Mexico Manager Sven Goran Eriksson has named his squad for the February 11th qualifier against the United States in Columbus.
Goalkeepers : Oswaldo Sanchez (Santos Laguna), Guillermo Ochoa (America), Jose de Jesus Corona (Tecos)
Defenders : Juan Carlos Valenzuela (America), Julio Cesar Dominguez (Cruz Azul), Carlos Salcido (PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands), Ricardo Osorio (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), Nery Castillo (Shakhtar Donetsk, Ukraine)
Forwards : Alberto Medina (Guadalajara), Cesar Villaluz (Cruz Azul), Giovani Dos Santos (Tottenham Hotspur, England), Matias Vuoso (Santos Laguna), Carlos Ochoa (Guadalajara), Guillermo Franco (Villarreal, Spain), Omar Bravo (Deportivo La Coruna, Spain)
On first look Mexico’s squad looks weak especially with the exclusion of Carlos Vela and Andres Guardado due to suspension. But the reality is the exclusion of Vela and Guardado two raw and temperamental players whose play and behavior have been less than stellar for El Tri could actually help Sven Goran Eriksson’s side.
Mexico will enter a qualifier against the United States as a decided underdog for the first time since 1934. This is a dangerous spot for the United States. This Mexico side possesses more than enough quality to come to Crew Stadium and escape with a result. Sven Goran Eriksson is a proven tactical maestro when his teams are counted out and need a result.
Carlos Salcido is the most talented and one of the most accomplished players who will take the field at Crew Stadium. In Osorio and Pardo, Mexico also boasts Bundesliga title winners just two seasons ago with Stuttgart. The current American squad contains zero players who have ever won a title in a major European league.
Not only does Mexico need a result: Eriksson needs one after El Tri barely qualified for the Hexagonal. The Mexicans performance in the semifinal round was perhaps the poorest in their group, but some luck and fortune officiating saw them through.
This round it will be very unlikely Mexico will once again get the breaks they got in the semifinal round. These breaks included a Hurricane which forced a game to be moved from Kingston to Azteca, two Canadian shots that hit off the post late in a 2-2 draw and two controversial calls that allowed Mexico to erase a late deficit at home to Honduras and secure three points.
Mexico will need to improve its play to advance to South Africa 2010. While El Tri has the most talented player pool in the region, right now the squad is dysfunctional and suffering from inflated egos and poor coaching. While Mexico still has to be considered a favorite to advance the margin of error for a side that cannot seem to achieve positive results on the road is virtually non existent.