Mexico coach reveals Márquez left off team for indiscipline
The postgame scuffle Rafa Márquez initiated after the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinal tilt between the New York Red Bulls and the LA Galaxy not only had repercussions for the midfielder on a league level, but also on the international stage.
Mexico head coach José Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre revealed on Tuesday that the longtime Mexico stalwart, who was fined and suspended a total of three games in MLS for his actions, was also left off the roster for El Tri’s friendly against Serbia on Friday in Querétaro as a result.
“Discipline will always be a top priority when it comes to our national teams,” de la Torre said in a press conference. “That’s not a recent thing; that’s always been the norm. We’ve tried to be as logical as possible with [our decision after] what happened, that’s all.”
Márquez was the instigator of the fracas involving the Galaxy. Shortly after the final whistle blew in a 1-0 Red Bulls defeat, the three-time World Cup veteran picked up the ball and flung it at Landon Donovan, which started dust-up that saw Márquez red-carded. He also earned an additional two-game suspension from Major League Soccer's Disciplinary Committee that will carry over into next season.
On Monday during a press event for his charity, Márquez told reporters that he was unaware of any sort of punishment from El Tri.
“No one has told me about any punishment,” he said about his exclusion from the team to face Serbia. “It’s just an exhibition. [De la Torre] has to see other people. … I’m still working, trying to be better each day with the objective of being there for the big games.”
De la Torre, however, told media on Tuesday that both he and Mexican federations director of national teams Héctor González Iñárritu had phoned the player to inform him of their decision.
“Yes, I spoke with him by telephone to tell him that I wasn’t going to call on him,” said De la Torre. “After that, Héctor also talked to him.”
It’s not the first time this year de la Torre has refused to call up a player based on their actions with their club. In May, Cruz Azul goalkeeper José de Jesús Corona head-butted a Monarcas physical trainer, leaving him out of this past summer’s Gold Cup.
“The choice on who to call up is up to the technical staff,” de la Torre said. “We analyze all the players on and off the field. Players must show discipline every day at all times and in all places.”
WATCH: Red Bulls - Galaxy postgame melee