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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 2, 2005

Arena trims squad by five

MEXICO CITY -- With a World Cup berth virtually assured, Mexico's national soccer team is relaxed for its qualifier against the United States.

Forward Jared Borgetti said he not only wants to win Saturday night's game in Columbus, Ohio, but to do so with flair.

``If we don't attack and play differently, people are going to say, 'Ugh, the team sure played ugly,''' Borgetti told the sports daily Record. ``Winning's no fun that way, so we have to play like we always have.''

Mexico needs only a tie in its final four games to guarantee a trip to Germany next year. It leads the CONCACAF qualifying region with a a 5-0-1 record, followed by the United States at 5-1-0.

The lone U.S. loss came at Mexico City on March 27. The United States hasn't lost to Mexico in a World Cup qualifier at home since 1972.

The luxury of an almost certain advance has allowed Mexico coach Ricardo Lavolpe to let his mind wander to the distant future - a land seldom visited by most national soccer coaches, who mostly dedicate themselves to surviving the next game.

Lavolpe suggested he will take a rest after Saturday's game and Wednesday's home game against Panama. He said that would give his aides, Jorge Campos and Francisco Ramirez, experience needed to succeed him after the 2006 World Cup.

Borgetti, the national team's all-time leading scorer, recently signed a contract with Bolton Wanderers of the English Premier League. He has been playing alongside the rising Francisco Fonseca at forward for Mexico.

Longtime star Cuauhtemoc Blanco has made only sporadic appearances with the national team and has not scored in the World Cup qualifying round.

For the United States, coach Bruce Arena sent five MLS players back to their clubs Thursday.

New England midfielder Clint Dempsey and goalkeeper Matt Reis were sent back to the Revolution, who play Saturday night at Salt Lake City. Chicago midfielder Justin Mapp will be with the Fire for Sunday's game at Los Angeles. Dallas defender Greg Vanney heads back to play on Saturday at home against San Jose. Columbus defender Chad Marshall rejoins the Crew for a road game Saturday at Chivas USA.

Arena said he might recall some of them for Wednesday's qualifier in Guatemala.