Mexico gets good news

[USA-MEXICO COUNTDOWN] Mexico received good news when captain Rafael Marquez returned to action ahead of schedule with Spanish leader Barcelona -- and got sent off, meaning he'll miss next weekend's La Liga action and be rested for the World Cup 2010 qualifier against the United States on Feb. 11. Marquez was one of seven European-based players called up by Coach Sven-Goran Eriksson for the Hexagonal opener.

Marquez was injured in the Copa del Rey, suffering a muscle strain, and was expected to be out at least two weeks. But he recovered to play on Sunday in Barca's 2-1 win at Racing Santander. He was sent off late in the game, however, and will miss next weekend's game against Sporting.

Meanwhile, Pavel Pardo insisted the foot injury he picked up in Club America's game against Morelia isn't severe.

With Mexico hard hit by suspensions and injuries, the availability of Marquez and Pardo is critical to the Tri's chances against the USA in the Hexagonal opener on Feb. 11.

Pardo recently returned from a stint in Germany with VfB Stuttgart to play for America

Villarreal's Guillermo Franco, Nery Castillo of Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk, PSV Eindhoven's Carlos Salcido, Stuttgart's Ricardo Osorio, Tottenham's Giovani Dos Santos and Deportivo Coruna's Omar Bravo were also in the squad announced Sunday.

The Argentine-born Franco was one of four naturalized players called up. The others are Brazilian-born Antonio Naelson and Leandro Augusto and Argentine-born Matias Vuoso.

Former California prep and college star Carlos Ochoa was called up for the game. New Mexico product Edgar Castillo wasn't included in the 24-player roster.

Eriksson begins work with the domestic-based players on Monday, and they fly to Columbus on Saturday,

MEXICO ROSTER:
Goalkeepers: Oswaldo Sanchez (Santos), Guillermo Ochoa (Club America), Jose de Jesus Corona (UAG).
Defenders: Juan Carlos Valenzuela (Club America), Julio Cesar Dominguez (Cruz Azul), Carlos Salcido (PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands), Ricardo Osorio (VfB Stuttgart, Germany), Rafael Marquez (Barcelona, Spain), Aaron Galindo (Guadalajara), Leobardo Lopez (Pachuca).
Midfielders: Fausto Pinto (Cruz Azul), Pavel Pardo (America), Leandro Augusto (Pumas), Luis Perez (Monterrey), Israel Martinez (San Luis), Antonio Naelson (Toluca).
Forwards: Alberto Medina (Guadalajara), Cesar Villaluz (Cruz Azul), Giovani Dos Santos (Tottenham, England), Matias Vuoso (Santos), Carlos Ochoa (Guadalajara), Nery Castillo (Shakhtar Donetsk, Ukraine), Guillermo Franco (Villarreal, Spain), Omar Bravo (Deportivo La Coruna, Spain).

Join your friends in watching USA-Mexico Wednesday Feb. 11 at your favorite soccer viewing establishment.

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