Mexico attacker Uriel Antuna has gone from not being on the Gold Cup roster to starting in the final.
After being added to the roster as an injury replacement before the tournament for Jorge Sanchez, Antuna opened the Gold Cup with a hat trick against Cuba. While he didn't start El Tri's semifinal victory over Haiti, he came on as a substitute and had a positive impact off the bench.
Other than Antuna's inclusion in the starting XI, El Tri manager Tata Martino has left his squad unchanged for the final against the United States at Solider Field. Guillermo Ochoa, who has started all but one match of the Gold Cup, is in goal with Hector Moreno and Carlos Salcedo in front of him.
Moreno is starting consecutive matches for the first time this tournament after missing the first portion with an injury. That leaves Nestor Araujo on the bench once again. It's a Clasico Regio group of fullbacks with Rayados left back Jesus Gallardo and Tigres right back Luis "Chaka" Rodriguez on the other side. Rodriguez has not excelled in the knockout round, leading fans to advocate he be replaced by Fernando Navarro, but Martino is sticking with the player he's started at the spot in the majority of matches so far.
In the midfield, Andres Guardado captains the team from the left side with Jonathan dos Santos again starting on the right. The LA Galaxy midfielder had been locked in a back-and-forth battle with Monterrey midfielder Carlos Rodriguez for the spot but started all three knockout round matchups.
Alongside Antuna up top is No. 9 Raul Jimenez and Rodolfo Pizarro. Pizarro typically plays a more central role with his club but has adapted well to the winger role Martino is asking him to play. That said, Pizarro still has drifted into the middle of the field as well to try and create chances when the opportunity presents itself.
El Tri are yet to lose a single contest in the Martino era, which began in January, but face a United States team that has allowed just one goal during the course of the Gold Cup.
Mexico XI: Ochoa; Rodriguez, Salcedo, Moreno, Gallardo; Dos Santos, Alvarez, Guardado; Antuna, Jimenez, Pizarro