By DAN KARELL
Newly installed Mexico National Team head coach Victor Manuel Vucetich is calling on the old guard to help ensure that his side earn a place in Brazil next summer.
After taking part in a three-day training camp in mid-September, former New York Red Bulls defender and El Tri captain Rafa Marquez has been named to a 26-player squad for Mexico’s two World Cup qualifying matches this month against Panama and Costa Rica. Also included in the squad are AC Ajaccio goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and Chivas de Guadalajara forward Aldo de Nigris, who haven’t played for El Tri since the Confederations Cup last June.
Vucetich will hope that the 34-year-old Marquez’s current form for Club Leon can translate to the national team when he dons the Mexico uniform on October 11 in a crucial match at Estadio Azteca against Panama. The last time Marquez featured for Mexico was in a World Cup qualifying match in June of 2012.
Mexico are without their regular central defense pairing for these qualifiers, as Hector Moreno misses with injury and Diego Reyes wasn’t called up because he isn’t playing first-team soccer for FC Porto.
In addition to Reyes being left off the list, Villarreal winger Andres Guardado wasn’t called into the squad, despite starting in the Spanish club’s Europa League match on Thursday against Russian side Kuban Krasnodar. As was previously noted, Carlos Vela wasn’t added to Vucetich’s roster.
Between Thursday and October 10, Vucetich will reduce the squad size to 23 players. After Mexico’s match against Panama, they travel to take on Costa Rica on October 15, in a game that could seal El Tri’s World Cup fate.
Here’s a full look at the Mexico roster for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers:
MEXICO WORLD CUP QUALIFYING OCTOBER ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS: Guillermo Ochoa (AC Ajaccio), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca), José de Jesús Corona (Cruz Azul)
DEFENDERS: Severo Meza (Monterrey), Hiram Mier (Monterrey), Rafael Márquez (Club León), Miguel Layún (Club América), Hugo Ayala (Tigres UANL), Jonny Magallón (Club León), Jorge Torres Nilo (Tigres UANL), Carlos Salcido (Tigres UANL)
MIDFIELDERS: Gerardo Torrado (Cruz Azul), Jesús Zavala (Monterrey), Luis Montes (Club León), Carlos Peña (Club León), Isaac Brizuela (Toluca), Christian Giménez (Cruz Azul), Javier Aquino (Villarreal CF), Giovani Dos Santos (Villarreal CF), Fernando Arce (Club Tijuana)
FORWARDS: Marco Fabián (Chivas), Oribe Peralta (Santos Laguna), Lucas Lobos (Tigres UANL), Raúl Jiménez (Club América), Aldo de Nigris (Chivas), Javier Hernández (Manchester United)
What do you think of this news? Do you see Marquez and Ochoa starting against Panama? Do you see Mexico defeating Panama and/or Costa Rica with this squad? Surprised at any of the omissions?
Share your thoughts below.