Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez fractured his clavicle in his shoulder during Wednesday night’s friendly with Honduras. The injury will keep him out of action for four weeks, during which time he will miss the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup.
The injury occurred mid-way through the first half when he fell awkwardly after battling for the ball with Honduras’ Brayan Beckeles. He was rushed to hospital, and as soon as Mexican team doctors announced that surgery would be needed, it was clear that he would be out of the tournament.
Miguel Herrera has called up Santos Laguna’s 27-year-old striker Javier’ Chuleta’ Orozco in his place. While Orozco enjoyed a fine end to the Clausura season, bagging four goals in his side’s 5-0 demolition of Queretaro in the first leg of the final along with a solitary goal in the quarter final against Tigres UANL, he hardly set the Liga MX on fire during the regular season.
In fact, he only scored one league goal all campaign – the opener in Santos’ 2-2 draw with Puebla on the final day. He also grabbed two Copa MX goals, one against Queretaro and one against Atletico San Luis (a game in which he was also sent off).
The fact he is the best Mexico can call upon after Hernandez’s injury is telling.
El Tri’s necessity to play in both the Copa America and the CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer was always going to be a stretch on resources – but after their dismal performance in the CONMEBOL tournament, questions have to be asked about the logic behind the selection process.
Why were some of the Copa America squad not included on the 35-man Gold Cup preliminary squad list?
Herrera knew he was taking a second string squad to Chile, and privately must have known that a place in either the semis or the final was a remote possibility, even if he expected a better performance than that which ultimately transpired.
In the event, Mexico only played three games in South America. The last of which – a 2-1 loss to Ecuador – took place on the 19th June. It is only one day short of three weeks between that match and El Tri’s Gold Cup opener against Cuba next Thursday. Fitness would not have been an issue.
Players such as Raul Jimenez and Matias Vuoso (the only two players to score for Mexico in Chile with two goals each), could have easily been included on the 35-man list. If Mexico had gone far in the Copa America they would have remained unused – but it would have prevented the situation which has now emerged ever becoming a reality.
Similar arguments could be applied to others in the Copa America squad – Tigres’ Hugo Ayala and Chivas’ Marco Fabian are two names which immediately spring to mind.
Herrera and El Tri now face a huge month. Victory in Philadelphia on 26th July will lead to the dismal recent run of results and the Copa America debacle being quickly forgotten, failure could see a new man in charge of Mexico ahead of September’s friendly against Argentina.