Mexico’s Starting Lineup vs Paraguay

el triThe Mexican starting XI set to take on Paraguay on Tuesday bears little resemblance to the team that eked out a 1-0 victory over Ecuador on Saturday evening, with only Diego Reyes earning a start in both matches.

Three starters from the Ecuador game – Miguel Layún, Héctor Herrera, and Andrés Guardado – were all released from camp, as were unused substitutes Guillermo Ochoa and José Manuel “Tecatito” Corona (Layún and Herrera were requested by their clubs; Guardado and Ochoa are about to become fathers; and Corona was injured).

With Ochoa’s absence leaving just one goalkeeper on the roster, Édgar Melitón Hernández was called up as a replacement, and the Tiburones Rojos netminder will now earn his first cap against Paraguay.

Jürgen Damm, who had a cameo appearance against Ecuador and was going to start against Paraguay, suffered an ankle injury in training on Monday that will keep him sidelined.

Miguel Herrera’s full starting eleven is: Édgar Melitón Hernández, Diego Reyes, Julio César Domínguez, Osvaldo Alanís, Jorge Torres Nilo, Jesús Dueñas, Javier Güemez, Juan Carlos Medina, Jonathan dos Santos, Eduardo Herrera, and Raul Jiménez.

Mexico vs Paraguay: Where to Watch

el triThree days after a narrow 1-0 victory over Ecuador, the Mexican national team will take on Paraguay in another international friendly.

Paraguay was also recently in action, with the South Americans playing out a drab 0-0 draw with another CONCACAF side, Costa Rica, on March 26th. Paraguay has not been in great form as of late, with just one win in their last seven matches, but they have a new coach who is looking to turn things around and they should be a good challenge for a new-look Mexican side.

There will be a number of changes to the Mexico squad that took on Ecuador. Some changes were expected, due to Miguel Herrera’s desire to see different players in action before he has to put together two different competitive teams this summer, but others will be forced after five players left camp after the Ecuador game.

Miguel Layún and Héctor Herrera’s departures had been scheduled, with Watford and Porto requesting their early releases for a league game and a cup game, respectively. Meanwhile, Andrés Guardado and Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa have been released for family reasons, with both men about to become fathers, while José Manuel Corona has left camp due to injury.

This is Herrera’s last chance to see many of these players in action before the Gold Cup and Copa América, with April’s friendly against the U.S. slated to be played with only domestically-based players, so expect a competitive lineup despite the projected changes.

International Friendly – Where to Watch
Tuesday, March 31
Mexico vs Paraguay – 9:00 PM EDT – ESPN2 / Unimás / Univision Deportes
Online via WatchESPN and Univision’s Deportes En Vivo

Melitón Hernández Called Up to Replace Ochoa

el triMiguel Herrera had said that each of his goalkeepers – José de Jesús Corona and Guillermo Ochoa – would get a chance to start in Mexico’s friendlies against Ecuador and Paraguay. After Corona got the nod against Ecuador, where he had an outstanding performance, it looked like it would be Ochoa’s turn against Paraguay on Tuesday.

However, with Ochoa’s wife about to give birth, the goalkeeper will not be traveling to Kansas City with the rest of the national team but rather returning to Europe to be with his wife.

As his departure leaves just one goalkeeper on the roster, Édgar Melitón Hernández of the Tiburones Rojos de Veracruz has been called up to replace Ochoa.

Mexico vs Ecuador – Recap and Highlights

el triThe Mexican national team took on Ecuador in California on Saturday night in El Tri’s first game of 2015, and they walked away with a narrow 1-0 victory. An early goal by Javier Hernández stood up thanks to some excellent goalkeeping by José de Jesús Corona, who even saved a penalty kick en route to recording a shutout.

Ecuador, which celebrated Walter Ayoví’s 100th cap in the pregame ceremonies, dominated the opening minutes of play, but without an end product. The Ecuadorians would finish the game with more shots and more shots on goal than Mexico, but they were never able to get past Corona.

The opening goal would come for Mexico against the run of play in the 14th minute. Javier Hernández won the ball from Frickson Erazo and drove in towards the box, sending his shot into the left-hand corner and in off the post.

It was Chicharito’s 39th goal for the Mexican national team, which tied him with Cuauhtémoc Blanco for second on the list of all-time goalscorers, behind Jared Borgetti, who scored 46 times in his 89 caps.

Mexico’s defense was a bit shaky in the absence of such veteran stalwarts as Rafa Márquez (injury) and “Maza” Rodríguez (family reasons), with Diego Reyes and Hugo Ayala in particular raising some doubts. Jesús Corona stole the show in goal for Mexico, covering for his defenders time and again with a series of impressive saves.

Ecuador had more possession and did well enough with it, stringing together attacks and getting into Mexico’s defensive third consistently. It looked like they would find the goal they had been threatening to score in the 71st minute, when Diego Reyes was called for a foul on Ángel Mena in the box.

Referee Christopher Reid pointed to the spot and Miller Bolaños stepped up to take the penalty kick. Ecuador was denied once again, though, as Corona cemented his man-of-the-match performance with yet another save.

El Tri had a handful of chances to add to their lead, but Corona wasn’t the only goalkeeper in good form tonight. Alex Domínguez was alert and came off his line well on several occasions to snuff out chances, and he also made a pair of saves late on to keep his team in the game.

In the end, Mexico got off to a winning start in 2015, and if the win was a little unconvincing at times, well, they still have time to straighten things out before a busy summer of international competitions.

Mexico and Ecuador will face off again in one of those competitions, the Copa América, where they are in Group A along with Chile and Bolivia. In the meantime, Mexico has another international friendly three days from now, against Paraguay in Kansas City on Tuesday, March 31st.

Highlights

Lineups

Mexico: José de Jesús Corona, Paul Aguilar, Hugo Ayala, Diego Reyes, Héctor Moreno, Miguel Layún, Héctor Herrera (Jürgen Damm 84′), José Juan Vázquez (Javier Güemez 73′), Andrés Guardado, Giovani dos Santos (Raúl Jiménez 75′), Javier Hernández (Eduardo Herrera 93′).

Ecuador: Alexander Domínguez, Juan Carlos Paredes (Joao Rojas 80′), Arturo Mina, Frickson Erazo, Walter Ayoví, Enner Valencia, Cristian Noboa, Osbaldo Lastra, Jefferson Montero (Ángel Mena 43′), Felipe Salvador Caicedo (Fidel Martínez 74′), Miller Bolaños.

Ventura Alvarado Says He’s Choosing U.S.

Jurgen Klinsmann called up four Liga MX-based players for March friendlies against Denmark and Switzerland, two of them for the first time. Those two – Ventura Alvarado, a defender for Club América, and William Yarbrough, Club Leon’s goalkeeper – are now facing a decision about their international future. Both Alvarado and Yarbrough are dual-nationals and have not yet been cap-tied to either the U.S. or Mexico.

Alvarado made his international debut for the U.S. when he came on as a late sub against Denmark this past Wednesday, but he is not yet cap-tied to the USNMT since that game was only a friendly. Until he plays in an official, competitive match, Alvarado is still free to move between the U.S. and Mexico.

However, speaking to ESPN FC, Alvardo stated that he wants to stay with the U.S. “I want to stay here. I was happy to wear this jersey and I’m really motivated to be here and keep working. I’m looking forward to getting another call-up.”

With this summer’s Gold Cup on the horizon, it might not be long before Alvarado is cap-tied – for one country or the other. Mexico coach Miguel Herrera is very familiar with the 22-year-old defender from his time as coach of América, and with “El Tri” involved in both the Gold Cup and the Copa América, Herrera needs enough players to field two separate competitive teams.

The other first-time dual national in Klinsmann’s camp, goalkeeper William Yarbrough, is in a similar situation. The 25-year-old, born in Mexico to Texan parents, could suit up for either side. Yarbrough was on the bench for the U.S.’s game against Denmark, but unlike Alvarado, he didn’t get on the field.

Mexico’s Starting Lineup vs Ecuador

el triMiguel Herrera has released El Tri’s starting lineup for this Saturday’s friendly against Ecuador, and Jesús Corona will be starting in goal. After Guillermo Ochoa had a great World Cup for Mexico, it looked like the never ending goalkeeper debate had finally been laid to rest. But Ochoa hasn’t played for his club team, Malaga, in months, which has allowed the in-form Corona – the undisputed starter with his club, Cruz Azul – to once again attempt to claim the starting spot ahead of this summer’s Gold Cup and Copa América.

With those tournaments in mind, Herrera stated that each goalkeeper would start one friendly – one against Ecuador, one against Paraguay – but he hadn’t initially decided which keeper would play which game. Corona gets the nod for the first game, against an opponent that El Tri will be facing in the Copa América this summer.

Herrera is sticking with his usual 5-3-2 formation, and lining up in front of Corona will be a five-man backline of Paul Aguilar, Hugo Ayala, Diego Reyes, Héctor Moreno, and Miguel Layún. In front of them will be a midfield trio of Héctor Herrera, José Juan Vázquez, and Andrés Guardado, with Giovani dos Santos and Javier “Chicharito” Hernández as the strike pair.

Leones Negros Appeal Sosa’s Suspension

Logo LeonesAlfonso Sosa, head coach of the Leones Negros de la Universidad de Guadalajara, was one of 16 individuals suspended after Jornada 11.

Sosa was ejected from the sidelines in Leones Negros’ game against Jaguares for Chiapas last Saturday and then handed a two-game ban for using offensive, insulting, or abusive language towards the match officials.

The club, which is heavily involved in the current relegation fight, is appealing that decision.

The Appeals Committee will now meet, analyze the presented evidence, and reach a decision regarding the appeal.

Update: After the corresponding investigation, the Disciplinary Committee has upheld the original sanction, consisting of a two-game suspension and a fine. 

Voit Aspid Turns Red to Promote Exercise

The Voit Aspid, the official match ball of Liga MX, will feature a red-and-white color scheme during Jornadas 12-15 of the Clausura 2015. The new colors are part of the “Balón en movimiento” (Ball in Motion) campaign meant to bring awareness to sedentary lifestyles and obesity while promoting exercise.

Liga MX/Ascenso MX, Voit, and Coca-Cola presented the initiative to promote physical activity together, and the red-and-white ball will be used throughout the month of April in both Liga MX and the Liga de Ascenso. The annual campaign is publicized under the slogan “#SeMuevenTodos” – Everyone Moves.

Mexico vs Ecuador: Where to Watch

el triThe Mexican national team is taking on their Ecuadorian counterpart in Los Angeles, California, on March 28th in El Tri’s first friendly of 2015.

The last time these two faced off was May 31, 2014, in a World Cup warm-up that Mexico won 3-1. The lasting memory from that game is a bitter one, however, as Mexico’s Luis Montes and Ecuador’s Segundo Castillo suffered serious injuries in a clash that left Montes with a broken leg and Castillo with a torn ACL. Neither player is on the roster for this weekend’s game.

Mexico will be wearing their new jerseys for the first time in this friendly, which will feature some familiar foes. Liga MX players Fidel Martínez (Leones Negros), Walter Ayoví (Pachuca), and Joao Rojas (Cruz Azul) were all called up for Ecuador.

International Friendly – Where to Watch
Saturday, March 28
Mexico vs Ecuador – 9:30 PM EDT – ESPN2 / Unimás / Univision Deportes
Online via WatchESPN and Univision’s Deportes En Vivo

Disciplinary Report: Clausura 2015 Week 11

disciplinary reportThe Disciplinary Committee has suspended 13 players, two coaches, and one team doctor in the aftermath of this weekend’s Joranda 11 games.

The longest suspension goes to Leones Negros head coach Luis Alfonso Sosa, who was given a two-game ban for using offensive, insulting, or abusive language towards the match officials. The Universidad de Guadalajara also had two players suspended, with Fidel Martínez and Marcelo Alatorre earning one-game bans for yellow card accumulation.

Atlas’s Luis Gerardo Venegas, Pumas UNAM’s Darío Verón, and Santos Laguna’s Diego González were also given one-game suspensions for yellow card accumulation.

Santos’s goalkeeper, Agustín Marchesín, will also be sidelined for their next game after he picked up two yellow cards in their game against Tigres UANL.

Also sanctioned for receiving two yellow cards in the same game were Joao Rojas of Cruz Azul, Omar Islas of Pumas UNAM, and Alberto Acosta of Puebla.

Meanwhile, América’s Cristian Pellerano and Toluca’s Óscar Rojas were suspended for a lack of respect towards the match officials. The Diablos Rojos will also be missing head coach José Cardozo for the next game after he was suspended for constantly protesting the decisions of the officiating crew.

Gerardo Aguilar, team doctor for the Tiburones Rojos de Veracruz, was suspended for the same reason.

Finally, Fernando Navarro of León will be sidelined one game for violent conduct, while Jorge Hernández of Pachuca will miss a game for using offensive, insulting, or abusive language and/or gestures towards the referee.