When Gerardo "Tata" Martino was appointed as Mexico’s national team manager, it was clear that he will need to build almost an entire new team for the 2022 World Cup. However, Martino mentioned that although he is not planning to count on veteran players, in the long run, he would like to make the process gradually. In his eyes, Tata still wants to have most of the veteran players during the Gold Cup this summer, alongside introducing several younger players to the squad. In theory, it sounds great, but reality can be different sometimes.
On the list of players that won't be with Mexico in the Gold Cup, we can find Javier Hernandez, that expects his wife's birth during the tournament time. Besides, some players asked not to be called, like Hector Herrera, who wants to solve his professional future, and Carlos Vela, that wanted to focus on his club career. Tata is also facing a list of injured players including Miguel Layun and Hirving Lozano. Suddenly, almost a third of the Mexican squad to the 2018 World Cup will be absent.
Tata will have no other choice than using the young and talented players earlier than expected. Two of them, Edson Alvarez and Jesus Gallardo, already played a year ago in Russia, but many other players will get the chance to prove that they deserve to be in the team. The one who will have his real test at the Gold Cup is Orbelin Pineda.
Queretaro's former wonder kid is only 23 years old, but already has a vast experience in Mexican football. Pineda learned what it means to be a hard-working person while he worked on his family's farm since he was young. In his debut senior season, he had an opportunity to play with a huge superstar like Ronaldinho Gaucho, but it was another lesson for Pineda. He had to find a balance between hard working and enjoying the game. This balance made him eventually to be one of the most talented prospects in Mexico.
There was no more obvious step for him than moving to a bigger club, and his next stop was Chivas Guadalajara. It took him several months to get into the business, but when it happened, he became an essential player in a team that won four trophies in two years under Matias Almeyda. Unfortunately, Almeyda left and Pineda's good form was gone. A weak tournament was the sign for the critics to say that Pineda may be another lost Mexican talent.
Before these critics became his reality, Pineda had another chance. Chivas has struggled on the pitch and also faced financial problems. To help the club, Pineda was sold to Cruz Azul. He took the opportunity, as he helped Cruz Azul to qualify to the Liga MX playoffs and get back into Tata Martino's lists.
Pineda will find himself in an unexpected position in this Gold Cup. If the leading midfielders, Hector Herrera and Carlos Vela, could take part, Pineda would probably found himself out of the squad. It will be an excellent time for him to get back to his days on the farm. With his hard work, Pineda can use this tournament and become a player that Martino couldn't leave away at the next missions.