The list was posted on a website. No press conference, no fanfare, no drama. No hiding the fact that Sven Goran Eriksson is looking far and wide for any kind of offensive punch. His list of call-ups for the first CONCACAF qualifier vs. the US includes players who have seen little to no activity on their respective clubs: Nery Castillo, Giovani Dos Santos, Omar Bravo and Guillermo Franco. But even these inactive players are proving to be a better option for SGE as the local players have not performed at the level that warrants a national team call. It’s no surprise, really, considering that the majority of offensive positions in the local league are occupied by foreigners. The pickins are slim.
Mexico’s offensive output has been largely absent. They have only scored 4 goals in their last 5 matches. Moreover, of the 9 goals they scored in the semi-final round of qualifying, only 2 goals were scored by forwards. Defenders have scored more. SGE noted in his press conference last week that he is looking for speedier forwards. 3 of these guys have that, and they have fresh legs as well.
Omar Bravo’s minutes with Depor have been sparce, and he is ill-equipped to be a lone striker in Lotina’s scheme. He was even voted to Spain's XI of horrors a few weeks ago. High praise indeed!! Franco has played the most of the group, but he did leave the 3-0 Depor-Villareal loss at halftime with an injury.
Whille it is unlikely that Bravo or Franco see the pitch next week, the other expats may afford SGE better options. Nery has seen more action as of late than Gio has, but they are both two guys who have the necessary tools to penetrate the compact American defense: speed and great ball control. Even with the lack of pitch time, no one in the local league comes close to matching their skills.
After what seemed like a never-ending onslaught of bad news, Mexico did get a tasty morsel of the good stuff yesterday: Rafa Marquez not only suited for Barça, but he played almost the full game before being sent off in the late stages. Does that mean that he’ll be able to join Mexico before the required 48 hour window? Doubtful.
I don’t follow other national teams as closely as I do Mexico’s so I am curious if other teams’ fans react as negatively as Mexico’s do when a list comes out. There seems to be a lot more “OMG, that guy? He is the worst player in the history of the sport.” than “he deserves the call-- good for him.” There is the occasional banter about a snub, but it is far outweighed by the outrage that is generated because a few guys are on the list. Does that happen everywhere?
Here is the list--
Goalkeepers: Oswaldo Sanchez, Guillermo Ochoa, Jose de Jesus Corona
Defenders: Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Julio Cesar Dominguez, Carlos Salcido, Ricardo Osorio, Rafael Marquez, Aaron Galindo, Leobardo Lopez, Fausto Pinto
Midfielders: Pavel Pardo, Leandro Augusto, Luis Perez, Israel Martinez, Antonio Naelson, Alberto Medina, Cesar Villaluz
Forwards: Giovani Dos Santos, Matias Vuoso, Carlos Ochoa, Nery Castillo, Guillermo Franco, Omar Bravo