Jonathan dos Santos (white jersey), shown playing against Guatemala in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, has 19 caps for Mexico. (Photo: Manuel Montoya/Straffon Images)
MEXICO CITY – Mexico returns to action Saturday in an international friendly against New Zealand in Nashville, Tennessee. Four days later, the Gold Cup champion will meet CONCACAF-rival Panama in Bridgeview, Illinois.
The team is in Mexico City training under the guidance of head coach Juan Carlos Osorio. After a few training sessions, internal competition for starting places is clearly evident.
“There is a lot of competition in the national team. That there are good players in all positions is best,” said midfielder Jonathan dos Santos. “I’ve played regularly in my club (Spain’s Villarreal). The injuries have ceased and I have been working every day, so that another call arrives. Now I’m worried about doing well and taking advantage of this opportunity that Osorio is giving me.”
Attacker Marco Fabian, who has two goals in four German Bundesliga games this season with Eintrach Frankfurt, is of the opinion that talented players challenging each other can only make Mexico stronger.
“I think the national team looks good. It has been working well,” the 27-year-old remarked. “I was with the team before the Canada (World Cup Qualifying) game and it always works very well. We have to see the positive things, trying to win ourselves a place. We are in the same boat and we all have the same objective. The head coach asked for intense work from us. He knows us. The opportunity is there for all and it depends on us to win ourselves a place.”
Similar to Dos Santos and Fabian, Guadalajara forward Alan Pulido doesn’t see his Mexico teammates as competitors or rivals, but rather as key pieces in helping the Tricolor qualify for a seventh straight World Cup.
“I find myself with great players, who come in doing things well,” concluded Pulido. “The teamwork and the confidence is what is going to give us good results.”
Mexico’s record in 2016 currently stands at 8W-2D-1L.