Jimmy Lozano’s first El Tri roster selection features some surprises

El Tri manager Jaime Lozano (Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images)
El Tri manager Jaime Lozano (Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images) /
El Tri September
El Tri will be back in action for the first time since winning the Gold Cup in July. Coach Jimmy Lozano selected 24 players to compete in two September friendlies. (Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images) /

El Tri manager Jimmy Lozano revealed his first national team selection Tuesday night and it was not quite the list many had hoped.

Many fans and pundits believed the new coach would fill the El Tri roster with promising youngsters on the rise knowing that Mexico must rejuvenate its locker room ahead of the 2026 World Cup.

There had also been talk that Lozano would go light on European-based players so as to give them a chance to settle into the new season and/or new teams.

The belief was that maximum effort would be given to begin developing a team that would be at peak age when the next World Cup rolls around.

Trio to see El Tri debut; Herrera a surprise inclusion

The three newbies are Chivas defender Luis Orozco Chiquete, 21, Monterrey midfielder Jordi Cortizo, 27, and Pumas winger César Huerta, 22.

Orozco is a work-in-progress but he fills a position of need. The Sinaloa native was a stalwart on Guadalajara’s back line last season during which the Chivas conceded the fourth-fewest goals in the tournament.

Cortizo is a late bloomer that starred with underdog Puebla for a couple seasons before deep-pocketed Monterrey picked him up prior to last season. He has been a productive performer off the bench for the Rayados and his playmaking skills could be valuable for El Tri.

Huerta has been a spark plug for the Pumas and he leads Liga MX in most successful 1 v 1’s this season.

Huerta, Orozco, Santi Giménez (Feyenoord) and right back Julián Araujo (UD Las Palmas) are the only U-23 players on Lozano’s first El Tri roster. (Remember that during the Gold Cup Lozano – as interim manager – coached a team selected by his predecessor, Diego Cocca).

Seven ‘Europeans’ invited to Mexico camp

Although Lozano tapped more European-based players that was expected, he did point out that he preferred to give a few familiar El Tri faces time to get their club situations settled.

That list includes right back Jorge Sánchez (sold by Ajax to FC Porto), winger “Chucky” Lozano (in talks to move from Napoli to PSV Eindhoven), midfielder Luis Chávez (joined Dinamo Moscow last week) and winger Jesús “Tecatito” Corona (coming off an injury and trying to win a spot on the Sevilla roster).

Those who will be crossing the pond to report to El Tri training camp are the afore-mentioned Giménez and Araujo, as well as goalie Guillermo Ochoa (Salernitana), Johan Vásquez (Genoa), Edson Álvarez (West Ham), Orbelín Pineda (AEK Athens) and Raúl Jiménez (Fulham).

In addition, Houston Dynamo captain Héctor Herrera got a surprise call-back as the 33-year-old midfielder had been left off Cocca’s roster for the Nations League and the Gold Cup after a disappointing World Cup. The fact that HH left Europe for MLS was also considered a strike against his El Tri prospects.

The inclusion of Herrera and a few other underperforming veterans (we’re looking at you, Jesús Gallardo) frustrated fans and pundits alike who were eager to see youngsters such as Santos Laguna left back Omar Campos, 21, and León midfielder Fidel Ambriz wearing the green-white-and-red in September.

Campos and Ambriz are likely to train with Mexico’s U-23 squad during the FIFA break so they aren’t likely to be forgotten, but count me among those fans who was hoping Lozano would just rip off the band-aid and start working with younger legs.

Another absentee is América forward Julián Quiñones. The Colombian shot-maker has received his naturalization papers but the process to register the change-of-nationality with FIFA is still ongoing.

As it is, Lozano’s 24 players will report to training camp beginning Monday, Sept. 4, to prepare for the two matches in the United States – vs. Australia on Sept. 9 in Dallas and vs. Uzbekistan on Sept. 12 in Atlanta.

Next. Team Mexico players and their club affairs. dark

We’ll just take a wait-and-see attitude, cheer on the team in camp while anxiously looking forward to the October roster list.