When he took over as Mexico boss, Miguel Herrera faced a difficult job. He had to get his team through an intercontinental playoff to qualify for the World Cup, then get a completely dysfunctional side ready for the finals in six months. He succeeded admirably, mostly by implementing the system he used at Club America and selecting players who knew how to play in it.
But for Mexico to improve going forward, Herrera knows that he needs a more versatile team with different types of players. He also knows that some of the players he leaned on at the World Cup won't even be suited for playing at next summer's Gold Cup, so he's having to look everywhere for players, and he's brought in some new faces for November's friendlies.
His most notable call-up for this squad is Carlos Vela, the Real Sociedad star who has snubbed El Tri or been snubbed by them for three years. It's probably only happening because this is the first time Vela needs Mexico as much as they need him, but fans won't care. The best Mexican player is finally playing for Mexico.
He's doing it alongside three other La Liga-based strikers. Mexico haven't called up mainstay Oribe Peralta or 'Cubo' Erick Torres, who technically can't play for any club until January. The defense also features a lot of new faces -- Hector Moreno is still out injured and Hugo Ayala isn't fit to make the squad either. Meanwhile, young midfielder Jesus Manuel Corona could get his first cap, while Jonathan dos Santos might finally get a shot to make an impact.
Guessing Mexico's Gold Cup squad right now is impossible. Guessing three-quarters of the players on it is impossible. And ultimately, that's a good thing. Herrera's giving lots of players looks, he'll start narrowing his team down in the spring, and he'll have a lot of information when he's picking his squad for the summer.
Here's the full squad for this set of friendlies. Mexico play the Netherlands on November 12 and Belarus on November 18.
Defenders (10): Paul Aguilar (America), Diego Reyes (Porto), Adrian Aldrete (Santos), Miguel Ponce (Toluca), Julio Dominguez (Cruz Azul), Enrique Perez (Atlas), Oswaldo Alanis (Santos), Miguel Angel Herrera (Pachuca), Luis Venegas (Atlas), George Corral (Queretaro)
Midfielders (6): Andres Guardado (PSV), Hector Herrera (Porto), Jose Juan Vazquez (Leon), Jonathan dos Santos (Villarreal), Arturo Gonzalez (Atlas), Jesus Manuel Corona (Twente)
Forwards (4): Giovani dos Santos (Villarreal), Javier Hernandez (Real Madrid), Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad), Raul Jimenez (Atletico Madrid)