Mexico call-ups: All hands on deck

After crashing out of the Copa Centenario -- with an historic 7-0 loss to Chile in the quarterfinals -- Mexico gave its head coach, Juan Carlos Osorio, a reprieve, but that doesn't mean he is a shoo-in to survive through the 10-game Hexagonal, the final round of World Cup 2018 qualifying in Concacaf.

The Mexican federation (run by the club presidents of the country's top clubs) has a long history of pulling the plug on coaches. Only once has Mexico gone to the World Cup finals with the same coach who started the Hexagonal.

Mexico's form has not exactly improved since the debacle at Levi's Stadium in June. After sweeping its first five games in the semifinal round of World Cup qualifying, it closed out the campaign with a 0-0 tie against Honduras at Azteca Stadium.

With that in mind, Osorio has made the surprise decision to recall LA Galaxy forward Giovani dos Santos and Real Sociedad forward Carlos Vela, for El Tri's Hexagonal matches against the USA and Panama.

Dos Santos and Vela have been in and out of the national team in recent years and did not make Osorio's Copa Centenario team. Dos Santos played in Mexico's two October friendlies, his first action since Osorio took over as national team coach in November 2015. Vela, who refused to be considered for the 2014 World Cup team, has played only one game for Osorio.

The bulk of the Mexico squad consists of European-based players like Jonathan dos Santos, Gio's brother, and Vela. Thirteen of the 25 players will come from Europe.

The star is Javier Hernandez of German club Bayer Leverkusen but it is unclear whom Osorio will pick to start alongside him next Friday against the USA in Columbus.

The other takeaway from Osorio's 25-player roster is that he is clearly worried about the USA's strength in the air with Jozy Altidore and Bobby Wood expected to lead the U.S. frontline.

He has loaded up on center backs and might use the same 3-3-3-1 lineup he used in October in Nashville against New Zealand, a team similar in style to the USA.

Mexico Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Guillermo Ochoa (Granada/ESP), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca), Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul).
DEFENDERS (8): Diego Reyes (Espanyol/ESP), Hector Moreno (PSV/NED), Carlos Salcedo (Fiorentina/ITA), Miguel Layun (Porto/POR), Hugo Ayala (Tigres), Rafael Marquez (Atlas), Nestor Araujo (Santos), Oswaldo Alanis (Guadalajara).
MIDFIELDERS (7): Hector Herrera (Porto/POR), Jonathan dos Santos (Villarreal/ESP), Andres Guardado (PSV Eindhoven/NED), Marco Fabian (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER), Giovani dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Jesus Duenas (Tigres), Orbelin Pineda (Chivas Guadalajara).
FORWARDS (7): Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad/ESP), Jesus Manuel Corona (Porto/POR), Raul Jimenez (Benfica/POR), Javier Hernandez (Bayer Leverkusen/GER), Javier Aquino (Tigres), Hirving Lozano (Pachuca), Oribe Peralta (Club America).
2 comments about "Mexico call-ups: All hands on deck".
  1. Ric Fonseca, November 4, 2016 at 3:57 p.m.

    Well, mucha y buena suerte Prof. Osorio y el Tri! Though, I can just hear tha US chanting change from a "Dos a cero," to a "Siete a cero!" Will be an interesting match, indeed!!!

  2. R2 Dad, November 4, 2016 at 4:33 p.m.

    El Tri have the players--very curious if Osorio can get them all on the same page for 95 minutes. Rafa's old these days and will be a liability. Vela, Gio and Chicharito can cause massive problems if given time and space. Should be a good game if everyone can stay on the pitch.

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