Mexico appear set to face the United States without five key contributors, as head coach Juan Carlos Osorio stated on Friday that Miguel Layun, Andres Guardado and Rafael Marquez are not expected to play in Sunday’s World Cup qualifier (8:30 pm ET | FS1, Univision, UDN in United States), joining Nestor Araujo and Jesus "Tecatito" Corona on the sidelines.
Speaking to Azteca Deportes, Osorio said that the veteran trio will be kept out of the Hexagonal clash at Estadio Azteca due to injuries. But it appears to be a precautionary measure, with all three set to travel to Russia for the Confederations Cup with an eye towards taking part in that tournament, which kicks off for El Tri on Sunday, June 18 with a showdown against Portugal in Kazan.
“The medical plan for Sunday is to do without them and then start training with them in the group on Monday or Tuesday in Russia,” said Osorio. Mexico and the US agreed to move up the date of this qualifier in order to allow El Tri more preparation time for the FIFA event, where they will also face New Zealand (June 21) and Russia (June 24) in Group A play.
The national team's Twitter account made it official on Saturday evening:
"Los jugadores que no estarán disponibles mañana por cuestión médica: Márquez, Araujo, Guardado y Layún": J. C. Osorio#ElFutbolEsNuestro— Selección Nacional (@miseleccionmx) June 10, 2017
All players will be familiar to most USMNT fans, particularly Marquez, the longtime El Tri captain who has played the villain in many of the border rivals’ meetings over the past two decades.
Layun scored the opening goal in Mexico’s stunning 2-1 Hexagonal win over the US in Columbus, Ohio in November, then assisted on Marquez’s game-winner. An on-again-off-again MLS transfer target, Guardado is one of El Tri’s most trusted midfielders, and scored a memorable goal in the 2015 Gold Cup final victory over Jamaica in Philadelphia.
Former Real Salt Lake defender Salcedo, who just finished a season at Italian side Fiorentina on loan from Chivas Guadalajara, was initially ruled out for the USMNT match, having sustained an injury in Thursday’s 3-0 qualifying victory over Honduras, but a report from ESPN FC on Saturday said he will in fact be available for the showdown against the US.
And Corona was ruled out of both Sunday's qualifier and the Confederations Cup due to a family issue, according to the ESPN FC report.