Mexico have announced they will be playing two U20 friendlies against Costa Rica during the FIFA break, and have released the call up list for those matches. Coach Luis Perez needs to prepare for the CONCACAF U20 Tournament, which is set to be held in the summer and where Mexico not will only play for a spot in the U20 World Cup but also for a spot in the next Olympic Games. Mexico will be playing against Costa Rica on January 29th and on February 1st. Both will be played in the Stadium of the Mexican Football Federation in Toluca.
The call up list is the following:
Goalkeepers: Jose Eulogio (Pachuca), Emiliano Perez (Necaxa), Leonardo Palestino (Mazatlan)
Defenders: Diego Gomez (Necaxa), Abraham Freyfeld (Pumas), Alfredo Gutierrez (Necaxa), Josue Diaz (Cruz Azul), Roman Torres (Necaxa), Salvador Mariscal (Santos), Jesus Alcantar (Necaxa)
Midfielders: Marcelo Flores (Arsenal), Fidel Ambriz (Leon), Joshua Mancha (Santos), Kerel Campos (America), Isaias Violante (Toluca), Alek Alvarez (Pumas), Dagoberto Espinoza (America), Rodolfo Garza (Atlas), Heriberto Jurado (Necaxa), Luis Najera (Tigres)
Forwards: Rodrigo Huescas (Cruz Azul), Ali Avila (Monterrey), Esteban Lozano (America)
The most notable call up is of Arsenal prodigy Marcelo Flores. Flores had earned a call up for the Senior Mexican National Team, making his debut in the friendly against Chile. Many fans wanted him to get called up, especially since he’s also eligible for Canada (where he was born), and Canada had said they would call him up for a training camp. That camp however had to be suspended because of COVID-19 restrictions. The reality though is that he wouldn’t have gotten playing time with the senior team in the World Cup qualifiers, while he might be the most important player for the U20 team. Other notable call ups are the return of players like Kerel Campos and Fidel Ambriz.
Mexico’s participation in the CONCACAF U20 Tournament is of supreme importance. Because the tournament will be used to decide which teams will be CONCACAF’s Olympic representatives, it means that the 2022 CONCACAF U20 Tournament is even more important for Mexico than the U20 World Cup. Mexico has been preparing itself with tough friendlies in Europe in 2021 and then finished off with the 2021 Revelations Cup in Celaya, which Mexico won after a tie against Colombia and wins against Brazil and the United States. Still Mexico needs to prepare and at times it looks like the Mexican media haven’t found out about the importance of the U2O World Cup Qualifiers, especially in terms of the situation with Marcelo Flores. It looks like it might be a situation where they don’t pay attention until it’s too late. Hopefully by that time, Luis Perez team is ready to reach their goal.