Jose Manuel "Chepo" de la Torre has named his squad to take on Honduras and the United States in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers and it doesn't include Carlos Vela or Guillermo "Memo" Ochoa. Vela's banishment from El Tri (or his continued disinterest in playing for his country, depending on whose side you're on) keeps him off the team, while Memo Ochoa told Chepo he only wanted to be on the team if he would start so he is staying home while Jesus Corona gets the nod between the sticks again.
Christian "Chaco" Gimenez and Damian Alvarez are both back on the team after playing in a friendly against Ivory Coast earlier this week, reigniting the debate about whether naturalized players should be called into El Tri. Especially if Mexico struggles against Honduras and the U.S., you can bet that Chepo will find himself under fire for calling the pair in.
Outside of the two notable absences, and the two controversial inclusions, Mexico's team is rather straightforward.
Chepo is sticking with Corona in goal and has a crop of defenders he is familiar with. All of them have played regularly for Mexico in the last couple years and while he will have to choose whether Jorge Torres Nilo or Carlos Salcido starts at left back, as well as sorting between his trio of centerbacks, whoever Chepo chooses will be familiar faces.
The midfield and forwards give Chepo a slew of decisions as well, with Fernando Arce coming on strong and possibly taking one starting spot, possibly from Jesus Zavala, while old stalwart Gerardo Torrado is still a Chepo favorite. Hector Herrera is in the team as well, but with Arce, Torrado, Zavala and Chaco also there, it's tough to see him finding a way into the starting lineup.
Whether Chepo continues to stick with the two-man frontline of Oribe Peralta and Javier Hernandez bears watching. The two haven't played well together, but Chepo still likes the two. He could opt to put them in a three-man front, with Giovani dos Santos, Andres Guardado or Angel Reyna also out there, while Raul Jimenez, Javier Aquino and Alvarez provide bench options.
As simple as picking this roster may seem for Chepo, choosing who to play is anything but. Chepo better get it right, though, because they are in third place and Honduras and Panama are right on their heels. If they do not take all three points at the Azteca on September 6 -- and they haven't won at the Azteca in the Hex -- then they have to head to the U.S. four days later needing a win or they will be on the outside of the automatic qualifying spots heading into October.
Defenders: Severo Meza (Monterrey), Hiram Mier (Monterrey), Francisco Rodriguez (America), Diego Reyes (Porto), Hector Moreno (Espanyol), Carlos Salcido (Tigres), Jorge Torres Nilo (Tigres)
Midfielders: Jesus Zavala (Monterrey), Gerardo Torrado (Cruz Azul), Hector Herrera (Porto), Christian Gimenez (Cruz Azul), Fernando Arce (Tijuana), Andres Guardado (Valencia)
Forwards: Giovani Dos Santos (Villarreal), Javier Aquino (Villarreal), Angel Reyna (Veracruz), Damian Alvarez (Tigres), Oribe Peralta (Santos), Javier Hernandez (Manchester United), Raul Jimenez (America)