Mexico U-23s call up American-born duo for US friendly

GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Mexico Under-23 coach Luis Fernando Tena has named US-born players Miguel Ángel Ponce and Ricardo Bocanegra in his squad to face the US Olympic hopefuls in Frisco, Texas, on Wednesday.

Ponce, who plays left back/left wing for Chivas de Guadalajara, was born in Sacramento, Calif., but split time growing up between Tijuana and Southern California. Bocanegra, who plays for Chivas' cross-city rivals Atlas, was born in Las Vegas, but moved to La Paz, Baja California, when he was just one month old.

Bocanegra roomed with Los Angeles-born Joe Corona when both were with the Mexican U-23s last year. However, Corona, who plays forward for Club Tijuana, has since linked up with the US.

Both Ponce and Bocanegra were integral parts of Mexico's Pan American Games gold medal-winning team last October.

MLS fans may also recognize the name Marco Fabián, who plays alongside Ponce at Guadalajara. The diminutive attacker scored two golazos against Barcelona in last summer's World Football Challenge, where the Rojiblancos defeated the Spanish giants 4-1.

Mexico's friendly against the US will serve as preparation for the CONCACAF pre-Olympic qualifying competition taking place in the United States between March 23 and April 2. El Tri are in Group B along with Honduras, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago.

Full Mexico U-23 roster vs. US U-23s:

Goalkeepers: Liborio Sánchez (Querétaro), Antonio Rodríguez (Veracruz)

Defenders: Israel Jiménez (Tigres UANL), Hiram Mier (Monterrey), Néstor Araujo (Cruz Azul), Hugo Rodríguez (Atlas), Diego Reyes (América), Darvin Chávez (Monterrey)

Midfielders: Miguel Ponce (Guadalajara), Jorge Enríquez (Guadalajara), Ricardo Bocanegra (Atlas), David Cabrera (Pumas UNAM), Héctor Herrera (Pachuca), Javier Cortés (Pumas UNAM), Javier Aquino (Cruz Azul)

Forwards: Néstor Calderón (Toluca), Marco Fabián (Guadalajara) Jerónimo Amione (Atlante UANL), Alan Pulido (Tigres), Jair Barraza (Atlas)