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Thursday, March 22, 2012
OLYMPICS: Mexico bring loaded side

By Scott French

CARSON -- The rosters for CONCACAF's Olympic qualifying tournament are finally out, and just in time: Group A, which includes the United States, kicks off this afternoon in Nashville, Tenn.


We're concerned more with Group B in these parts. Mexico, with a dynamic side starring rising Guadalajara stars Erick Torres and Marco Fabian de la Mora, is the marquee team at Home Depot Center, where the first of three under-23 doubleheaders is slated for Friday night.

Mexico's roster is filled with Primera Division talent: 14 of the 22 players on El Tri's roster are regular starters in the country's top league, and several -- Marco Fabian, Toluca midfielder Nestor Calderon, Pumas UNAM midfielder Javier Cortes, Monterrey defender Darvin Chavez and UANL Tigres defender Israel Jimenez -- are downright veterans. A dozen have seen time with Mexico's full national team, and a half-dozen played for Mexico's U-20 team at last year's World Cup.

Calderon, who turned 23 last month, has been a first-choice player for Toluca since 2008 and has scored 22 goals in 133 Primera Division games. Marco Fabian netted 17 goals in last two tournaments and has 27 in 123 games for Guadalajara.

One Amercan-born player on the roster, too: Guadalajara's Miguel Angel Ponce, a Sacramento-born, Tijuana-raised left back who played in San Ysidro during his development.

Mexico is looking to qualify as simply as possible after its stunning failure to advance from group play in the Beijing qualifiers four years ago.

The top two teams advance to this summer's London Games, and the U.S. -- which has 14 MLS players, five from Europe and Club Tijuana's Joe Corona -- and Mexico are expected to fill the slots.

Honduras, which includes D.C. United's Andy Najar, the 2010 MLS Rookie of the Year, figures to test Mexico in Group B. The teams meet in the second game of Sunday's doubleheader. Panama, also in Group B, features four players from the Gold Cup semifinalists last summer.

El Salvador, in Group A, includes Panorama City's Richard Menjivar (Monroe HS), a senior last fall at Cal State Bakersfield. He played for the U.S. under-18 national team in 2008.

Here are the rosters for the Group B teams:
HONDURAS
Head coach:
Miguel Falero.
Goalkeepers: Jose Mendoza (Platense), Francisco Reyes (Olimpia), Marlon Licona (Motagua).
Defenders: Edgardo Flores (Platense), Wilmer Crisanto (Victoria), Hilder Colon (Real España), Jose Tobias (Deportes Savio), Jonnhy Leveron (Motagua), Fredy Rolando Escobar (Marathon), Mario Chavez (Vida), Ever Alvarado (Real España).
Midfielders: Alexander Lopez (Olimpia), Gerson Rodas (Real España), Alfredo Mejia (Motagua), Arnold Peralta (Vida), Aldo Oviedo (Atletico Choloma), Orlin Peralta (Vida), Oscar Duron (Marathon), Wilmer Fuentes (Marathon), Luis Garrido (Olimpia), Mario Martinez (Real España), Nestor Martinez (Olimpia).
Forwards: Romell Quioto (Vida), Roger Rojas (Olimpia), Anthony Lozano (Alcoyano/Spain), Eddie Hernandez (Hacken/Sweden), Cristhian Altamirano (Marathon), Cristhian Martínez (Real España), Andy Najar (DC United/USA).

MEXICO
Head coach:
Luis Fernando Tena.
Goalkeepers: Liborio Sanchez (Gallos Blancos), Antonio Rodriguez (Veracruz), Hugo Gonzalez (America).
Defenders: Israel Jimenez (UANL Tigres), Hiram Mier (Monterrey), Nestor Araujo (Cruz Azul), Hugo Rodriguez (Atlas), Diego Reyes (America), Darvin Chavez (Monterrey), Miguel Angel Ponce (Guadalajara).
Midfielders: Jorge Enriquez (Guadalajara), David Cabrera (Pumas UNAM), Hector Herrera (Pachuca), Javier Cortes (Pumas UNAM), Javier Aquino (Cruz Azul), Nestor Calderon (Toluca).
Forwards: Marco Fabian de la Mora (Guadalajara), Jeronimo Amione (Atlante), Alan Pulido (UANL Tigres), Erick Torres (Guadalajara).

PANAMA
Head coach:
Julio Dely Valdes.
Goalkeepers: Luis Mejía (Fenix/Uruguay), Alex Rodríguez (Sporting San Miguelito).
Defenders: Alberto Quezada (Chepo), Carlos Rodríguez (FC Dallas/USA), Edward Benítez (Sporting San Miguelito), Harold Cummings (River Plate/Uruguay), Sergio Thompson (Sporting San Miguelito), Roderick Miller (San Francisco FC), Rolando Algandona (San Francisco FC).
Midfielders: Erick Davis (Fenix/Uruguay), Javier CedeDo (Alianza), Anibal Godoy (Godoy Cruz/Argentina), Juan De Gracia (Chepo), Marcos Sánchez (Tauro), Roderick Paul (Arabe Unido), Manuel Asprilla (UANL Tigres/Mexico).
Forwards: Cecilio Waterman (Fenix/Uruguay), Yairo Glaize Yau (Sporting San Miguelito), Amir Waithe (San Francisco FC), Victor Barrera (Titan de Texistepeque/El Salvador).

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
Head coach:
Angus Eve.
Goalkeepers: Andre Marchan (DirecTV North East Stars), Sheldon Clarke (Defence Force).
Defenders: Sheldon Bateau (unattached), Leslie Russell (W Connection), Kareem Moses (St. Ann's Rangers), Mekeil Williams (Pogon Szczecin/Poland), Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force), Daneil Cyrus (Santa Rosa FC), Joevin Jones (W Connection).
Midfielders: Sean De Silva (College of Charleston/USA), Jeromie Williams (North East Stars), Kevin Molina (Orlando City SC/USA), Kevan George (Columbus Crew/USA) Micah Lewis (Caledonia AIA), Jayson Joseph (T&TEC), Jomal Williams (W Connection).
Forwards: Jamal Gay (Caledonia AIA), Trevin Caesar (Caledonia AIA), Cordell Cato (Seattle Sounders/USA), Shahdon Winchester (W Connection).

And here are the Group A rosters:

UNITED STATES
Head coach:
Caleb Porter.
Goalkeepers: Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire).
Defenders: Perry Kitchen (D.C. United), Ike Opara (San Jose Earthquakes), Kofi Sarkodie (Houston Dynamo), Zarek Valentin (Montreal Impact/Canada), Jorge Villafaña (Chivas USA), Sheanon Williams (Philadelphia Union).
Midfielders: Freddy Adu (Philadelphia Union), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana/Mexico), Mix Diskerud (Gent/Belgium), Jared Jeffrey (FSV Mainz 05/Germany), Amobi Okugo (Philadelphia Union), Michael Stephens (Galaxy).
Forwards: Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), Terrence Boyd (Borussia Dortmund/Germany), Teal Bunbury (Sporting Kansas City), Joe Gyau (1899 Hoffenheim/Germany), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Tony Taylor (Estoril Praia/Portugal).

CANADA
Head coach:
Tony Fonseca.
Goalkeepers: Adam Janssen (Minnesota Stars/USA), Michal Misiewicz (FC Edmonton).
Defenders: Andrés Fresenga (Racing Club/Uruguay), Nana Attakora (unattached), Doneil Henry (Toronto FC).
Midfielders: Russell Teibert (Vancouver Whitecaps), Kyle Bekker (Boston College/USA), Bryce Alderson (Vancouver Whitecaps), Samuel Piette (FC Metz/France), Shaun Saiko (FC Edmonton), Philippe Davies (unattached), Sherif El-Masri (Courts Young Lions/Singapore), Drew Beckie (unattached), Matt Stinson (Toronto FC).
Forwards: Marcus Haber (St. Johnstone/Scotland), Babayele Sodade (Seattle Sounders/USA), Lucas Cavallini (Nacional/Uruguay), Carl Haworth (Montreal Impact), Randy Edwini-Bonsu (Eintracht Braunsweig/Germany), Evan James (Montreal Impact).

CUBA
Head coach:
Raul Gonzalez Triana.
Goalkeepers: Odisnel Cooper (Camagüey), Julio Ramos Pichardo (Las Tunas).
Defenders: Arturo Diz Pez (unattached), Yoisel Salazar (Camagüey), Jose Dairon Macias (Villa Clara), Yosmel De Armas (La Habana), Dayron Blanco (Las Tunas), Renay Malblanche (Holguin).
Midfielders: Osay Martinez (La Habana), Felix Guerra (Granma), Ricardo Peña (La Habana), Jorge Carlos Fariñas (La Habana), Carlos Domingo Francisco (Santiago de Cuba).
Forwards: Maikel Chang (La Habana), Heviel Cordoves (La Habana), Maykel Reyes (Pinar del Rio), Arichel Hernandez (Villa Clara), Daniel Luis Saez (La Habana).

EL SALVADOR
Head coach:
Mauricio Alfaro.
Goalkeepers: Diego Cuellar (Atletico Marte), Jimmy Cuellar (Alianza).
Defenders: Alexander Vidal (Atletico Marte), Moises Xavier Garcia (Luis Angel Firpo), Alexander Mendoza (Universidad de El Salvador), Milton Molina (Metapan).
Midfielders: Jaime Alas (Luis Angel Firpo), Richard Menjivar (Cal State Bakersfield/USA), Darwin Ceren (Juventud Independiente), Elman Rivas (Alianza), Marlon Martínez (Luis Angel Firpo), Herbert Sosa (Alianza), Jorge Moran (Metapan), Edwin Sanchez (Metapan), Andres Flores (Viborg/Denmark), Diego Chavarria (Once Municipal).
Forwards: Jonathan Aguila (Aguila), Jose Gutierrez (Aguila), Dustin Corea (Blokhus/Denmark), Lester Blanco (Metapan).