Espanyol center back Hector Moreno has been ruled out of Mexico's crucial World Cup qualifying games against Panama and Costa Rica later this month, the Mexican federation confirmed Wednesday.
The former Pumas player — a stalwart of Mexico's back line — has a tear in his right hamstring, picked up during Espanyol's 2-0 loss last weekend against Getafe, a game in which Moreno completed the 90 minutes.
The injury comes as a major blow for incoming Mexico coach Victor Manuel Vucetich as he seeks to move El Tri up from fifth place in World Cup qualifying and earn a place at Brazil 2014.
Moreno, 25, has been a bright spot for El Tri and one of Mexico's most consistent performers in a dire year, playing seven of the eight Hexagonal qualifying games.
The press release from the federation states that Moreno informed director of national teams Hector Gonzalez Inarritu over the phone, with Espanyol's medical department confirming a 2-centimeter tear in the player's hamstring.