By Ivan Orozco
MEXICO CITY -- It will be a while before Javier Orozco scores another goal in the CONCACAF Champions League. The Mexican striker transferred from Cruz Azul to Santos Laguna last month. The Guerreros are not in the upcoming Champions League for the first time in three years, but Orozco will have another avenue on which to demonstrate his international scoring exploits.
The Champions League all-time leading scorer with 24 goals will now have a shot at scoring for Mexico in this month’s CONCACAF Gold Cup. Head coach Jose Manuel de la Torre included the 25-year-old striker in his 23-man roster.
Orozco has previously been part of the national team, winning three caps in 2010, when interim coach Efrain Flores took over for the fired Sven Goran Eriksson. This time, under de la Torre, he will have an opportunity to claim a spot in Mexico’s Gold Cup starting 11.
The internal competition, however, promises to be intense.
De la Torre has some talented strikers at his disposal. Gold medalist Marco Fabian (Guadalajara), Raul Jimenez (Club America), Rafael Marquez Lugo (Morelia) and Isaac Brizuela (Atlas) all possess the ability to put the ball in the back of the net.
For obvious reasons, de la Torre won’t reveal his list of starters anytime before Mexico’s first Gold Cup match against Panama on July 7 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
El Tri comes into the tournament having won a record six Gold Cups (1993, ’96, ’98, 2003, 2009, and 2011) -- including the last two -- defeating the United States in both finals.
Mexico is considered a tournament favorite, but will face stiff competition this time around, especially as it attempts to utilize fully a talented, but youthful, roster.
It is possible that Orozco’s capacity to tally goals will be pivotal in any level of success that the Mexicans will experience in the 12th Gold Cup. After all, he has made scoring an impressive habit in the Champions League…he hopes to do the same on an even larger CONCACAF stage.