While the LAFC forward continues to show good form in MLS and LA Galaxy midfielder Jonathan dos Santos was included in the group, Vela wasn't called in. Earlier in his career, the attacker had elected to stay away from the national team for personal reasons before participating in the last cycle. His absence from Martino's first call-up sparked speculation the 30-year-old could be calling time on his international career.
Instead, the manager said, it was a decision based on chats he'd had in person with Vela both before and after he took over the Mexico position and with what El Tri currently needs.
"I had a conversation with him when I went to Los Angeles to promote these games. I met with Gio [dos Santos], I met with him. I met with Jonathan at the CAR," Martino said in a news conference Thursday night. "In these conversations with players - I spoke a lot with Carlos at the All-Star Game in Atlanta as well - we’re not getting to know everything about players in one hour, but you always leave with some conclusions after those types of chats. With him, in person, the Euros on the phone.
"After that, around a month passed and I made my first call-up. Seeing a bit of the chat and seeing a bit of the necessities we have right now, my decision was not to select Carlos Vela."
Martino left the door open for Vela to join up with the team ahead of this summer's Gold Cup but said it would depend on how his first two matches went and if anything has changed in those conversations.
"I can’t give you that answer right now," Martino said when asked if Vela would play in the continental championship. "We’ll have to see what happens on the way and probably chat again with the players in the local market and also those playing in Europe because I’d like to share opinions about what they went through in this camp."
The Argentine coach also left the door open for Jesus "Tecatito" Corona to be back in the national team this summer, though he clearly remains frustrated with the winger's absence.
Martino ran down the number of matches in which Corona had played for his clubs and pointed out times in which Porto could've made a substitution if it knew Corona was dealing with an ankle injury. Previously, the coach had said Corona agreed to come into the camp to get to know the new staff and see the way in which it would work but without the obligation to play. Sunday, the player said he wouldn't be coming after all, preferring to stay in Porto to recover.
"What I tried to do is tell a bit of the story of how things went with Jesus in the last 17 or 18 days," Martino said. "What’s going to happen after is we have to resolve it with the coaching staff and fundamentally I have to resolve things with the player. What’s clear is that there’s a way to work that isn’t a big mystery but there are rights and obligations. The obligation Jesus had to come here - he didn’t come. He preferred to stay recovering in Porto.
"How much of that is the player’s, the club’s or the coach’s decision? Honestly, I’d love for the player to tell me, look the coach came and told me and I’m with him. This hasn’t happened, so there’s nothing I can do other than recount things as they happened."
Mexico kicks off against Chile at 10:15 p.m. ET on Friday in the first match of Martino's tenure as El Tri coach.