW Angel Sepulveda, DF Cesar Montes, MF Jesus Gallardo
Many of these players really needed to do something special to maintain a place within Mexico's first-team plans. Despite a lack of constant mistakes, fringe options such as Moises Munoz, Hedgardo Marin, Hugo Ayala and Jair Pereira weren't able to upgrade their backup standing.
In attack, Angel Sepulveda and Jesus Gallardo were part of a forward line that regularly struggled to break down defenses. Similar to the aforementioned names, there is too much competition in their positions.
As for Cesar Montes, the much-anticipated senior national team debut of the 20-year-old turned out to be an unsatisfying one. The talented youngster will need more time before he adjusts to the pressures of El Tri.
Played their way out of contention for 2018
FW Martin Barragan, DF Luis Rodriguez, MF Jorge Hernandez, FW Erick Torres, DF Alejandro Mayorga, GK Miguel Fraga
Martin Barragan, Luis Rodriguez and Jorge "Burrito" Hernandez were the backups to the backups that had a tough time in the Gold Cup. Despite the fact that Erick "Cubo" Torres hit the post once, the striker never capitalized on his two starts.
Alejandro Mayorga and Miguel Fraga unfortunately have the honor of being the only two players in Mexico's roster who didn't earn at least one start.
Cesar Hernandez covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @cesarhfutbol.