Mexico roster projection: Veterans Guardado, Vela could return to face Argentina

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Several El Tri veterans could make their national team returns in the November friendly window, though young players still will get their shots

One more time.

Tigres manager Ricardo "Tuca" Ferretti will be done with his job as Mexico interim manager after this friendly window; or at least that's what Mexico fans, directors and Ferretti himself are hoping. He still has to name his roster this time around, though, as Mexico prepares for a pair of friendly matches against Argentina in November to close out 2018. So, who will he call?

While Ferretti has focused on developing young players for El Tri's future, this window shapes up to allow a return of some of the players who featured at the 2018 World Cup. Many of them will be in the picture for the next four years, and even those who are too old can help Mexico in the short term.

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That's why we've included players like midfielder Andres Guardado and forward Carlos Vela in this projection. We've also projected a 23-man squad, but Ferretti almost certainly will call in a team with two or three replacement options. Let's take a look at what this week's announcement might look like:


Goalkeepers


Guillermo Ochoa (Standard Liege), Hugo Gonzalez (Necaxa), Raul Gudino (Chivas)

Ferretti has called up four goalkeepers during his stint as interim manager, and these three haven't done anything to lose that honor. Guillermo Ochoa didn't join up for the last window in Mexico, but despite his heavy workload in Belgium, he should be present in Argentina. Hugo Gonzalez did concede six last weekend but has been serviceable for the national team. Gudino earned his last call-up after a spectacular save in the Clasico Nacional, and has done nothing to deny himself another call this time around.

Gibran Lajud is the odd man out with Ochoa returning, which isn't too difficult to believe since he was called in during September and didn't play at all. The Tijuana shot-stopper also struggled in his 45-minute debut against Costa Rica as well. The future is bright for him, but he probably won't make this squad.


Defenders


Hector Moreno (Real Sociedad), Nestor Araujo (Celta), Jesus Gallardo (Monterrey), Diego Reyes (Fenerbahce), Jesus Angulo (Santos Laguna), Gerardo Arteaga (Santos Laguna), Luis "Chaka" Rodriguez (Tigres)

Could Hector Moreno earn a recall this time around? His playing time with Real Sociedad has been sporadic, but he recently returned to action in La Liga. Even if Moreno still isn't in Ferretti's plans, Nestor Araujo and Diego Reyes can partner together at center back. There's not much depth at the position, so a look at a player like Oswaldo Alanis or even a recall to Hugo Ayala also could be in the cards.

On the outside, young Santos Laguna defender Gerardo Arteaga has exceeded expectations with the national team. Jesus Gallardo and Chaka Rodriguez may be the top left and right backs in the pool respectively, and Jesus Angulo is a player Ferretti likes.

Edson Alvarez gets left off the list after seeing his playing time drop lately for his club. The 21-year-old World Cup veteran should be in the plans for the next coach, though. So too should Pachuca's Erick Aguirre.


Midfielders


Victor Guzman Mexico Costa Rica friendly 11102018

Andres Guardado (Real Betis), Hector Herrera (Porto), Victor Guzman (Pachuca), Roberto Alvarado (Cruz Azul), Jonathan dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Javier Aquino (Tigres), Erick Gutierrez (PSV), Rodolfo Pizarro (Monterrey)

These matches could see the return of Andres Guardado, the veteran Mexico midfielder who not only is a great example but still is playing at a very high level with Real Betis. The 32-year-old is a long-shot for Qatar, but he hasn't ruled out making a charge to match Rafa Marquez's five World Cups. To do that, he'll need to be involved in the next cycle and also take superb care of his body.

Hector Herrera also could return, with Porto willing to let its players take part in the international dates and the midfielder saying this week he would consider it a dream to regularly captain the national team. Victor Guzman, following in Herrera's footsteps with Pachuca, not only showed well in the fall friendly matches but is also coming off a weekend when he scored four goals in a single match. He has to be in.

So too does Roberto Alvarado, the 20-year-old from Cruz Azul who has excelled this season both when asked to play a more advanced role and to stay in the midfield.  Less certain are places for Jonathan dos Santos, whose season is over with the LA Galaxy, and Rodolfo Pizarro. Pizarro only recently returned from injury with Monterrey but the 24-year-old looks to be part of El Tri's future. So too does Erick Gutierrez, who has shown his quality in limited minutes with PSV.

Left off the list are Monterrey midfielder Jonathan Gonzalez, whom Ferretti has been hesitant to give minutes to and is nursing an injury, and America playmaker Diego Lainez, who is with the Mexico U-20 team.

Marco Fabian also is left off. The veteran creates an interesting issue, and it would be no shock to see him in the roster. He's not in the picture at all with his club, so the lack of time with Eintracht Frankfurt may be reason to keep him out of the national team. Yet with tournaments approaching in the future where Fabian could help El Tri, perhaps giving him the emotional boost of a national team call-up is worth overlooking his lack of form. 


Forwards


 Carlos Vela Mexico Germany World Cup 2018

Jesus Corona (Porto), Hirving Lozano (PSV), Raul Jimenez (Wolves), Alan Pulido (Chivas), Carlos Vela (LAFC)

This would be a big return as well, but it's one that makes sense. Carlos Vela's season is over with LAFC, but he's not in full-on offseason mode yet. It would be the perfect time for him to come into the fold. While fans might prefer a total youth movement, Vela has plenty to offer the national team in the Gold Cup, a potential 2020 Copa America and perhaps even has a shot of making it to Qatar. It's always about his desire, though. Does Vela want to play for the national team? He hinted in interviews before the MLS playoffs that he'd be willing to dress in green once again. Closing out the year with El Tri would be a good start.

Lozano, Tecatito and Jimenez have been involved in the past two camps, and there's no reason to think the players wouldn't be involved now. In form with European clubs, the trio are the present and the future of the national team.

Pulido also is included. There were reports that Chivas requested he stay behind in the last game, but this time there are fewer Chivas players included. That should clear the way for the forward, who recently scored for the Guadalajara side (and also got sent off and will miss the match before the international break), to join in place of club teammate Angel Zaldivar.

Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez seems more unlikely to get the call - less for his comments during the week suggesting he may call time on his Mexico career and more because he's only just getting back to full fitness and earning minutes with West Ham. Letting him put the priority on his situation in London seems wise for all sides.

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