The 2016 Copa America Centenario took a few days to find it's legs, but on Sunday night in Glendale, Arizona, the tournament quickly woke to life as Mexico defeated Uruguay in a thrilling 3-1 match full of everything you'd expect from the Copa America.
As the ever-present Rafa Marquez sent the Arizona crowd into a frenzy with his stunning late winner, one FC Dallas player was watching and dreaming of his moment on that stage.
"There couldn’t be any more motivation seeing all the fans, you want to be in those stadiums," said goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez. "It’s something as a player you want to be at that stage and something to work for and something I dream of."
While for most, the dream will always be just that, Gonzalez could find himself on a similar stage in just a couple months. Just 58 days remain until the Rio Olympics with Gonzalez one of the key contributors to Mexico's qualification, hopeful for a spot between the nets in Brazil.
Gonzalez said he's inspired by the success of another U-20 starlet, winger Hirving Lozano. The Pachuca player who has been linked to Manchester United in recent days has been a teammate's of Gonzalez in Mexico youth teams since U-18 level and shows just how quick the rise of a player can be.
"That’s my boy ''Chuky' Lozano. He’s being followed by a lot of clubs and he’s someone to keep an eye on," said Gonzalez. "It inspires me because he’s someone I’ve played with in the youth national team and if he can get there it makes me think I can be at the same spot just keep on working...We talk a lot, he’s been with me since the U-18’s. He's a great guy and very humble even though he’s achieved a lot. It’s great seeing that."
For now, he's enjoying El Tri's success as they have quickly become one of the favorites to lift the trophy at the end of June.
"I just think they’ve got a good group of guys," said Gonzalez about Mexico's success. "The coach as well coming in has brought experience and he’s helped the team a lot...It’s a team that wants to win and they’re mentally focused for all these games."