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Friday, February 4, 2011
MEXICO: Zinha, Luis Perez return to the fold

By Scott French

Jose Manuel "Chepo" de la Torre's first Mexico roster features a healthy share of the regular crew -- the Chicharitos and Giovanis and Torados -- a couple of newcomers among those looking to cement their spot in the player pool, and two old standouts returning to El Tri after absences of almost two years.

Zinha, Toluca's Brazilian-born playmaker, and Luis Perez, a midfielder for Monterrey, were part of Mexico's 2006 World Cup team and contributed during the qualifying campaign for last year's World Cup in South Africa, and their presence for Wednesday's clash against Bosnia and Herzegovina in Atlanta (TeleFutura/KFTR Channel 46, 5 p.m. PT) restores international careers that elapsed when Javier Aguirre took charge in April 2009.

Zinha last suited up for El Tri in a 5-1 romp over Bolivia on March 11, 2009, in Commerce City, Colo. Perez made his last appearance in a World Cup qualifying loss at Honduras on April 1, 2009, two days before Aguirre replaced Swede Sven-Goran Eriksson.

De la Torre, a former Mexican national team midfielder, was hired Oct. 18 to succeed Aguirre, who resigned after guiding Mexico to the World Cup round of 16. Wednesday's match is his first as El Tri manager.

His roster includes 11 players from the team in South Africa -- including star forwards Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez and Giovani Dos Santos, both based in Europe, and captain Gerardo Torrado, the veteran (three World Cups) holding midfielder from Cruz Azul -- and a half-dozen who were on the roster four years earlier in Germany.

A half-dozen players based in Europe have been called in, but not forward Carlos Vela, who was just loaned from Arsenal to fellow English Premier League team West Bromwich Albion, or midfielder Efrain Juarez, who plays for Scottish powerhouse Celtic FC. Their six-month suspensions, for their involvement in a team party following a Sept. 7 match against Colombia in Ciudad Juarez, expire next month.

Hernandez (Manchester United), Dos Santos (Racing Santander, on loan from Tottenham), midfielder Pablo Barrera (West Ham United) and first-choice defenders Carlos Salcido (Fulham), Francisco Javier Rodriguez (PSV Eindhoven) and Hector Moreno (AZ Alkmaar) comprise the foreign legion.

Toluca goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera and Monterrey midfielder Jesus Zavala hope to make their international debuts. Talavera is expected to back up Cruz Azul's Jose de Jesus Corona, who was a backup at the 2006 World Cup. Five others on the roster have played just once or twice for the full national team.

De la Torre called in no players from America, San Luis and Jaguares, who open Copa Libertadores group play the following week, and on-fire Pumas UNAM striker Juan Carlos Cacho was dropped after he was injured Monday as a pregame camp for domestic players was held in Mexico City. Five others in camp -- defenders Hugo Ayala (UANL Tigres) and Leobardo Lopez, midfielders Antonio Rios (Toluca) and Carlos Gerardo Rodriguez (Pachuca), and forward Elias Hernandez (Morelia) -- were dropped after the Mexico City camp.

Mexico's roster:

GOALKEEPERS
+Jose de Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul), 11 caps/0 goals
Alfredo Talavera (Toluca), 0/0

DEFENDERS
*Paul Aguilar (Pachuca), 12/2
Edgar Dueñas (Toluca), 4/0
Ivan Estrada (Santos Laguna), 1/0
*Jonny Magallon (Guadalajara), 53/3
*Hector Moreno (AZ Alkmaar/Netherlands), 15/0
*+Javier Francisco Rodriguez (PSV Eindhoven/Netherlands), 54/1
*+Carlos Salcido (Fulham/England), 81/6
*Jorge Torres Nilo (UANL Tigres), 9/0

MIDFIELDERS
*Pablo Barrera (West Ham United/England), 28/3
*Israel Castro (Pumas UNAM), 36/1
*Giovani Dos Santos (Racing Santander/Spain on loan from Tottenham/England), 34/6
Edgar Pacheco (Atlas), 1/0
+Luis Perez (Monterrey), 66/8
*+Gerardo Torrado (Cruz Azul), 120/6
Jesus Zavala (Monterrey), 0/0
+Zinha (Toluca), 49/6

FORWARDS
Nestor Calderon (Toluca), 1/0
Jose Maria Cardenas (Santos Laguna), 2/1
Aldo de Nigris (Monterrey), 2/0
Javier Hernandez (Manchester United/England), 20/11

* -- 2010 World Cup roster
+ -- 2006 World Cup roster
^ -- 2002 World Cup roster