Mexico Gold Cup grades: Ochoa and Guardado stand out, while Araujo & Jimenez disappoint for El Tri

Comments (0)
Timothy A. Clary
Many of Mexico's veterans showed their experience during the team's run to the Concacaf championship, but other Europe-based stars fell flat

Everyone's a winner. That's a fact. At least, it is for the Mexico national team after its 1-0 victory Sunday over the United States in the Gold Cup final.

But did everyone pull their weight for the national team? Goal graded every Mexico player who played at least 90 minutes during the six-match tournament. Scroll down to see how your favorite players measured up...

  1. GK - Guillermo Ochoa - A

    GK - Guillermo Ochoa - A

    The goalkeeper was everything Mexico needed at the Gold Cup. He was strong at the back when commanding his line and alert even during the group phase when he had little to do. El Tri may not even have made it all the way were it not for Ochoa's penalty stop in the quarterfinal against Costa Rica.
  2. GK - Jonathan Orozco - B
    Grant Halverson

    GK - Jonathan Orozco - B

    Orozco made a single save in his one start - a 3-2 win in the final group match against Martinique. He couldn't do much about the free kick and eventually El Tri got out of the game. The Santos Laguna goalkeeper likely doesn't have much future with the national team, with Ochoa as a strong No. 1 and younger shot-stoppers rising through the ranks. Yet, he did his job in this tournament, giving Ochoa a rest when needed.
  3. RB - Chaka Rodriguez - B-

    RB - Chaka Rodriguez - B-

    Chaka had some ups and down this tournament, and right back may be an area of concern going forward for Tata Martino. At this tournament, though, the manager had no doubt he would turn to the Tigres defender.

    Defensively, there are questions, but Rodriguez got into the attack well and closed out the tournament tied for third in most minutes played.
  4. RB - Fernando Navarro - B+
    Jim Watson

    RB - Fernando Navarro - B+

    Navarro played just one match, but he scored in that contest and gave Rodriguez a break. It's a bit of a feel-good story that a 30-year-old right back won his first cap and scored in his first-ever official match. At the back, he was not as strong as he could've been.
  5. CB - Hector Moreno - B
    Robyn Beck

    CB - Hector Moreno - B

    Moreno wasn't fit for the majority of the tournament but came into a pressure-packed situation against Costa Rica and then helped Mexico keep both Haiti and the United States from finding the back of the net.

    It may be an unfair standard to knock him down a peg for the fact that he lacked some of the passing ability we've seen from him in the past to kickstart attacks from the back. But that, plus a few moments of insecurity against the Haitians, keep him from an A.
  6. CB - Nestor Araujo - C
    Robyn Beck

    CB - Nestor Araujo - C

    Araujo is a player who has been big for Mexico since Juan Carlos Osorio inserted him into the lineup for the first match of the 2016 Copa America Centenario.

    Yet, even after a season starting every week in La Liga, this was not his best tournament. His error against Canada threatened to let the Reds back into the game, and he also was wobbly against Costa Rica.

    He found himself on the bench in the semi-final and final and will have to work to get back a starting place.

  7. CB - Carlos Salcedo -B
    Getty Images

    CB - Carlos Salcedo -B

    Salcedo had wildly different games in this tournament, doing who knows what against Haiti but then pulling it together and being incredibly involved in the final.

    No player had more passes completed or received than "El Titan" as he helped El Tri keep possession and start attacks from the back.

    He ended up playing 90 minutes in all the knockout matches and while he didn't live up to his title of "Best Mexican defender" that he'd earned last summer at the World Cup, he showed he's still more than able to start for Martino at center-back.

  8. CB - Cesar Montes - B-
    Soobum Im

    CB - Cesar Montes - B-

    Montes had mop-up duty in the Cuba game and then played against Martinique, a game during which he conceded a foul that led to Kevin Parsemain's stunning goal and put El Tri on their heels.
  9. M/CB - Diego Reyes - B
    Jayne Kamin-Oncea

    M/CB - Diego Reyes - B

    Reyes was pressed into midfield duty with Edson Alvarez injured, but was back in defense after the Cuba game. After the Canada game, he saw only spot duty.

    He's in a tough spot, having played very little on the club level lately.

    Perhaps 180 minutes of solid but unspectacular international play can jolt him back to what he showed potential of being three years ago: a Rafa Marquez-type player it is increasingly looking like will actually be Alvarez's role rather than Reyes'.

  10. LB - Jesus Gallardo - A
    Ronald Martinez

    LB - Jesus Gallardo - A

    Gallardo played more minutes than anyone else at the Gold Cup and played most of them quite well.

    Converted to left-back two years ago, Gallardo defends well but also gets forward aggressively, creating chances, keeping the ball and getting into the final third with ease.

    Martino said he felt Gallardo was the best player in the final. He may have been El Tri's best player in the tournament as well.

  11. M - Edson Alvarez - B
    Jonathan Daniel

    M - Edson Alvarez - B

    Alvarez had a great final, which he needed because it wasn't always clear he'd be able to rise to the occasion.

    After recovering from a knee injury that looked like it would end his tournament before it began, Alvarez took up residence in the midfield.

    His comfort with the position grew as the tournament went on, and by the end of it he gave an excellent performance against the United States, dropping between the center-backs when he needed to and stepping up to confront the U.S. attackers in other situations.

    A move to Europe is deserved and will only help him grow.

  12. M - Andres Guardado - A

    M - Andres Guardado - A

    Andres Guardado fought through a knock suffered in the second match of the tournament to play 451 minutes and lead Mexico to the win.

    He came up big against Canada, the game in which he replaced the injured Erick Gutierrez, and from there put his head down and got on with it.

    Helpful tracking back and dangerous arriving to the box, Guardado did a bit of everything for Mexico this summer when many of his peers decided it would be easier not to turn up at all. That's their right, but not Guardado's style.

  13. M - Carlos Rodriguez - B+
    Getty Images

    M - Carlos Rodriguez - B+

    Charly Rodriguez did everything Martino asked him to do and more, pressuring Jonathan dos Santos for the starting job and continuing a quick rise that began just months ago when he started in the coach's Mexico debut.

    There are still moments when his youth shows, and competition for spots is stiff. But he did nothing in the six matches he saw time in to diminish the idea he'll be a big part of this team in the future.

  14. M - Jonathan dos Santos - A-

    M - Jonathan dos Santos - A-

    Dos Santos' Gold Cup always will be remembered for scoring the winning goal in the final, but don't forget how many chances were created by Dos Santos that just barely didn't come off.

    Flexible in the middle with good positional awareness and available to associate with the wingers and full-backs, Dos Santos finally had the breakout tournament he's been wanting for years thriving under Martino, who coached him way back in the Barcelona days.

  15. F - Uriel Antuna - A
    Jayne Kamin-Oncea

    F - Uriel Antuna - A

    Antuna wasn't even on the roster before the tournament and ended up scoring a hat-trick in his first-ever official Mexico game.

    He cooled off against opponents stronger than Cuba, but still found the back of the net once more and even earned a start in the final.

    Not bad for a player who wasn't among Martino's first choices for the roster.

  16. F - Roberto Alvarado - B-
    Elijah Nouvelage

    F - Roberto Alvarado - B-

    Alvarado never got off and running in this Gold Cup, missing out on starting minutes after Antuna's breakout showing and failing to take advantage of the chances he was given like starting against Haiti.

    The 20-year-old was in a tough position – sort of literally – thrust into a winger role after a season playing farther back at Cruz Azul. Hopefully for Martino, he gets some of the spark he showed in previous Mexico opportunities when he's more comfortable.

  17. F - Raul Jimenez - B-

    F - Raul Jimenez - B-

    Jimenez scored five goals, and he was involved in others, but he didn't have the tournament he wanted.

    He said he wanted to show the world what he could do, and he fell short. Too often, Mexico needed something to happen up top and didn't get it from Jimenez.

    That said, he had a brilliant assist in the box in the final and did find the back of the net frequently. He's still the No. 9 of the present for El Tri.

  18. F - Rodolfo Pizarro - B+
    Christian Petersen

    F - Rodolfo Pizarro - B+

    Pizarro might have a higher grade had he been able to log more minutes.

    Influential in the final but frustrated in the semi-final, the creative player ended up seeing time in the knockout stages plus the second half against Martinique – during which he set up a nice goal. 

    His position in a 4-3-3 may not always be obvious, but it's clear he has a bright future in this cycle.