Mexico are feeling good right now. They got four points from two away matches against the United States and Panama to start World Cup qualifying, but there are still eight matches to play. Juan Carlos Osorio is well aware of that, and that El Tri need to continue improving so they can make a deep run at next year's World Cup.
That's why Osorio has called in the best team at his disposal for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Trinidad and Tobago. What can we take away from that squad?
There are a ton of injuries
Giovani dos Santos, Jesus "Tecatito" Corona, Hirving Lozano, Javier Aquino and Marco Fabian all picked up injuries so they weren't available for selection, while Paul Aguilar's torn ACL continues to keep him from playing. All are key players for El Tri and would almost certainly all have been on this team. Losing six players of that quality is a lot to overcome.
Where are the fullbacks?
Osorio's team is almost devoid of true fullbacks. While injuries can explain an absence like Aguilar, Mexico could have turned to players like Jesus "Chapo" Sanchez, Jose Maduena or Raul "Dedos" Lopez. Instead, Osorio really has just Miguel Layun and Luis Reyes as options at fullback.
Between that and all the centerbacks Osorio has called in, bet on Mexico playing with three at the back and maybe even very attacking wingers at wingback like Jurgen Damm.
Kelvin KuoKelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Still no clear cut goalkeeper
Once again, Guillermo Ochoa, Alfredo Talavera and Jesus Corona have been called in. They've been the go-to trio for years, but none have really emerged as the team's No. 1 and Osorio has rotated between them ever since he took over.
There's no telling who Osorio will start, but one would think that Mexico would like to find a dependable starter at some point. The trio are all aging too and if none can step up, at what point does Osorio give someone else a chance? Hugo Gonzalez got a call-up last month, but did not play.
Gary A. VasquezGary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
All eyes on Orbelin Pineda
It's incredible that Pineda is still just 20 years old, seeing as he's been one of the better players in Liga MX for several years now. The Chivas man has emerged as the cream of the young Mexican central midfield crop. El Tri are loaded with good young players in the center, but Pineda is the best and Osorio can't stop speaking highly of him. His breakout for Mexico can't be far away.
Mexico's depth still blows the rest of CONCACAF away
Look at all those injuries. If any other team in CONCACAF lost three players that good, they'd be done for. Mexico lost six and still have far and away the best squad in the region. They even have players like Alan Pulido, Jorge Torres Nilo, Erick Gutierrez, Rodolfo Pizarro, Angel Zaldivar and Hugo Ayala, among others, who weren't called in.
The reason you question and criticze Osorio is because Mexico has so much talent. A player (or 10) will always be snubbed when there are this many good options.