Mexico are courting controversy once more ahead of a major tournament. One might have imagined that the team would be sick of negative attention following the doping scandal that was unveiled during the group stages of the Gold Cup, but there's been yet another bizarre incident in the very next tournament El Tri are participating in, where eight young players have been sent home from the Copa America after being caught up in a scandal involving prostitution.
Some of these players represented Mexico's best hopes of making waves in the Copa America, including Nestor Vidrio, Barcelona's Jonathan dos Santos, Javier Cortes and Marco Fabian. While replacements for the eight sent home have been drafted in, none of them can match the production of the likes of dos Santos and Cortes, leading Kevin McCauley of SB Nation's Mexican futbol blog FMF State of Mind to conclude that Mexico's ability at both striker and winger has been catastrophically compromised:
's Copa America squad is [now] without a young striker who plays regularly for his club, which is a problem. Rafael Marquez Lugo and Oribe Peralta both play regular football, but neither is the future of the national team. Ulises Davila and Alan Pulido are both talented, but neither plays regularly.
The team is now thin when it comes to talented wingers as well. Cortes and Fabian are two of the best wide players in Mexico and both almost certainly have a future with the senior national team, this incident aside. They will be, arguably, the focal points of the Chivas and Pumas attacks in this coming season, and they would have brought a lot to the team. Now, everyone on the side is either better playing centrally or nowhere near the talent of Cortes and Fabian.
Mexico are now in real trouble in terms of getting out of the group stages, where they have to deal with Alexis Sanchez's Chile and the glittering attacking talent of Uruguay. They were long shots to get a result against those two teams anyway, but that task has been made infinitely harder by the decision to send the eight involved home. Would the same had happened if it had been Mexico's Gold Cup hopes on the line?