Mexico selects domestic-based squad
Newly minted Mexico coach Miguel "El Piojo" Herrera named 22 players, 10 of them from his Liga MX club, America, for El Tri's intercontinental playoff tuneup series that starts with a friendly Oct. 30 against Finland in San Diego.
Mexico will play three friendlies before its crucial World Cup qualifying playoff against New Zealand on Nov. 13 at Estadio Azteca, and Herrera said Sunday he will announce a new roster before the qualifiers.
Herrera said he picked players he already knows "so we can form a team as quickly as possible."
Sunday's roster includes America players Moises Munoz, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Maza Rodriguez, Adrian Aldrete, Paul Aguilar, Miguel Layun, Juan Carlos Medina, Luis Mendoza, Jesus Molina and Raul Jimenez.
In addition to the 10 America players, Herrera's recall also includes Jesús Corona, Rafael Márquez, Carlos Peña, Lucas Lobos, Aldo de Nigris and Oribe Peralta, all of whom were part of El Tri under deposed coach Victor Manuel Vucetich.
Vucetich coached El Tri for the final two CONCACAF qualifying matches before the federation replaced him with Herrera, who will be Mexico's fourth coach in five matches.
There are no European-based players on the roster.
"We will only be calling up players who are committed to El Tri, there is no time to make substitutions. At this time we are thinking about two games," Herrera said Sunday, referring to Real Sociedad striker Carlos Vela. "The players who don't want to be on El Tri won't be there. There isn't time to sit down and look for anyone."
El Tri will begin practices Oct. 22 and play a tuneup Oct. 26 against Mexican league team Altamira before its Oct. 30 friendly against Finland in San Diego.
On Nov. 3, the players will return to Mexico to train for a final tuneup Nov. 9 vs. Lobos BUAP.
Mexico got the fourth and final CONCACAF qualifying spot -- and the rights to the playoff against New Zealand -- after the United States rallied with two late goals to beat Panama 3-2 last week, thus bumping Panama to fifth place. Minutes before, Mexico had lost 2-1 to Costa Rica.
In September during the heat of CONCACAF Hexagonal qualifying, Mexico changed coaches three times in one week. The federation appointed Vucetich after interim coach Luis Fernando Tena skippered a heartbreaking 2-0 loss to the United States. Tena coached just that one match. He had been named to replace beleaguered coach Jose Manuel "Chepo" de la Torre, who was axed after the team's 2-1 home loss to Honduras.
El Tri has qualified for five straight World Cups, last missing out in 1990, when the team was banned from qualifying for using ineligible players in a junior tournament. The last time Mexico participated in qualifying and did not reach the World Cup was 1982.
The full squad:
Goalkeepers: Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul), Moises Munoz (America)
Defenders: Rafael Marquez (Leon), Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Francisco Rodriguez, Adrian Aldrete, Paul Aguilar, Miguel Layun (all America), Miguel Herrera (Pachuca), Hiram Mier (Monterrey), Rodrigo Salinas (Morelia)
Midfielders: Juan Carlos Medina, Luis Mendoza, Jesus Molina (all America), Lucas Lobos (UANL Tigres), Carlos Pena, Edwin Hernandez, Luis Montes (all Leon)
Forwards: Jesus Escoboza, Oribe Peralta (both Santos Laguna), Raul Jimenez (America), Aldo De Nigris (Guadalajara)
Information from ESPN Deportes was used in this report.