ZURICH -- Ventura Alvarado's 10-minute cameo against Denmark didn't tie him to the U.S. team, but the Mexican-American defender told ESPN FC on Friday that he's committed to representing the United States.
About 90,000 fans are expected at the sold-out Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night for the friendly between Mexico and Ecuador -- and most of those in attendance will be supporting El Tri.
Mexico manager Miguel "Piojo" Herrera will have plenty of support but little time to fine-tune the squad before the Copa America and Gold Cup tournaments this summer. Including Saturday's match, Herrera has only three matches for experimenting before the Copa America tournament, which begins in June.
Mexico's World Cup experience in Brazil seems like a lifetime ago, and whatever equity built on the back of El Tri's performance last summer is long gone. As we get deeper into 2015 with a busy international calendar on the horizon, El Tri will soon turn its attention to two major regional competitions in the Gold Cup and Copa America -- with the Gold Cup considered the priority whereas Copa America will be more of a proving ground for a secondary El Tri team.
Head coach Miguel Herrera has mentioned time and again the need to broaden the player pool to afford Mexico the opportunity to call in two different squads for each tournament and give its young players experience on the international stage and/or first-team reps. As Mexico looks toward the future of the national team, Herrera and El Tri must find players who can carry the team forward in 2015 and beyond, players who can create their own history of success and vision for the future, just as aging-out veterans like Rafa Marquez did before them.
In order for El Tri to continue to grow, the development and maturation of the following five young players will be at the forefront heading into a busy summer of international tournaments. Here's a look at a handful of promising Mexican players whose development will be key to the team's success in the 2018 World Cup cycle.
Diego Reyes | Age: 22 | Pos.: Defender | Club: FC Porto (Portugal)
Yes, that Diego Reyes, the same one who went to the World Cup and has featured time and again under Herrera. Reyes is only 22 years old and for some time now has been handpicked to be the next Marquez. However, Reyes has yet to live up to those lofty standards with either club or country.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- This is not a broken record. The sequel to whether Cruz Azul's Jesus Corona or Malaga's Guillermo Ochoa is Mexico's best goalkeeper is happening again.
It's one of the big decisions for Mexico coach Miguel Herrera ahead of Saturday's friendly against Ecuador. Herrera has gotten a good look at both shot stoppers as his El Tri squad have managed a rare five days of training together here ahead of their first match of 2015.
Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez's goal drought has run longer than the Mexico national team's four-month gap between matches.
The 26-year-old striker's last goal for club or country came in Amsterdam on Nov. 12 against a strong Dutch side, which Mexico dispatched 3-1. Before that, it was in a Real Madrid shirt on Oct. 29 in the Copa del Rey against lowly Cornella. On Saturday, when Mexico takes on Ecuador in L.A. Memorial Coliseum, it will be exactly 150 days since Hernandez hit the back of the net...