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Herrera selects fully domestic-based squad for El Tri matches with New Zealand

MexicoPlayersCelebrate1-Finland (USATodaySports)


If Mexico qualifies for the World Cup, they’ll do it without their European-based stars.

On Friday evening, Mexico National Team head coach Miguel Herrera announced his 23-man squad for the World Cup playoff matches against New Zealand, featuring only domestic-based players including 10 players from Herrera’s club side, Club America.

Players such as Javier Hernandez, Giovani Dos Santos, Guillermo Ochoa, and Andres Guardado were all left off the squad set to face the All Whites on November 13 in Mexico City and one week later in Wellington, New Zealand.

Herrera debuted his 5-3-2 formation to some success last Wednesday in a 4-2 victory over a short-handed Finland side at a friendly match in San Diego, Calif. Veteran centerback Rafa Marquez scored as did his Club Leon teammate Carlos Peña. Oribe Peralta and Alonso Escoboza rounded out the El Tri scoring against Finland.

Despite calling up Jose de Jesus Corona, America goalkeeper Moises Muñoz is likely to start as Herrera looks to use as many players from his America side that he can in order to ensure positive chemistry and comfort levels within the squad.

In addition to the European-based absentees, recent regulars such as Carlos Salcido, Gerardo Torrado, Christian Gimenez, and Jesus Zavala are all absent from the squad. In place of Lucas Lobos, who withdrew from the side due to a family issue, Herrera called up 37-year-old Toluca midfielder Sinha.


What do you think of this news? Surprised to see the European-based played left off this squad? Do you see this bold move working? Do you believe Mexico still has the talent to make the World Cup?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Regards from Mexico. I have been reading your comments and I think you have interesting points of view. Mexico is using Herrera because the owner of Club America is the same owner of Televisa Tv Group. They earn a lot of money when Mexico plays in a WC so this owner, Emilio Azcarraga, who is the real person that manages the Mexican football, chose Herrera to save the national team. A lot of money is in jeopardy. Herrera is not calling the guys in Europe because he believes he doesn’t have enough time to get them understand the style that he plays (Lavolpe style). So he is using his team (club america), that know the style and players like Rafa Marquez who had played for Lavolpe.

  2. Wow.

    I do actually think this is a smart move as far as qualification goes. Club America + a few of the other best domestic players has to be better than NZ. They’re much more likely to play hard and play together than the regular Mexico team. But… if they win with this team, what are the rest of the guys going to think? They all just got dissed.

  3. It’s a gutsy move by Herrera…and it makes sense. Instead of dealing with the Euro-based egos and head-cases, take players he is very familiar with from a good team who know each other, will not be fighting jet-lag from Europe, and most importantly are used to the altitude at Azteca…and try to run NZ into the ground during the home game…hope for a three-goal win, and defend and counter during the return leg.

    I’m curious if Azteca will be full. I doubt it. If the crowd turns on El Tri, it could get ugly.

    What’s the over-under on Rafa Marquez getting a petulant red card?

  4. Friojito Hernandez was suspended for the first game so not surprised he is not there. Memo, Guardado, Reyes, Moreno, et all have all pissed off those who run the team dos Santos has been terrible… Not surpirsed one bit.

    Peralta, Jimenez, Gimenez, Arce, De Nigris, Rodriguez, etc have all been there better players this year and guys like Aguilar, Leyun and Montes desirve a go.

    If they win it will be interesting to see how they handle the WC roster, only 1 more opportunity for the European based guys to get a look..

  5. Love how all these Mexican fans especially Chivas fans who despise Club America will have to root for them in order for the Mex Natl team to qualify.
    I would rather have the USMNT lose then to root for the New Jersey Red Metros

  6. This is a very weak New Zealand team. The team that couldn’t even qualify for the Confederations Cup over Tahiti. Not at all the team that played in WC-10. So, there is really very little danger of Herrera’s gamble not succeeding. Too bad they are not playing Uruguay.

    • New Zealand put out a very inexperienced team in their continental cup which Tahiti won. I may be wrong but I think Jake Gleeson (Portland’s reserve goalie) started the entire tournament for New Zealand. Honestly if I think they could get a result or even a loss by 1 at the Azteca, New Zealand has a great chance to pull this off.

  7. I would say the reason behind Herrera calling mostly players from his team is because one of the things Mexico lacked was cohesion. At least the team that played against Finland had that compared to having a bunch of Stars not able to play together which reminds me back then when Real Madrid had their stocked of Stars and couldn’t do much with them. I would say that Herrera knows what he’s doing and will mostly likely put players that know each other can play together as a team.

    • We will see. Cohesion and 2 pesos won’t buy a taco de chicharron or a ticket to the world cup. It may work but it’s short-sighted, which is why the federation goes through coaches like kleenex. It’s a desperate move, looks like Herrara sold that idea to the fed to get the job. Maybe he believes in it but from the outside it looks delusional.

      • It might be more accurate to say this group of Euro stars HAD cohesion once and seem to have lost it just when it mattered most. This is, after all basically the same group that massacred the US in the 2011 Gold Cup final, got BB fired, and they are not that much older.

        The first El Tri game of the Hex that I saw was Jamaica at Azteca and Jamaica would have won that 2-0 if they had had anyone who could shoot. That was a while ago, they never got better and I would say their frame of mind is even worse now.

        The Club America option is bit risky but not much riskier than going with the same bunch of gutless, spineless, chicken++++, cowards and wussies that have brought El Tri straight to the toilet.

  8. Taking him at face value this is quite a statement on travel which you have to mention has merit..
    But can you imagine what Hernandez must be thinking. .. And the Mexican fans. Some of them must be out of their heads.

  9. There seems to have been a serious rift buidling with the players in Europe for awhile now. I remember Guardado’s interveiw before the Columbus match struck me as kind of strange. Mostly his comments about why he prefered being in Spain because if he had a beer in Mexico it’d be in all the papers. You have Ochoa only wanting to come in if he was going to be the starter. Dos Santos comments this week saying that Mexico doesn’t have a style. Then of coarse you have the entire Vela story. On top of that you have the coach of Tigres saying Chicharito should just focus on Man U because Mexico is holding him back.
    So in other words perhaps this is a move they had to make and the line had to be drawn pretty hard. Its appears at least from the out side that Mexican players feel like once they make the move to Europe they’ve out grown the National team.

    • That’s hilarious, the most style-less, ineffectual non-entity on the most loser El Tri team ever, criticizes the team for “no style.” LOL! Of course they have a “style” it’s the Liga MX “chicken-with-head-cut-off” style.

  10. I really wanted them to get in, but after seeing them this cocky I hope they fail. Not out of spite, but because I like New Zealand and think they deserve it much more than the current spoiled Mexico team and coaches, plus on talent and discipline the teams are probably pretty level without Mexico’s Euro players called in.

    • I could see how this could be interpreted as a lack of respect for NZ but I feel like this move is designed to be a slap in the face to El Tri’s European players. Actually scratch that, this game is too important. It has to be a genuine vote of no confidence in their European players. Given the situation Herrera must genuinely believe this team gives him more of a chance to beat NZ. That isn’t too much of a stretch based on their hex performance and lack of time before the matches are played.

  11. The last time the Mexican national team played without European-based players, was on Oct-12-2005 against Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain. Mexico lost 2-1, The only European-based players available at that time were Jared Borgetti and Rafael Marquez.

    • Interesting. Marquez is still on the team. 2005 may be too long ago to mean much this time around but still interesting. Imagine being anyone of the young defenders not called in by Herrera but old man Marquez is in along with dinho the dinosaur. There are some bruised egos for sure.

      • This edition of El Tri deserve to have bruised egos and more.

        And if you are talking about young defenders who have yet to be used and were not part the debacle, Herrera has obviously chosen his version of playing it safe.

        They will just have to wait their turn.

  12. His reasoning (or maybe it was lip-service) is that the European player’s would have to travel to Mexico be there for a few days and play in the altitude then go back a few days later and fly another 20+ hours to New Zealand. He did attempt to call a player in the Portugal league (Reyes) and wanted him early (since he is not playing at all) but Porto denied his coming early. Will see if they have enough talent to open up a very defensive team.

  13. While I understand the concept of cohesion between players coming from the same club maybe giving Mexico a chance to get over the drama that the European players carry as baggage in 2013….I for one will laugh my A$$ off if this backfires and El Tri fail to qualify….or if they do qualify and some of their Euro players take a page out of Vela’s playbook and refuse to go to the WC.

  14. This amazing. First of all if liga triX gets Mexico into the World Cup, what will the coach do with his European players after that? Does say were fine with the domestics (his club guys at that!) or does he dismiss most of them and get chicharito and the others back in the team?

    Is this the equivalent of US Soccer hiring Caleb Porter or Mike Petke and then have that coach make up the US team from 40% of his boys? Salcedo, tarrado, zavala? No thanks you don’t play for club America. Chicharito, guardado, dos santos? No gracias, wrong league.

    Finally, could this be motivation for all whites? The new manager is saying in affect, Club America doesn’t fear you. Club America is better than you. Yea, you’ve all heard of chicharito from manU but we don’t need him or any other European based players just to beat little old New Zealand.

    • Chicharito has been putrid.

      Everyone seems to be forgetting that Mexico, with all those Euro stars, has been looking like they would have trouble with a mid level USL team let alone a highly motivated New Zealand.

      The Mexican Eurostars have had 10 very serious games to bring it on. So you can’t say they haven’t had a chance to make their case.

      • I never said they haven’t had a chance to make their case. I’m just questioning what the long term plan is. When and how will talented players in Europe be able to make their case ‘de nuevo.’ If Mexico has success against NZ will it be club america moving forward because the original European based players have lost their chance?

      • “Neruda says:
        I’m just questioning what the long term plan is. When and how will talented players in Europe be able to make their case ‘de nuevo.’ If Mexico has success against NZ will it be club america moving forward because the original European based players have lost their chance?”

        You’re thinking like a fan or a critic not like manager who has a two game audition.

        First things first.

        There is no long term plan.

        If they lose to NZ Herrera won’t have to worry about the Club America plan or the Euros or anything else related to El Tri.

        If they win out, it is a problem Herrera will gladly tackle.

      • Right now, the big picture… the ONLY picture is survival, 2 games vs. New Zealand.

        This is a desperate move by Herrera and certainly not a sure thing, but it’s the only approach that makes sense. Trotting out the same eleven that stunk it up throughout the entire hex and hoping that some tactical move or motivational speech will miraculously turn that team around is folly. The chemistry is broken and they’ve quit a long time ago. At the final hour, basically, it has come down to: Push reset…. and pray.

      • wrfw07

        If you come upon a person in a crashed car, you should never move them until you can make sure about their injuries. You would not want them being paralyzed for example.

        However if the car is on fire and the person is going to burn in about 15 seconds and you want to rescue them you have very little choice in terms of moving them away from the fire.

        El Tri’s car is crashed and burning, big time.

      • Actually, I’d say that Chicharito is the only one of those guys who has been OK. He’s the only one who looks like he cares. But he’s a poacher, and poachers can’t do it alone, even the very good ones (which he is).

    • The same thing happened in 2002, just in a milder way. El Tri was sheet, they fired the coach. Brought in Aguirre, he called up all of Cruz Azul and beat us. Then throughout the year he discarded most of them and brought in different players, so they could experience the WC edition of dos a cero.

  15. Well, if he pulls it off and gets them qualified for the World Cup, he’ll look like a genius. If not, he will be HEAVILY criticized. I’ll give it to him though, he’s got “cahones.” New Zealand, while without any real star power, do play with a lot of pride and play very physically tough. Italy learned that in the last World Cup. This IS NOT a preordained qualification for Mexico by any means.

    • Frankly this is brilliant. The team has obvious chemistry issues that are now rendered irrelevant. On top of that, Mexico spits out NT coaches like congressmen spit out empty promises… Bold for sure, but really smart too.

  16. Cohesion? I think there is some truth but I hesitate to buy it because did they not have cohesion in 2011? Did I miss something and El Tri started to change up their team and lost chemistry? I thought it was the same guys- they just lost the psychology?

    Being very serious- I would like to see a 3-5 page article explaining how the 2011 Mexico team unraveled (what events and players caused it to happen) into what it is now.

  17. Im really shocked as I expected the Euros to come in. I’m guessing he’s thinking the domestic players are acclimated to the altitude.

      • Someone from the normal team was half defending Vela the other day…. I think it was Gio Dos Santos. Quite odd…. It just doesn’t seem like the party thing can be all it is.

      • Carlos Vela = the most overhyped mexican player who nobody who has ever seen play !

        Seriously all the hype and dude has 3 goals ???

        Desperation !

      • Ya but his club record is pretty good. Imgine if a young Dempsey or Altidore just refused to play for us. I guess its kinda like Chandler, but he is a goal scorer and way better

      • My Mexican friends hate him. They want his citizenship revoked. I don’t blame them. Can you imagine Dempsey or Donovan perpetually refusing callups? It’d be 100x worse than how people feel about Rossi.

      • I thought I read somewhere that Vela’s problem is that he wants to be given guaranteed starter status at all times. It seems no one wants to give him that, which makes sense because it would set a bad precedent if they were to give in to his demands.

  18. I was gonna make a sarcastic comment about Klinsmann calling up the U.S.-eligible Portland Timbers for the World Cup, but in truth, I don’t think it’s a bad idea, plus it is a bold one to boot. While this decision does suggest that Herrera believes Mexico has enough talent to beat New Zealand even without its best players, and it’s just a matter of cohesion, in essence I think he’s right.

    • There is not a MLS team with enough USNT eligibility and quality to make that work! Liga MX is amazing at keeping El Tri players/players good enough for El Tri way past the first European offer..

      In MLS a guy gets 15 caps and a $1m offer and he is gone
      In LigaMX only those who pull in huge transfers go abroad

      • NOT ✖️ 100000000000000000

        I want to see them pitifully get excited over kiddy cups like they are force to now.

        Today’s U-17 Champs = tomorrow’s dos a cero victims

      • i wouldn’t be taking much, lets see the U.S u23 didn’t make it to the Olympics while Mexico made it and won. Mexico’s u 17 has been consistent in making it the world Cup and have won it a couple of times compared to the U.S not being able to make it out the round robin or even quarterfinals. Landon Donovan is getting old and U.S MNT style of play lacks depth and its pretty defensive around stronger teams like Costa Rica and Honduras. Depending what group they get and what teams they have to compete their style will remain the same against stronger opponents.

      • so you wouldn’t trade those youth results to be #1 in CONCACAF and not have to do a play off with NZ? Yeah right.

      • What does Landon Donovan getting old have to do with anything? The US relies on him so much that he pretty much played no role in the entire Hex outside of a single goal in Columbus that Mix put on his foot.

      • @Alex

        Your spouting the same drivel the Mexican fans always do. Who cares how well the U-17 team does if it doesn’t translate to the full national team. Yes some of our current stars are getting older. You will find that is true of every national team, Duh. There is more than enough young talent up and coming to replace them.

      • Alex stop it, you sound pathetic!! See this is mexico’s problem, they live off of youth glory that doesn’t translate to the senior team but still have the audacity to talk trash smh! The days of the US team playing defense are situational at best but for the most part they have been an attacking team. Now, the attack may not always produce immediate results or can stall at times but its the intent to attack that benefit them in the end! Say what you want but the US scored a boat load of goals over that 12 game win streak and they weren’t playing little sisters of the poor may I remind! Its shameful that el trip is competing in a play-in two legged series with New Zealand but that’s just where they are right now in terms of their football talents so get over it and stop trying to diminish the success of higher power that is the US!

      • The last time Mexico did not go to the WC was 1990. That was because of suspension due to using over-aged players with doctored birth records in an earlier U-20 championships. Of course, it has long been a problem in developing countries that birth records are uneven and it is quite possible for officials to make an honest mistake regarding age, but thaat honesty was missing in this case. Of course, conspiracy nuts claim the reason was so that the US could qualify before they were to host the WC 4 years later (and it truth the US margin in qualifying was a single, late goal against T&T, without Mexico’s ban the US would not have qualified for Italy’90.)

      • Mexico was pitted vs. Costa Rica in direct elimination before that year’s final round, so it may have been Mexico and US in Italia 90.

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