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.
By this time next week, the U.S. National Team's preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup will truly begin in earnest as the 30-man preliminary squad descends on Stanford, Calif. for a two-week training camp.
In an interview with MLSsoccer.com, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann discusses how he will select his squad for the camp at Stanford University. Watch below.
I'll have my very own 23 man roster projection later today.
The Copa America is coming to the United States.
CONCACAF and their South American counterparts CONMEBOL announced at a press conference in Miami on Thursday that the “2016 Copa America Centenario” which is the 100th edition of tournament will take place at venues across the United States from June 3-26. The “Centenario” will include 10 countries from South America and six nations from CONCACAF.
The U.S. and Mexico will both be entered in the tournament and be joined by the 2014 Central American Cup and 2014 Caribbean Cup champions as well as two of the four semifinalists in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Although the matches will not take place on official FIFA dates, CONMEBOL president Eugenio Figueredo told reporters that both organizations are attempting to work with FIFA for the dates to be recognized by the global soccer body by the time the tournament starts.
No venues have been announced yet with interested cities encouraged to bid to host matches, but according to a report by the Miami Herald’s Michelle Kaufmann, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena is one of the venues that is being considered to host matches.
Thoughts on the tournament?
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In the latest ad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan is featured among other titans of world soccer in a new commercial by Gatorade that has a bit of a Disney feel to it.
Check it out below but preferably before midnight so you don't turn into a pumpkin.
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Tendonitis in Landon Donovan’s knee led the LA Galaxy star to be a shock omission from the U.S. National Team starting lineup for their 2-2 draw against Mexico.
What Donovan jokingly described as “old man issues,” helped lead to contribute to a poor training session by the Galaxy midfielder according to head coach Jurgen Klinsmann leading the U.S. boss to leave him on the substitutes’ bench for the start of the match.
“He had no tempo in his training sessions, he had no kind of higher pace, higher rhythm, he didn’t take people on, so I sat him down [Wednesday] morning and we actually went through his training session yesterday,” said Klinsmann. “I told him based on what I saw the last three days, ‘I can’t leave [Chris Wondolowski] out there because Wondo deserves after two goals against South Korea. He’s working so hard.’
“[Donovan] understood it.” Klinsmann added, ‘[He said,] Yeah, I didn’t have good training sessions and I have a little bit of issues with my knee,’ and I told him, ‘You’re ready coming off the bench.’ He was ready; he came off the bench, so no problem at all.”
Once he came on in the 59th minute, Donovan did not look out of sorts as he made several dangerous runs up field as he attempted to kick start the U.S. offense amid a dominating second half showing by El Tri.
“I felt good tonight. It was nice to get some minutes on the field, obviously, I wanted to start the game, but circumstances didn’t allow that,” said Donovan. “It was fun to be a part of this game and another great game between these two teams.
“When I’m healthy and I train, I train well. This week, I had some tendinitis and I couldn’t play the way that I want to,” he said. “It was good to back off a little bit and still get some minutes tonight.”
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dos a cero.
Chris Wondolowski put the United States up 2-0 with his clinical finish off a Tony Beltran cross.
Check it out below.
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.
LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez was profiled by USA Today as a representative of "New America" ahead of the U.S. match against Mexico on Wednesday.