[dropcap]M[/dropcap]exico’s last CONCACAF Gold Cup warm-up ended last Wednesday in a 0-0 draw with Honduras and a fractured collarbone to forward Javier Hernandez, but don’t count out the Tricolor just yet.
That’s the belief of defender Miguel Layun, who helped Watford achieve promotion for the upcoming English Premier League season. He said that even though the Gold Cup campaign would be challenging under any circumstances, there’s more than enough capacity and experience on the roster to contend for a record-extending seventh title.
“It is always difficult to lose a teammate, above all one with the quality of Javier, more so personally than from a football perspective,” said Layun. “We know that he is a player that gives us many things and as a person he is great human being. So it always hurts the mood to have a loss of such a close teammate and now the team has to work. And we hope that Javier is okay and recovers quickly.”
Despite Hernandez’s involuntary absence, Mexico still has an impressive collection of proven offensive talents at its disposal. Giovani Dos Santos was the 2009 Gold Cup’s MVP and has five career goals in the competition, while Oribe Peralta—the 2013 CONCACAF Player of the Year—is the second all-time leading scorer in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League (19 goals) and has struck 10 times in 11 all-time World Cup qualifiers.
“We lose Javier’s characteristics,” Layun continued. “He always tries to generate scoring chances. Now, the most important thing is to continue looking to create with the players that we have, that are also of quality, like Oribe, like Giovani, who both do things well.
“We have to think about having a good tournament. It is going to be key that the team remains focused on the job we have to do and takes best advantage of these days of preparation.”
Mexico will open Gold Cup play on July 9 in Chicago against Cuba and Layun is focused on getting off to a good start.
“With each Cup that is played, it is more difficult,” the 27-year-old finished. “The teams work better each time. What’s most important for us in the first match is to go out on the pitch and demonstrate good football in order to take home all three points.”
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