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Mexico Roster for Intercontinental Playoff vs New Zealand

America vs Cruz Azul Copa MX
Source: Flickr - Paul Brady

Miguel Herrera, the Mexican National Team head coach, called up 23 players, all based in the Liga MX, for the intercontinental World Cup playoff matches against New Zealand, which will be held on November 13 and November 20, 2013.

Part of the deal the FMF arranged with Herrera, was that Club America, the defending Liga MX champion, and current first placed team in the Apertura 2013, was to be used as the base for the Mexican National Team in its matches against New Zealand. Thus, it is not surprising to see 10 Club America players in the roster. Here’s the roster:

1.- José de Jesús Corona Rodríguez – Cruz Azul
2.- Moisés Alberto Muñoz Rodríguez – América
3.- Alfredo Talavera Díaz – Toluca
4.- Rafael Márquez Álvarez- León
5.- Juan Carlos Valenzuela Hernández – América
6.- Francisco Javier Rodríguez Pinedo – América
7.- Paul Nicolás Aguilar Rojas – América
8.- Miguel Arturo Layún Prado – América
9.- Edwin William Hernández Herrera – León
10.- Adrián Alexei Aldrete Rodríguez – América
11.- Miguel Ángel Herrera Equihua – Pachuca
12.- Hugo Ayala- Tigres (called up after Hiram Mier’s injury)
13.- Rodrigo Salinas Dorantes – Morelia
14.- Juan Carlos Medina Alonso – América
15.- Antonio Naelson Matías – Toluca
16.- Carlos Alberto Peña Rodríguez – León
17.- Luis Ángel Mendoza Escamilla – América
18.- Luis Arturo Montes Jiménez – León
19.- Jesús Antonio Molina Granados- América
20.- Jesús Alonso Escoboza Lugo – Santos
21.- Oribe Peralta Morones- Santos
22.- Raúl Alonso Jiménez Rodríguez – América
23.- Jesús Aldo De Nigris Guajardo- Guadalajara

As you can see from the list, none of the European based players have been called up for the matches against New Zealand. No Chicharito, Dos Santos, Guardado, etc, just Liga MX players.

Miguel Herrera’s reasoning for this was actually very solid though. Herrera argued that the European based players wouldn’t have enough time to adjust to his 5-3-2 playing style; in contrast, the players he called up have either been training with him for years at Club America, or for a month plus in Mexico City since October.

Herrera also states that the European based players aren’t really used to playing in the altitude and smog of Mexico City, thus negating any advantage over the visiting team; the currently called up players either train there all the time, or have been in Mexico City for over a month now.

Finally, Herrera cited the long travel as another issue. Not only would the European based players need to make the 8-12 hour trip from Europe to Mexico City, but they would then need to take the 20+ hour trip to New Zealand. For this and several other reasons, Herrera has decided to stick with the Liga MX players.

It is very likely that at least half of the starters against New Zealand will be Club America players, the rest will be the best that the Liga MX has to offer. So far, this group of players have produced positive results, winning the three friendly matches they have played against Lobos BUAP, Altamira, and Finland.

Against New Zealand, Mexico will face a determined rival that will focus on keeping the score at 0-0, hoping to finish off Mexico at their home. The key for Herrera’s El Tri is to create plenty of scoring opportunities, and score early in the first half.