Alvarez injury highlights Martino’s Gold Cup roster error

first_imgTata Martino rarely makes mistakes.  You can see it in his record. At his previous, he won MLS Cup with Atlanta United. He’s three for three with Mexico after El Tri’s 3-1 victory over Venezuela on Wednesday.  But sometimes the wiser a man, the more significant his errors. Martino has stepped in it with his choice to name only a 29-man provisional roster rather than the flush 40-man squad.  Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Edson Alvarez limped off the field early in Wednesday’s victory, grabbing at the same knee that kept the Club America defender/midfielder from helping Las Agilas during the Liguilla. He tried to stay in the game but eventually made way in the 31st minute.  Martino now doesn’t have tough cuts to make. He has no cuts to make at all. Alvarez will stay on the roster unless a quick diagnosis is made. Obviously, the hope is the 21-year-old will be fine. He’s a valuable part of the national team, playing at the 2018 World Cup as a right back but now profiling as the defensive midfielder of the future for Martino. The links with teams in the Netherlands and even in the Premier League or La Liga make sense. This is a star on the rise. “Apart from what Edson means for the team and for the way the team works, it makes me sad that he could be out after a friendly match and after all the effort he put in to be there,” Martino told Univision. “Training, double sessions with the trainers, because he had a lot of desire to be part of the team. Unfortunately, we’ve taken care of him a lot in every training, even participating in reduced spaces, after when he was playing a really good game an unfortunate play happens and he falls again. “We’re going to wait and see. Apart from the football, where it’s obvious he’s not the player you want to lose, it worries me or, better said, it makes me sad that with the effort he made may not be rewarded.” If he isn’t fit, though, it’s a simple math problem. From the 29-man squad, Hirving Lozano and Miguel Layun were ruled out before the first flight. That makes 27. Marco Fabian and Ivan Rodriguez are unlikely to recover from ankle injuries in time for the tournament. That takes it down to 25. Mexico currently is carrying four goalkeepers. Cut one of them and you’re at 24. Alvarez, or anyone else, getting injured brings you to the 23-man max allowed at the competition. Edson Alvarez Mexico 2019The manager did have his logic for calling up a limited group rather than filling out his squad.  “If we included all the players who are out on the list, surely we would’ve gotten close to 40,” Martino said Tuesday in a pre-match news conference. “If we consider that those players could have been part of the 40 and we’d given the list of 40 like that, we would have run the risk of putting a player on the list that could be the 50th, and I don’t like to generate expectations in a player who normally has just a small chance of coming.  “Today, including having made the decision we made with Diego Lainez and Jose Juan Macias, who played at the U-20 World Cup, and all the players who went to the U-22, I think it was the exact quantity of players we had to bring in because even with problems we still have, we’re covered in case Ivan or Marco can’t be there. Today, if we don’t have any inconveniences, we wouldn’t have to ask for any permission.”  But that’s the whole point of the provisional roster.   Martino was frustrated at the lack of communication from Jesus “Tecatito” Corona in March. The player was called in, then Martino heard from someone else that he wouldn’t be there. The manager is right to be bothered, even upset at the situation. But why can’t he open the same lines of communication.  Is a player like Omar Govea or Jonathan Gonzalez not able to hear from Martino that the coach has him on the provisional roster but considers him to be a long shot for the Gold Cup? Are Victor Guzman or Isaac Brizuela not mature enough to be told they’re on the cusp but ultimately not in Martino’s plans? Heck, could he not have tossed Giovani dos Santos on the list, making clear to the player he would be called upon only in an absolute emergency? Gio at the Gold Cup may seem crazy, but having an “In case of emergency break glass here for warm-bodied attacker” wouldn’t be the worst option.  Managers of every other Gold Cup team save Cuba have been having the same conversations with their fringe players. Why would it be any different for someone who has managed egos as large as the ones present at Barcelona?  The victory Wednesday at least will help alleviate some of the worries heading into the tournament. El Tri now has beaten three quality South American teams in 2019. With Peru topping Costa Rica 1-0 Wednesday and Honduras drawing with a Paraguay team Mexico beat, the results show Mexico still should be the favorite to lift the Gold Cup. “Honestly, it helps us a lot, most of all with our confidence,” said Rodolfo Pizarro, who scored Mexico’s second goal. “We know that a lot of important players, unfortunately, have had to leave the national team because of decisions. Those who are here are here, and we have to give everything for the national team.” Martino may get a break with Alvarez being fit for the tournament. He may be able to lead Mexico to the Gold Cup title even with a shorthanded squad. If the results keep coming, we won’t remember who was on the provisional or that there seemed to be a depth crisis before the tournament.  Yet, the veteran manager seems to have made a rookie mistake. He took an unnecessary risk in not putting more names on his list. It’s a risk that didn’t pay off.last_img read more