They’re just preliminary rosters — far from the final teams that Jurgen Klinsmann and Ricardo Ferretti will select for Oct. 10’s playoff at the Rose Bowl — but the possibilities for the United States and Mexico are now narrowed to 35 and 32 players per side – the players who were named to the teams’ initial Confederations Cup playoff squads, as distributed by CONCACAF this morning.
The usual suspects are there for both. Stalwarts Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley and Fabian Johnson have been included by Klinsmann, who will hope the health problems that have dogged his best attacker (Dempsey) and wide player (Johnson) will abate between now and next months’ playoff. For Mexico, famous names like Giovani dos Santos, Jonathan dos Santos, Guillermo Ochoa and Jesus ‘Tecatito’ Corono — players who missed September’s friendlies against Trinidad and Tobago and Argentina — are on the provisional list, with both teams set to cut their squads to 23 before the much-anticipated showdown in Pasadena.
The winner of the October playoff will qualify for the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia. The United States booked their spot in the game by winning the 2013 Gold Cup. Mexico booked theirs by winning the same tournament this summer.
With squads nearly 50 percent bigger than a national team’s usual call up, you’d expect few surprise omissions, but each team is missing names that will likely spark conversation among fans. For Mexico, Francisco ‘Maza’ Rodriguez, capped 106 times but recently injured while playing for Cruz Azul, failed to make the cut, while six players from Ferretti’s Tigres team were selected. The United States continues to pass on Sporting Kansas City’s Benny Feilhaber — an MVP candidate in Major League Soccer — while Stanford University’s Jordan Morris is the only non-professional named in either squad.
For the 67 players named, the time to impress starts now, and while players like Andres Guardado, Alejandro Bedoya, Carlos Vela and Jermaine Jones are unlikely to play their way off their teams, hopefuls like Jurgen Damm, Lee Nguyen, Javier Guemez and Tim Ream have just under a month to make their case.
Full preliminary rosters
Guillermo Ochoa (Malaga/Spain)
Moises Munoz (Club America/Mexico)
Alfredo Talavera (Toluca/Mexico)
Jonathan Orozco (Monterrey/Mexico)
Paul Aguilar (Club America/Mexico)
Diego Reyes (Real Sociedad/Spain)
Rafael Marquez (Hellas Verona/Italy)
Hector Moreno (PSV Eindhoven/Netherlands)
Miguel Layun (Porto/Portugal)
Hector Herrera (Porto, Portugal)
Oswaldo Alanis (Guadalajara/Mexico)
Arturo Rivas (Tigres/Mexico);
Miguel Herrera (Pachuca/Mexico)
Jorge Torres Nilo (Tigres/Mexico)