Mexico unveiled their 23-man roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and headlining the squad is former New York Red Bulls defender and frequent nemesis of the U.S. National Team Rafael Marquez.
El Tri head coach Miguel Herrera named his squad on Friday which includes Manchester United forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Villarreal attacker Giovani Dos Santos, Ajaccio goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, California-born Toluca midfielder Isaac Brizuela, and of course, Marquez. The 2014 World Cup will be the fourth for the Mexico captain, who is expected to become the first player to captain a nation at four World Cups.
Although Marquez is no longer the player who was a star at FC Barcelona years ago, LA Galaxy head coach and former U.S. national team boss Bruce Arena believes that he’s still vital for Mexico.
“At his age, they’re highly dependent on his experience more than anything. He’s not no-longer a great one-on-one defender, but he has experience so if he can fit in their system and communicate and organize a team then he’s extremely important. They’ve gotten surprisingly good play out of him in the last year and he’s a competitive and fiery player.
“It’s hard for me to say this, but I wish him the best," Arena added. "He’s been good for the rivalry between the U.S. and Mexico because without him, we wouldn’t have had some of the excitement that we’ve had."
Another one of Marquez’s traditional adversaries Landon Donovan agreed with Arena’s assessment about the former Red Bulls man’s importance to El Tri.
“They’ve been a better team with him. I think a big problem for them last year when they went through their struggles was their lack of leadership. They didn’t have guys on the field that you could really lean on. He’s been very helpful them,” said Donovan. “He’s not nasty. Like a lot of players, sometimes he loses his head a little bit, but he’s always been relatively respectful after the whistle, but he has moments like all of us.”
Mexico’s full squad is below.
GOALKEEPERS: Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul), Guillermo Ochoa (Ajaccio), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca)
DEFENDERS: Rafa Marquez (Leon), Diego Reyes (Porto), Miguel Layun (America), Paul Aguilar (America), Andres Guardado (Leverkusen), Hector Moreno (Espanyol), Francisco Rodriguez (America), Carlos Salcido (Tigres UANL)
MIDFIELDERS: Carlos Pena (Leon), Hector Herrera (Porto), Isaac Brizuela (Toluca), Marco Fabian (Cruz Azul), Juan Carlos Medina (America), Luis Montes (Leon), Jose Juan Vazquez (Leon)
FORWARDS: Javier Hernandez (Manchester United), Giovani dos Santos (Villarreal), Raul Jimenez (America), Alan Pulido (Tigres), Oribe Peralta (Santos Laguna)
ESPN's award-winning series 30 for 30 took an inside look at the U.S. National Team's road to Brazil in their upcoming feature series that looks into the team's 100 days of preparation before the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Check out the ESPN trailer, which features Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez below.
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy are still awaiting an update on the injury status of Omar Gonzalez, but head coach Bruce Arena told reporters on Tuesday that he feels strongly that the left knee issue will be short-term and not cost him a chance to suit up for the U.S. at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Gonzalez suffered the injury in the closing moments of the first half of LA’s 1-0 defeat to the Colorado Rapids last Saturday and was substituted at the half due to precautionary measures. When asked by reporters on Tuesday if the team had an update on Gonzalez, Arena stated that the team did not have one at the moment.
“We’re going to talk to the doctors today and find out a little bit more,” said the Galaxy manager. “It’s a very short term issue and he’s going to be fine.
“We’re doing everything to be safe with Omar and if we have anything to say, we’ll say it at the proper time. I feel very strongly that this is a short term issue and he’ll be fine,” Arena added.
“Mentally, a player with a full calendar of things ahead is very precautious. He’s going to be fine. There is nothing long term with this injury, I can promise you that.”
Whether or not Gonzalez will suit up for the Galaxy for their match against the Portland Timbers on May 11 at Providence Park remains to be seen. The match is expected to be the final game for Gonzalez and LA teammate Landon Donovan before they depart for the U.S. National Team pre-World Cup camp in Stanford, Calif. on May 14.
However, Arena admitted that it was unlikely that the turf conditions at Providence Park will play a role on whether or not he suits up for the Galaxy on Saturday.
“If Omar is good to go to go then he’ll go. If he’s not then he won’t, it’s that simple,” said Arena. “I don’t think that it’s the turf. All things being equal, maybe [the turf] would play a role, but right now, we’ll take it day by day and we’re going to talk to the doctors to make sure that we’re moving along in the right way.”
Michael Bradley put the U.S. National Team ahead 1-0 off an impressive volley off a Graham Zusi corner kick. The play was set up by an Omar Gonzalez header that led to the subsquent corner.
Check it out below.