El Tri prepares to face Venezuela without injured skipper Álvarez

The West Ham midfielder has been ruled out for the rest of the Copa América
Gerardo Arteaga (right) exults after scoring for El Tri against Jamaica in a Copa América group stage match against Jamaica. Luis Romo (#7) races over to join the celebration.
Gerardo Arteaga (right) exults after scoring for El Tri against Jamaica in a Copa América group stage match against Jamaica. Luis Romo (#7) races over to join the celebration. / Omar Vega/GettyImages

El Tri will be playing the remainder of their Copa América without captain Edson Álvarez after doctors on Wednesday confirmed a muscle tear in his thigh.

The West Ham midfielder limped off the pitch Saturday just 30 minutes into Mexico’s Copa opener against Jamaica in obvious discomfort so the diagnosis is not much of a surprise.

Álvarez – injured in his first match wearing the armband – will be out up to six weeks. Although the former Club América man told coach Jaime Lozano he wants to remain with El Tri, West Ham may want their star midfielder to return to England to start rehab. 

There had been reports that Manchester United had inquired about Edson’s availability and, if the Hammers were seriously entertaining a deal, this could throw a spanner in the works.

El Tri prepares for next opponent

Lozano & Co. will face Venezuela tonight in their second group-stage match with a spot in the quarterfinals at stake.

Both clubs won their opener – Mexico defeating Jamaica 1-0 and the South Americans surprising Conmebol rivals Ecuador 2-1 – so the winner would virtually be assured of advancing to the knockout round.

El Tri has been in dismal form the past year (one pundit declared this is Mexico’s worst team in 35 years, another said El Tri would not make the 2026 World Cup if it had to go through qualifying), so Lozano needs to find some answers.

The first question is who takes Álvarez’s spot in front of the back four. More than likely, Lozano will insert Luis Romo in that position. 

Romo played well enough in place of Álvarez that he was named to the all-tournament squad after the first round of play. The Monterrey man starred for Lozano on the Olympic team that won a bronze medal in Tokyo so the coach is confident in what Romo brings to the table.

Another question is who gets the start up front alongside Santi Giménez. El Tri has struggled to supply the Feyenoord star with balls and the wingers have been wasteful with possession.

Mexico had a decent showing against Jamaica on Saturday, outshooting their Concacaf rivals 20-13 and getting more shots on target (9 to 4), but possessions were too often stagnant and few dangerous opportunities were created.

Fullback Gerardo Arteaga scored the lone goal of the match (with an assist from Romo) but Jamaica saw a first-half goal annulled by VAR. 

El Tri will have to step up its game against Venezuela because los Vinotintos are no longer the South American patsy they used to be. Venezuela currently sits fourth in South American qualifying for the 2026 World Cup and they thoroughly outplayed Ecuador on Saturday.

No doubt, Mexico will have to key on forward Salomón Rondón. The striker led Liga MX in goals this past season and supplied the assist on Venezuela’s opener against Ecuador.

That means the central defense tandem of César Montes and Johan Vásquez will have to be at the top of their game, especially with the untested Julio González between the pipes. 


González is starting in goal because first-choice keeper Luis Malagón suffered an injury before the tournament began.