Little by little the trees are beginning to sprout small, fragile green leaves; the snow is melting, heat is once again becoming a widely used word, and CONCACAF announced on March, 8 Mexico’s rivals in the upcoming Gold Cup: El Salvador, Cuba, and Costa Rica.
In Santander, northern Spain, Giovani Dos Santos is little by little regaining the magic that got him the title of “the next Ronaldinho” as he dazzled the Catalans with his passes and goals. Right at the center of England, in West Bromwich, little by little Carlos Vela is embodying the coat of arms of the town, which is written in Latin and translates to, “work conquers all.” At Manchester, England, more and more Manchester United fans are buying the number 14 jersey, and little by little with 14 goals under his belt, wearing the Red Devils jersey, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez is becoming an idol.
The year 2005 seems long gone, distant, but if there was a year in which Mexican soccer felt like it was reaching the stars, it was this year. The year that Jesus “Chucho” Ramirez’s kids scored a total of 16 goals in Peru and dominated in the final game a Brazilian national team, by winning 3-0, which in turn proclaimed them U-17 World Champions.
The year Ricardo Antonio LaVolpe’s Tri participated in the FIFA Confederations Cup, held in Germany, and where Mexico finished fourth. Mexico played exquisite soccer, which helped them obtained an impressive 1-0 victory against Brazil and were on the verge of eliminating Argentina in the semi-finals, but Ricardo Osorio began to show signs of fear as he stood in front of an Albiceleste player and missed the only Mexican penalty kick.
Six years later, Mexico is on the verge of another important summer, a summer of reinvention, of renaissance. Jose Manuel “Chepo” de La Torre's Mexico wants to attend Brazil’s Confederations Cup in 2013, but in order to gain this privilege Mexico has to win its sixth Gold Cup this summer. When LaVolpe led Mexico on to obtain its fourth Gold Cup in 2003, the final took place in a sold-out Estadio Azteca against a youthful and inexperienced invitee Brazilian squad.
Chepo has in Giovani, Vela, and Little Pea an exciting attacking trio. With time and constant communication, Mexico’s youthful, but talented attack can help transform tough, closed duels against El Salvador, Cuba, and Costa Rica into comfortable, easy flowing matches. With reliable midfielders and defenders, Mexico has the obligation to reach the final game at Pasadena’s Rose Bowl, venue which housed the 1994 World Cup final.
Without a doubt, it is in Mexico’s wish list to have Giovani and Vela in optimal conditions come the summer; Chepo and his staff are well aware of Chicharito’s first year success. It has been a while since Mexico had a reliable goal scorer, not to belittle Jared Borgetti, Luis Hernandez, Carlos Hermosillo, and especially Hugo Sanchez or even Guillermo Franco, but this youngster with humility and patience can shatter a lot of records. As the spring begins to take over, so will the hopes of seeing a reinvented Tri will begin to echo in the major streets of Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey.
Nayib Moran is a contributor to Goal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @nayibmoran.