LA Galaxy winger Uriel Antuna added to Mexico Gold Cup roster

Uriel Antuna made it.

After days of speculation as to whether he'd make Mexico's final Gold Cup roster as an injury replacement, El Tri head coach Tata Martino confirmed the news the day before Mexico's Gold Cup opener on Saturday against Cuba (10 pm ET on FS2, Univision & TSN2).

Antuna, who has started all 16 league matches for the Galaxy in his first MLS season, replaces injured Club America defender Jorge Sanchez. 

The 21-year-old winger has impressed with the Galaxy since arriving on loan from Manchester City in January. His speed, hard work and dribbling ability out wide has made him an important attacking piece for a new-look Galaxy team under Guillermo Barros Schelotto. He has two goals and two assists so far in MLS.

Antuna joins Galaxy teammate Jonathan Dos Santos on the Mexico squad and his addition brings the number of MLS players at the Gold Cup to 60. Costa Rican defender Giancarlo Gonzalez is the third Galaxy player involved in the Gold Cup.

The call-up marks a natural progression for Antuna, who previously featured for Mexico's youth national teams, including the U-20 side that made it to the quarterfinals of the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup. That run led to his signing with Manchester City, and the English giants then loaned him out to Dutch club Groningen to continue his development.

Galaxy GM Dennis te Kloese was familiar with Antuna from his time as a Mexican soccer federation executive and he swooped in to acquire from Manchester City after the loan spell with Dutch club Groningen was cut short. 

“He's a kid who's very humble, who works hard and really has a lot going for him,” Te Kloese told MLSsoccer.com in a profile earlier this year. “But he's young, he's only 21 years old. Let's take it easy, step by step. It's a good opportunity to have here and see what he does, and we'll see in the course of the year how it pans out. I don't want to put any pressure on him whatsoever.”

Antuna made his Mexican national team senior debut on June 6, coming off the bench and assisting on Mexico's final goal in a 3-1 triumph over Venezuela.


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