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Friday, May 13, 2011
MEXICO: No Vela, Aguilar for Gold Cup

By Scott French

Javier Hernandez
Mexico Forward Javier Hernandez

Jose Manuel "Chepo" de la Torre has whittled his roster to 23 players for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and England-based forward Carlos Vela and Pachuca defender/midfielder Paul Aguilar are not among them.


They're the biggest omissions for El Tri heading into the June 5-25 regional nations championship, which will wrap with a Rose Bowl final -- with U.S.-Mexico the anticipated matchup.

The big names are here -- from goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa to backline leader Rafa Marquez to attacking stars Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez and Giovani Dos Santos -- as the Mexicans seek their second straight crown and sixth in 11 tournaments since the Gold Cup was established in 1991.

De la Torre had included Vela, who started two games at last year's World Cup in South Africa, and Aguilar, starter in one, on his 30-man preliminary roster. Also among the 30 but not on the final roster was Guadalajara defender Jonny Magallon, who was on the World Cup roster but did not play, and Jonathan Dos Santos, Giovani's younger brother, who famously declared he'd never play again for Mexico after he was among the last cuts from the World Cup list.

Vela, who plays for West Bromwich Albion on loan from Arsenal, has seen little playing time during the English Premier League season.

De la Torre has returned Brazilian-born playmaker Zinha and Monterrey midfielder Luis Perez, who were on the 2006 World Cup team, to the team and promoted several players, including goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera, defender Edgar Dueñas, midfielder Jesus Zavala, and forwards Aldo de Nigris, Elias Hernandez and Angel Reyna, all on whom are on the roster. Zinha, Talavera and Dueñas played for de la Torre at Toluca.

America's Reyna, who has just three caps, and Morelia's Elias Hernandez, with only four, are wrapping up sparkling campaigns in the Mexican Primera Division's Clausura championship. De Nigris and Perez are returning from injuries that sidelined them for Monterrey's playoff run.

Fourteen players were on the South Africa roster -- six of them also were part of Mexico's 2009 Gold Cup titlist -- and nine were part of the team that played in Germany four years earlier. Marquez and Cruz Azul holding midfielder Gerardo Torrado, who have made 100 or more international appearances, have featured in three World Cups.

Mexico has preparation matches scheduled March 28 against Ecuador in Seattle and June 1 against New Zealand in Denver. Its Gold Cup opener is June 5 vs. El Salvador in Arlington, Texas. El Tri also has group-stage games June 9 vs. Cuba in Charlotte, N.C., and June 12 vs. Costa Rica in Chicago.

The full roster (with club and caps/goals):

GOALKEEPERS
Jose de Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul), 12/0
Guillermo Ochoa (America), 42/0
Alfredo Talavera (Toluca), 1/0

DEFENDERS
Edgar Dueñas (Toluca), 7/0
Efrain Juarez (Celtic FC/Scotland), 26/0
Rafa Marquez (New York Red Bulls/MLS), 100/11
Hector Moreno (AZ Alkmaar/Netherlands), 17/0
Ricardo Osorio (Monterrey), 81/1
Francisco Javier Rodriguez (PSV Eindhoven/Netherlands), 58/1
Carlos Salcido (Fulham/England), 84/6
Jorge Torres Nilo (UANL Tigres), 10/0

MIDFIELDERS
Israel Castro (Pumas UNAM), 35/1
Andres Guardado (Deportivo La Coruña/Spain), 64/9
Zinha (Toluca), 51/6
Luis Perez (Monterrey), 68/8
Gerardo Torrado (Cruz Azul), 124/6
Jesus Zavala (Monterrey), 1/0

FORWARDS
Pablo Barrera (West Ham United/England), 31/3
Aldo de Nigris (Monterrey), 5/1
Giovani Dos Santos (Racing Santander/Spain), 37/6
Elias Hernandez (Morelia), 4/1
Javier Hernandez (Manchester United/England), 23/14
Angel Reyna (America), 3/0