Mexico seek Gold Cup salvation

MEXICO CITY - Mexico players are united in their belief that the team must win next month's Gold Cup in the U.S. to win back the respect of fans after coach Javier Aguirre named his 23-man squad for the tournament on Sunday.

Aguirre's squad for friendlies in the U.S. against Venezuela on June 24 and Guatemala four days later, as well as the July 3-26 Gold Cup has a strong local feel with only England-based Carlos Vela and Giovani dos Santos not playing for Mexican clubs.

"It's our obligation, without doubt, to think of winning it (the Gold Cup) to recover the respect and confidence of the people, so they believe again in the national team," defender Ismael Rodriguez told a news conference.

Mexico's poor results in the World Cup qualifiers in the region cost Sven-Goran Eriksson the coach's job in April. They are fourth of the six teams in the final CONCACAF group with six points, behind Costa Rica (12), the U.S. (10) and Honduras (7).

The top three go through to the 2010 finals in South Africa, while the fourth-placed team plays off for another berth against the team finishing fifth in the South American group.

The Mexicans play Nicaragua, Panama and Guadeloupe in Group Three of the 12-nation Gold Cup.


Goalkeepers: Oscar Perez (Tigres UANL), Guillermo Ochoa (America), Jose de Jesus Corona (Tecos UAG)

Defenders: Efrain Juarez (Pumas UNAM), Jose Antonio Castro (UANL), Jonny Magallon (Guadalajara), Edgar Duenas (Toluca), Juan Carlos Valenzuela (America), Ismael Rodriguez (America), Fausto Pinto (Cruz Azul)

Midfielders: Israel Martinez (San Luis), Gerardo Torrado (Cruz Azul), Israel Castro (UNAM), Luis Miguel Noriega (Puebla), Giovani Dos Santos (Tottenham Hotspur)

Forwards: Alberto Medina (Guadalajara), Pablo Barrera (Pumas), Carlos Esquivel (Toluca), Jose Maria Cardenas (Pachuca), Carlos Vela (Arsenal), Omar Arellano (Guadalajara), Omar Bravo (UANL), Miguel Sabah (Morelia).