Mexico’s Edson Alvarez (pictured) celebrates after scoring against Curacao in the CONCACAF Gold Cup on July 16, 2017, in San Antonio, Texas, USA. (Photo: AFP Services)
MEXICO CITY, Mexico – Two players who stood out for Mexico during the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup are looking to do the same in upcoming CONCACAF qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup against Panama (September 1, home) and Costa Rica (September 5, away).
Club America defender Edson Alvarez and Guaalajara midfielder Orbelin Pineda each received a call-up from head coach Juan Carlos Osorio to help Mexico (4W-2D-0L, 14 points) cement their place in next summer’s World Cup with at least a draw in either of the next two matches.
Alvarez was excellent for Mexico during the Gold Cup, appearing in five matches, four as a starter and scoring a goal in the 2-0 group stage win over Curacao.
Just 19 years old, Alvarez already sounds like a proven veteran when talking about Mexico’s mission on Friday against the Canaleros.
“Friday is going to be crucial to get the three points to be where we all want to be,” said Alvarez to reporters. “It will not be easy against Panama, but to be at home helps a lot.”
Like Alvarez, the 21-year-old Pineda was also a key member of El Tricolor’s semifinal run at the Gold Cup, appearing in five matches, four as a starter, and scoring in the 3-1 group stage win against El Salvador.
Pineda says he is eager to get back on the field with the national team and contribute in any way possible.
“We are anxious to be able to participate in these important matches. The coach chooses those who are at the best level and it will be interesting to see who starts,” said Pineda to reporters.
“I have always said that to be in the Mexican National Team is a great opportunity,” concluded Pineda.