Going into the Copa America, I had realistic expectations of how Mexico’s run would end. Best case scenario, Mexico makes it out of the group and loses in quarterfinals. Most realistic expectation was for them to crash out of the group. Either way, I was fine with the destination but we were promised a slightly different journey…

Player Pool Has Not Expanded

“Generational Change” was a phrase thrown around a lot as call ups for the summer were about to be announced. It was meant to prepare the fans that usual players such as Guillermo Ochoa, Hirving Lozano, Henry Martin and others, were not going to be called up this summer. Many, including myself, were okay with the omissions because this summer was about finding new, younger players for the national team. All of this with an eye towards 2026.

And yet, Mexico did not expand their player pool at all this summer. It was all window dressing and means another chance to involve youngsters will be wasted. The generational change should have happened last summer in the Gold Cup but the FMF was too embarrassed after losing another final to the US. So they made winning the Gold Cup a priority and called in all the usual suspects. Its much easier to give a U22 player his first senior start against Haiti than against Uruguay. Still, they chose this summer for their generational change and it amounted to ZERO. The same summer the U23 squad is sitting at home after missing out on the Olympics. Jesus Orozco, Bryan Gonzalez and Marcelo Flores were on the roster but saw 0 minutes in the Copa America. Only Orozco saw any minutes this summer and it was when Jimmy Lozano played a b-squad against Uruguay that got smoked.

Other than Cesar Huerta, I can’t name a new player Jimmy Lozano has brought into the national team since he became manager. And even with Huerta, he still played Uriel Antuna twice the amount of minutes at the Copa America….

Tactics? What Tactics?

In addition to new players, another thing I was hoping to see was some tactical flexibility. The 433 is nice but we don’t really have the personnel to run it well. I assumed Lozano would try out other formations to see what suited his roster but instead he refused to deviate from a slow build 433. Even as it produced next to nothing in the attack and made Mexico’s lack of creativity even more obvious. It also did not play to Santiago Gimenez strengths. Jimmy had no answers and kept trying to shoehorn his players in the 433, regardless of the personnel or scoreline. He just looked out of his element and did not have any answers. Mexico scored 1 goal in 270 minutes and did not look much better in warm up friendlies before the Copa. If this is basically our player pool for 2026, then the FMF might be better off with a coach who can adapt to his player pool instead of trying to adapt his players to his rigid tactics.

I would have considered the summer a success if we incorporated some players that would be there in 2026. Imagine the same result, Mexico losing in the group stage but Jordan Carillo having a strong showing or Flores getting a goal or Omar Campos shining as a left wingback because Lozano changed his formation to fit his roster. Instead, the same players played in an ill suited formation and we got grouped.