New York Red Bulls star Rafa Márquez helms a list of 23 players called by Mexico national coach José Manuel de la Torre on Friday for next month's CONCACAF Gold Cup.
The veteran center back, who recently became the eighth player for Mexico to reach 100 caps, is sure to captain a loaded team, which will include names such as Manchester United’s Javier "Chicharito" Hernández, Deportivo La Coruña’s Andrés Guardado, Racing Santander's Giovani dos Santos and five other European-based players.
Márquez will likely be used in midfield for El Tri despite having spent every minute of 2011 for New York in defense.
As expected, Márquez survived the cut from a preliminary list de la Torre gave in April. The Red Bulls defender is the only MLS representative on El Tri's list, as Sporting Kansas City striker Omar Bravo wasn't summoned by the Mexico coach. Fourteen of the 23 play in Mexico's Primera División, including four from CONCACAF Champions League winners Monterrey.
Most of the players are expected to report to the team’s training camp in Mexico City on Sunday. Márquez, however, will join Mexico on May 26, two days prior to their tune-up match against Ecuador on Seattle's Qwest Field. Márquez is also expected to participate in El Tri's June 1 matchup against New Zealand at INVESCO Field in Denver.
The Gold Cup runs from June 5-25, but Mexico’s participation could end as soon as June 12 if they don’t make it out of Group A, which they share with Costa Rica, El Salvador and Cuba.
Should El Tri win the Gold Cup, they would represent CONCACAF in the 2013 Confederations Cup expected to be held from June 16-30 in Brazil.
FULL MEXICAN NATIONAL TEAM ROSTER:
Goalkeepers: Jesús Corona (Cruz Azul, Mexico), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca, Mexico), Guillermo Ochoa (Club América, Mexico).
Defenders: Ricardo Osorio (Monterrey, Mexico), Edgar Dueñas (Toluca, Mexico), Jorge Torres Nilo (Tigres UANL, Mexico), Rafa Márquez (New York Red Bulls), Francisco Javier Rodríguez (PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands), Héctor Moreno (AZ Alkmaar, Netherlands), Carlos Salcido (Fulham, England).
Midfielders: Gerardo Torrado (Cruz Azul, Mexico), Israel Castro (Pumas UNAM , Mexico), Luis Ernesto Pérez (Monterrey, Mexico), Jesús Zavala (Monterrey, Mexico), Antonio Naelson Sinha (Toluca, Mexico), Ángel Reyna (Club América, Mexico), Efraín Juárez (Celtic, Scotland), Andrés Guardado (Deportivo La Coruña, Spain).
Forwards: Aldo de Nigris (Monterrey, Mexico), Giovani dos Santos (Racing Santander, Spain), Javier Hernández (Manchester United, England), Pablo Barrera (West Ham United, England), Elías Hernández (Morelia, Mexico).