BY ADAM SERRANO
Mexico's chances of repeating as Gold Cup champions just got a lot slimmer.
Starting goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and four teammates were removed from the Mexican national team on Thursday afternoon after positive drug tests for the substance "Clenbuterol", a banned stimulant that can be used to ease the symptoms of chronic breathing disorders.
The following players Francisco Javier Rodriguez, Antonio "Sinha" Naelson, Christian Bermudez, Edgar Duenas, and Ochoa face a suspension of up to a year depending on whether or not the positive drug tests were not accidential.
In a press conference held on Thursday, the Mexican Football Federation speculated that the players consumed chicken that was tainted with the drug and will request that the team be allowed to field replacement players for the rest of the Gold Cup. The removals come just one day after defender Ricardo Osorio also left the team due to an injury.
The removals have major ramifications for El Tri, which loses its starting goalkeeper as well as several key players at the start of the Gold Cup. It should be noted that none of the players have been formally suspended from the Gold Cup, just removed from the Mexican team as a precaution, which means there is still the possibility the players could return if a logical and legal explanation for the initial failed tests is found.
What do you think this does to the chances of "El Tri" repeating as Gold Cup Champions? Think that we'll see something other than a U.S. vs. Mexico Final on June 25th?
Share your thoughts below.