By Jay Mwamba
Mexico showed up in Chicago a day before their U.S. Cup opener against Ireland with players mostly from club side Pumas UNAM reinforced with only a few regular internationals.
There was no immediate explanation from the three-time defending champions, who also named former great Hugo Sanchez to handle the squad, under the supervision of national team head coach Manuel Lapuente.
But Team USA goalkeeper Kasey Keller surmised that the Mexicans were simply afraid of losing.
"I don’t think they [Mexico] wanted to send a national team that could possibly lose," Keller said. "That’s why I think they did this. They didn’t want to see a team lose 4-0 like they did here at RFK Stadium in 1995."
That 4-0 Mexican loss was to the U.S., and it remains their only defeat to date in the U.S. Cup.
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One of the non-UNAM players in the squad is Luis Hernandez, the blond forward who missed the Ireland game in order to make his Major Soccer League debut for the Los Angeles Galaxy last weekend. The Galaxy lost 2-0 to the New York/New Jersey MetroStars and Hernandez was expected to join the Mexican team in time for tonight’s meeting with South Africa in Dallas.
The other regular national team players in the Mexican squad are Sergio Bernal and Joaquin Beltran
The 22-man Mexican roster includes goalkeepers Sergio Bernal and Esdras Rangel; defenders Gilberto Jimenez, Oscar Mascorro, Joaquin Beltran, Christian Ramirez, Raul Alpizar and Carlos Carino; midfielders Isral Lopez, Gerrado Torrado, Luis Perez, Paulo Cesar Chavez, Antonio Sancho, Gerardo Galindo and Rodrigo Barragan, and forwards Horacio Sanchez, Luis Ignacio Gonzalez, Jesus Olalde, Daniel Osorno, Luis Hernandez, Ignacio Flores and Jaime Lozano.