Chepo de la Torre has named his 23-man roster for Mexico’s World Cup qualifiers versus Costa Rica. Several of Mexico’s biggest names are in the team, with Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, Andres Guardado, Pablo Barrera and Jesus Zavala all in the team.
The most notable omission is Giovani dos Santos, who injured himself in his first training session with Tottenham Hotspur after the Olympics. Hector Herrera and Jorge Enriquez, the tremendous young central midfield duo that helped Mexio win Olympic gold, are also off of the team with injuries.
The injuries to Herrera and Enriquez, as well as some disappointing performances from other younger players have forced de la Torres to make some interesting moves in the midfield. One is the return of Gerardo Torrado. The 33-year-old has 135 caps, but wasn’t expected to be called up to the team again as the younger generation takes over. Now he’s back and Carlos Salcido is back in the team as a midfielder, continuing his late-career positional change.
Up front, El Tri have surprisingly selected five forwards. That does include someone like Marco Fabian, who is more likely to play underneath a striker than as an out-and-out forward, and Angel Reyna, who is more of a winger, so it is not a true five.
But even three strikers on a team that usually only plays with one is indicative of a Mexico team that is very unsure of what it has up front right now. Hernandez isn’t playing for Manchester United, Aldo De Nigris is slumping and Oribe Peralta hasn’t been at his best either so de la Torre is affording himself options in the wake of El Tri’s mini striker crisis.
Mexico currently sit atop Group B of the third round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying on six points after two matches. Costa Rica is second place on four points and El Salvador is third on one point. Guyana has no points.
El Tri will play at Costa Rica on September 7 and then host the Ticos at Estadio Azteca four days later. If Mexico win both matches, they will clinch a spot in the hexagonal with two matches in the third round left to play.
Goalkeepers: Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul), Guillermo ‘Memo’ Ochoa (Ajaccio), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca).
Defenders: Hugo Ayala (Tigres), Darvin Chavez (Monterrey), Israel Jimenez (Tigres), Severo Meza (Monterrey), Hiram Mier (Monterrey), Hector Moreno (Espanyol), Jorge Torres Nilo (Tigres), Francisco ‘Maza’ Rodriguez (Stuttgart).
Midfielders: Javier Aquino (Cruz Azul), Pablo Barrera (Cruz Azul), Andres Guardado (Valencia), Elias Hernandez (Tigres), Carlos Salcido (Tigres), Gerardo Torrado (Cruz Azul), Jesus Zavala (Monterrey).
Forwards: Aldo De Nigris (Monterrey), Marco Fabian (Chivas), Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez (Manchester United), Oribe Peralta (Santos Laguna), Angel Reyna (Monterrey).