Tata Martino has made his first call-ups as Mexico national team manager, preparing to bring in 24 Liga MX-based players for a 'microcycle.'
The idea of getting players together more often in Mexico City is something Martino, announced in January as Juan Carlos Osorio's successor, has floated to managers and owners around the league. That work has paid off with the first of several training sessions ahead of March friendly contests against Chile and Paraguay coming next week.
The roster is not unlike what previous managers have called in for January friendly matches when Europe-based players are unavailable because of club commitments but Liga MX teams are convinced to loan their players. Some teams may not have agreed to loan players to the national team, with the bulk of the roster made up of players either based in Guadalajara or Monterrey. Chivas, Monterrey and Tigres all have four players each on the roster.
Pachuca's Victor Guzman is on the squad but Erick Aguirre is omitted. Necaxa and Tijuana also have only one player included, both goalkeepers, though national team candidates on those teams are less apparent.
Some familiar names are in the team for Mexico fans, including 2018 World Cup veterans like Carlos Salcedo, who returned to the league this winter from Eintracht Frankfurt, and Edson Alvarez. Others, including Santos Laguna midfielder Jose Juan "Gallito" Vazquez and his club teammate goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco, weren't in the picture for Russia but have drawn the coach's eye.
Vazquez's last call-up for the national team came in November 2015, and the 30-year-old World Cup veteran said he's thrilled to be back in the picture for El Tri.
"I can’t do anything more than enjoy it, take advantage of it as well as I can and, really, do what I’ve been doing during all these years," he said. "It’s a good stage. It’s been a while since Iappearedd. More than anything, I want to do my job. That’s the key. Enjoy, do things well and from there I think big things are coming."
Martino also has brought in a number of players who do not have a Mexico senior cap. That includes Atlas midfielder Juan Pablo Vigon, who has had a standout start to the Clausura, Chivas' 21-year-old forward Alexis Vega and 21-year-old Club America defender Jorge Sanchez.
The team will convene Sunday for a training session at 7:30 p.m. Mexico City time and work together again on Monday. Work will conclude Tuesday at noon for players whose clubs are in action Friday, while players whose teams don't return to play until Saturday will have an additional morning session Wednesday before getting back to their club sides.
Goalkeepers: Raul Gudino (Chivas), Hugo Gonzalez (Necaxa), Jonathan Orozco (Santos Laguna), Gibran Lajud (Tijuana)
Defenders: Hiram Mier (Chivas), Cesar Montes (Monterrey), Jesus Gallardo (Monterrey), Jesus Angulo (Santos Laguna), Carlos Salcedo (Tigres), Luis "Chaka" Rodriguez (Tigres), Edson Alvarez (America), Jorge Sanchez (America)
Midfielders: Juan Pablo Vigon (Atlas), Carlos Rodriguez (Monterrey), Jose Juan Vazquez (Santos Laguna), Jesus Duenas (Tigres), Orbelin Pineda (Cruz Azul), Victor Guzman (Pachuca)
Forwards: Isaac Brizuela (Chivas), Alexis Vega (Chivas), Rodolfo Pizarro (Monterrey), Javier Aquino (Tigres), Henry Martin (America), Roberto Alvarado (Cruz Azul),