The circumstances weren’t necessarily auspicious, and the result wasn’t what his team wanted, but Efrain Alvarez had a momentous night on Saturday, as he played in the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup for Mexico and officially became cap-tied permanently by that country.
The LA Galaxy youngster had been eligible to represent Mexico and the United States, and while he’s consistently played for Mexico at youth levels and played in some friendlies recently for El Tri at senior level, there had been some pressure from U.S. Soccer to try and recruit the midfielder to the country of his birth, but ultimately, Mexico won the tug of war.
Alvarez came off the bench early in the 1st half in Saturday’s 0-0 draw for Mexico against Trinidad & Tobago to open the Gold Cup, Alvarez replacing Hirving Lozano, who suffered what looked like a potentially serious head injury after colliding with T&T’s goalkeeper. And while the result is disappointing for Mexico, considered co-favorites at worst for the tournament overall, they still got a point and probably will be fine in terms of advancing out of the group stage, if they can get their act together in the subsequent games.
But amid some reports bubbling in recent months that Alvarez had been under considerable stress in terms of picking a national team to represent and fielding all kinds of questions about his choice, if he was stressing out, then Saturday’s appearance in a competitive game should permanently lock him in with Mexico, and he won’t have to worry about those questions anymore. Of course, his task moving forward will be to stay in the El Tri reckoning, which is very competitive, but for now, he’s in the squad, he’s gotten minutes, and we’ll see what happens from here. Congrats to Efrain on playing at the highest stage on the international front yet in his career.
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