By DAN KARELL
The Mexico National Team may have a new manager in Victor Manuel Vucetich, but they still haven’t successfully been able to recruit Real Sociedad forward Carlos Vela back into the team.
The high-scoring Mexican was left off the list of five players currently based in Europe that Vucetich has called into the next El Tri squad for their final two Hexagonal World Cup qualifiers. Also not included in the list is FC Porto defender Diego Reyes who has been a mainstay in the side for the last year, his club teammate Hector Herrera, and Valencia winger Andres Guardado.
Despite Vela’s absence, goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa has earned a recall into the Mexico squad and will travel to Mexico City along with fellow European-based players Javier Chicharito Hernandez, Giovanni Dos Santos, Javier Aquino, and Hector Moreno.
Earlier this week there were reports at a Mexico training camp run by Vucetich that both Vela and Ochoa would return to the side, after declining calls from former manager Jose Manuel de la Torre, who’s reign as El Tri boss ended in the early morning hours after a 2-1 defeat at home to Honduras.
Vela, the former Arsenal player who has captivated La Liga since joining Sociedad in 2011, hasn’t featured for Mexico since March 29, 2011, which was when “Chepo” de la Torre was the manager of the team. However, it was thought that under a new manager like Vucetich, the former U-17 World Champion would return to help save his country from potentially missing out on the World Cup.
Heading into their final two World Cup qualifiers, Mexico sits in fifth place on goal difference, with only eight points from eight matches. They face fourth-placed Panama on October 11, with a win potentially placing them as high as third, though a draw or defeat would nearly ensure them that their best finish would be fourth place, which forces the team to play New Zealand in a home-and-home playoff round to decide which nation advances to next summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
What do you think of these developments? Surprised that Vela still won’t play for Mexico? Do you see Mexico’s task at hand now even tougher? Do you see Chicharito and Ochoa starting against Panama?
Share your thoughts below.