[GOLD CUP: Group A] If Jose Manuel de la Torre was looking to the Gold Cup for respite from the wave of criticism of his handling of the Mexican national team, he might have to think again. A pair of losses to Mexican club teams -- 1-0 to second division Cruz Azul Hidalgo and 3-2 to Queretaro in match it trailed 3-0 -- has the Tri once again in crisis mode on the eve of Sunday's Gold Cup opener against Panama at the Rose Bowl.
Like the USA, Mexico is sending a "B" team to the Gold Cup -- even that is a stretch. The Tri has already lost six players from the original list of 23 players called up for the tournament. London Olympics gold-medal game hero Oribe Peralta, former Sporting Kansas City striker Omar Bravo, Hugo Ayala, Cirilo Saucedo, Fernando Arce and David Cabrera all pulled out of the team for various reasons.
De la Torre reiterated that Mexico's main goal was to qualify for the World Cup -- it sits third in the Hexagonal with one win and five ties, five points behind the USA after six games -- and win the Gold Cup, though it won't win many games the way it played against Queretaro, the former Jaguares team, on Wednesday.
Mexico won the 2009 Gold Cup with a 5-0 win over the USA in the final in front of a sell-out crowd of 79,156 at Giants Stadium.
Mexico's so-called "B" team included such young players as Giovani dos Santos, Carlos Vela, Guillermo Ochoa and Efrain Juarez, who along with five other players from the Gold Cup final went on to make Mexico's 2010 World Cup team.
The 2013 Gold Cup will afford an opportunity for other young Mexican stars to improve their standing on the national team with four more qualifiers to play.
Marco Fabian and Jorge Enriquez, who both play for Guadalajara, and Club America Raul Jimenezall remain highly rated.
Mexico opens Sunday against Panama, which it only managed to play to a 0-0 tie in their recent World Cup qualifier.
The Canaleros have brought seven starters from that game to the Gold Cup, though star Blas Perez will miss Sunday's opener. He'll be in Los Angeles on Sunday -- but will be playing for FC Dallas against the LA Galaxy.
Canada, which appointed Spaniard Benito Floro as its new head coach to replace interim coach Colin Millerafter the Gold Cup, plays Martinique in Sunday's other game.
Following Canada's exit from World Cup qualifying, Miller took over for Stephen Hart, who stepped down in October, and has picked a young team for the Gold Cup, leaving out such established MLS stars as Dwayne De Rosario and Patrice Bernier.
A team with limited resources, Martinique hasn't played in the Gold Cup since 2003 when it made its third appearance.
Group A Schedule:
July 7 in Pasadena, Calif.
Canada vs. Martinique, 2:30 p.m. PT (5:30 p.m. ET)
Mexico vs. Panama, 5:00 p.m. PT (8:00 p.m. ET)
July 11 in Seattle
Panama vs. Martinique, 5:30 p.m. PT (8:30 p.m. ET)
Mexico vs. Canada, 8 p.m. PT (11 p.m. ET)
July 14 in Denver
Martinique vs. Mexico, 2 p.m. MT (4 p.m. ET)
Panama vs. Canada, 4:30 p.m. MT (6:30 p.m. ET)
Goalkeepers:1-Lars Hirschfeld (Valerenga, NOR), 18-Milan Borjan (Sivasspor, TUR), 22-Simon Thomas (Vancouver Whitecaps)
Defenders: 2-Nik Ledgerwood (Hammarby, SWE), 3-Ashtone Morgan (Toronto FC), 4-Nana Attakora (San Jose Earthquakes), 5-David Edgar (Burnley, ENG), 17-Marcel De Jong (Augsburg, GER), 19-Adam Straith (No Club), 20-Doneil Henry (Toronto FC)
Midfielders:6-Julian De Guzman (No Club), 7-Russell Teibert (Vancouver Whitecaps), 8-Will Johnson (Portland Timbers), 12-Issey Nakajima-Farran (Alki, CYP), 13-Pedro Pacheco (Santa Clara, POR), 14-Samuel Piette (Fortuna Duesseldorf, GER), 15-Kyle Bekker (Toronto FC), 21-Jonathan Osorio (Toronto FC), 23-Keven Aleman (Real Valladolid, SPA)
Forwards: 9-Tosaint Ricketts (Sandnes, NOR), 10-Simeon Jackson (No Club), 11-Marcus Haber (Stevenage, ENG), 16-Randy Edwini-Bonsu (No Club),
Goalkeepers: 1-Emmanuel Vermignon (Club Colonial), 16-Loic Chauvet (Golden Star), 23-Kevin Olimpa (Bordeaux, FRA)
Defenders:2-Nicolas Zaire (Riviere-Pilote), 6-William Sery (Raon L’Etape, FRA), 8-Audrick Linord (Romorantin, FRA), 9-Frederic Piquionne (Portland Timbers), 12-Jacky Berdix (CS Case Pilote), 18-Gregory Arnolin (Sporting Gijon, SPA), 21-Sebastien Cretinoir (Club Colonial), 22-Jean-Sylvain Babin (Alcorcon, SPA)
Midfielders: 3-Lionel Ravi (Club Franciscain), 4-Daniel Herelle (Club Colonial, 5-Gael Germany (Paris FC, FRA), 13-Olivier Thomert (Le Mans, FRA), 14-Fabrice Reuperne (Golden Star), 15- Jordy Delem (Club Franciscain), 20-Stephane Abaul (Club Franciscain)
Forwards: 7-Steeve Gustan (Club Franciscain), 10-Kevin Tresfield (Club Franciscain), 11-Yoann Arquin (Notts County, ENG), 17-Kevin Parsemain (Riviere-Pilote), 19-Mathias Coureur (Golden Lion)
Goalkeepers:1-Jonathan Orozco (Monterrey), 12-Alfredo Talavera (Toluca), 23-Moises Munoz (Club America)
Defenders:2-Israel Jimenez (Tigres), 3-Leobardo Lopez (Monterrey), 4-Joel Huiqui (Morelia), 5-Darvin Chavez (Monterrey), 13-Adrian Aldrete (Club America), 15-Efrain Velarde (UNAM), 18-Juan Carlos Valenzuela (Club America), 19-Miguel Layun (Club America), 20-Jair Pereira (Cruz Azul)
Midfielders:6-Carlos Penna (Leon), 7-Javier Cortes (Pumas), 8-Luis Montes (Leon), 14-Jorge Enriquez (Guadalajara), 16-Miguel Ponce (Guadalajara), 22-Alejandro Castro (Cruz Azul)
Forwards: 9-Raul Jimenez (Club America), 10-Marco Fabian (Guadalajara), 10-Rafael Marquez Lugo (Guadalajara), 17-Isaac Brizuela (Toluca), 21-Javier Orozco (Santos).
Goalkeepers: 1-Jaime Penedo (no club), 12-Luis Mejia (Fenix, URU), 15-Alex Rodriguez (Sporting San Miguelito)
Defenders: 2-Leonel Parris (Tauro), 3-Harold Cummings (Arabe Unido), 4-Carlos Rodriguez (Chepo), 5-Roman Torres (Millonarios, COL), 13-Jean Carlos Cedeño (Alianza), 17-Roderick Miller (San Francisco), 21-Richard Dixon (Sporting San Miguelito), 23-Roberto Chen (San Francisco)
Midfielders: 6-Gabriel Gomez (Atletico Junior, COL), 8-Marcos Sanchez (Tauro), 10-Eybir Bonaga (San Francisco), 14-Juan Perez (Tauro), 18-Jairo Jimenez (Chorrillo), 19-Alberto Quintero (Chorrillo), 20-Anibal Godoy (Chepo), 22-Rolando Escobar (Dep. Anzoategui, VEN)
Forwards:7-Blas Perez (FC Dallas), 9-Gabriel Torres (Zamora), 11-Cecilio Waterman (Fenix, URU), 16-Rolando Blackburn (Chorrillo)