Mexico call up Liga MX-based squad vs. Paraguay

Mexico has released a 21-man roster comprised of all Liga MX players for a friendly against Paraguay next week at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

With the August 31 match landing on a non-FIFA date, manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino has left out many of the country’s most recognizable stars as Raul Jimenez, Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, and Guillermo Ochoa.

Ahead of the 2022 World Cup, the friendly will likely represent a final chance for several fringe players to make a case for a roster spot in Qatar.

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With Jesus “Tecatito” Corona ruled out of the World Cup due to a knee injury that will keep him out for four to five months, Martino will gauge who could fill in the role of the Sevilla winger. Candidates on the roster include Cruz Azul’s Uriel Antuna, Chivas’ Alexis Vega and Monterrey’s Rodolfo Pizarro.

Elsewhere in the frontline, an injury for Monterrey forward Rogelio Funes Mori should provide an opportunity for Club America’s Henry Martin. Once appearing to be losing his relevance for club and country, Martin was included in the roster after securing six goals and four assists in his previous six Liga MX appearances. Martin, along with Funes Mori and Feyenoord’s Santiago Gimenez, are all battling for substitute striker roles for Mexico behind Jimenez.

Two players who could possibly make their El Tri debuts are Necaxa’s Luis Malagon and Club America’s Emilio Lara. While Malagon has previously been called up but not given minutes, Lara is earning his first-ever opportunity in a senior Mexico camp.

Also of note in the roster is Atlas’ Luis Reyes. Martino has been criticized in recent months for not including players from the back-to-back Liga MX champions, but with the return of Reyes, the Guadalajara club will once again have representation in Mexico’s setup.

Looking ahead after the Atlanta exhibition, El Tri will have two additional U.S. friendlies before the World Cup. Mexico will face Peru on Sept. 24 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, followed by a match against Colombia on Sept. 27 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

Once in Qatar, Mexico will go up against Poland, Argentina and Saudi Arabia in the group stage this November.

Full Mexico roster

GK: Carlos Acevedo (Santos Laguna), Luis Malagon (Necaxa)

DF: Emilio Lara (Club America), Kevin Alvarez (Pachuca), Jesus Angulo (Tigres), Jesus Gallardo (Monterrey), Cesar Montes (Monterrey), Luis Reyes (Atlas), Israel Reyes (Puebla)

MF: Fernando Beltran (Chivas), Roberto Alvarado (Chivas), Luis Chavez (Pachuca), Sebastian Cordova (Tigres), Carlos Rodriguez (Cruz Azul), Luis Romo (Monterrey), Erick Sanchez (Pachuca), Rodolfo Pizarro (Monterrey), Uriel Antuna (Cruz Azul)

FW: Eduardo Aguirre (Santos Laguna), Henry Martin (Club America), Alexis Vega (Chivas)

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