Mexico closes out its 2017 with two friendly matches against highly ranked European competition, facing Belgium and Poland in the November friendly window.
The majority of players based in Europe will be part of this group after Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio requested these types of games to reduce travel for his players in addition to meeting top teams.
Who will make it? Who will miss out? And which domestic-based players will make the trip across the Atlantic? Goal projects the roster for the upcoming November matches …
Guillermo Ochoa (Standard Liege), Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul), Rodolfo Cota (Chivas)
Ochoa and Corona are rolling along as the clear No. 1 and No. 2 between the posts. The third goalkeeper spot is less firm, but even with a downtick in his club form it seems that Cota is keeping the spot warm while Alfredo Talavera recovers from injury.
Osorio is more sentimental than some give him credit for, so don’t be shocked to see Ochoa get the start in Belgium, where he currently plays his club contests.
Hector Moreno (Roma), Diego Reyes (Porto), Nestor Araujo (Santos Laguna), Carlos Salcedo (Eintracht Frankfurt), Edson Alvarez (Club America), Miguel Layun (Porto), Jesus Gallardo (Pumas)
This group would have three Mexico-based options supplementing a back line comprised mostly of players who represent European clubs. Alvarez and Gallardo have become key pieces for Osorio at right or left back, with Alvarez’s role growing lately at America and boosting his chances. Araujo is a player Osorio has come to trust and will almost certainly figure in Russia. The more high-level competition he can face, the better.
Moreno is a lock, especially as his minutes at Roma increase, as is Reyes, despite his struggles to get on the field with Porto. Salcedo joined Mexico in the October qualification matches just after returning from injury and, now that he’s playing more minutes with Frankfurt, will likely be called on to make the short trips.
Hugo Ayala from Tigres is a possibility at center back, but even after Tigres’ game with Atlas was contested Wednesday he might not make the trip with the busy calendar and other center back options.
Hector Herrera (Porto), Andres Guardado (Real Betis), Jonathan dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Omar Govea (Royal Excel Mouscron), Elias Hernandez (Leon), Erick Gutierrez (Pachuca), Javier Aquino (Tigres)
There have been a number of reports saying that San Luis Potosi native and Royal Excel Mouscron midfielder Govea will be included in the November squad. Govea has played well in Belgium, and at the very least should be invited to train with the team given that El Tri will be in the same country.
Herrera, Guardado and Dos Santos have been the best midfielders by some margin lately and will all likely see starting minutes at the World Cup. With Herrera and Guardado based in Europe and Dos Santos already into the offseason with the LA Galaxy, they’ll be included.
Hernandez has been a standout performer for Leon in the past few weeks, and after his excellent Gold Cup he may be pushing Osorio to give him a long, hard look before making a decision on whether or not he belongs at the World Cup. Gutierrez has been less inspiring in recent weeks, struggling with Pachuca. Yet his profile is one Mexico doesn’t have a lot of copies of and could be attractive to Osorio, at least for the preparation friendly games.
We had held out Tigres players with the potential of the Atlas game falling during this break, but with the match taking place Wednesday look for Javier Aquino to be on the list. Jurgen Damm is back from his injury and could be included but is yet to see major action for Tigres since returning.
Uriel Antuna may be called in to take part in training sessions but seeing the Groningen play a major role against such strong opposition would be a big surprise.
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez (West Ham), Raul Jimenez (Benfica), Hirving Lozano (PSV), Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad), Oribe Peralta (Club America), Jesus “Tecatito” Corona (Porto), Giovani dos Santos (LA Galaxy)
There is little doubt about the status of the Europe-based attackers. Lozano is one of the hottest young players in Europe. Corona is getting minutes with Porto in the Champions League. Chicharito is Chicharito. Jimenez is capable and versatile.