The Mexico squad for upcoming World Cup qualifiers was announced on Thursday and contained plenty of star power, with news that Jesus "Tecatito" Corona was recalled. However, there were still some in-form players around Liga MX who might feel aggrieved at missing out.
So this week's talking point is simple: who deserved a call-up but didn't get one?
Paul Aguilar, DF, Club America
Club America right-back Paul Aguilar was still coming back from an ACL tear when the Confederations Cup and Gold Cup squads were announced in the summer. But this 2017 Apertura season, the 31-year-old has proven he should still be considered for Mexico especially with scarce options in his position.
Instead, Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio will use one of Edson Alvarez, Diego Reyes -- both center-backs for their clubs -- or even midfielder Jesus Duenas in that position. That should be no surprise, given Osorio's tendency towards full-backs that are physical and good in the air, but the manager usually fields one more attacking full-back and another who tucks inside to make a line of three in possession.
The player charging forward into a de facto midfield role is normally Miguel Layun from the left. But with Layun omitted from this squad due to a mutual agreement with Osorio, there is only really Jesus Gallardo in the mix who is capable of playing an attacking full-back role and the Pumas player is still getting used to featuring as a left-back.
Aside from any arguments on the field, Aguilar is a genuine character off it. His jovial nature and pranks make him a little bit unique, slightly unpredictable but still likeable and necessary, especially in long camps. Aguilar can still play a role for Mexico and deserves another chance before the World Cup. -- Tom Marshall
Rodolfo Pizarro, MF, Chivas
Mexico's Gold Cup participation might not have been a success. The team rarely showed glimpses of dominance or a full understanding of what the manager wanted from them. There were multiple hiccups, and Mexico's participation in the Gold Cup was ended in the semifinals against Jamaica. Although nine players who were part of that Gold Cup team are in this current Mexico roster, the absence of Rodolfo Pizarro generates attention.
It's true that Chivas' current state is rather surprising considering that after six leagues games played, they still haven't won a single one, but Pizarro has been their most important attacking threat in the last weeks. Pizarro, at 23 years old, is still at the early stages of what will definitely be a successful career. Whenever he's at the best of his playing abilities, the league both feels and notices it.
In the current squad, Pizarro could have taken Giovani dos Santos' place. Since El Tri's win over the U.S. men's national team in Columbus, Ohio, Giovani has only picked up one assist and zero goals. The assist came in a friendly against Iceland in Las Vegas and his participation in the recent Confederations Cup wasn't mesmerizing either. The same can be said about Pizarro's performance in the Gold Cup, but he still managed to get a goal in the win over Honduras in the quarterfinals.
After giving great performances in the past few months with Chivas, especially the ones he gave in the last Liguilla, Pizarro deserves a shot to train and be among Mexico's best players. The possibilities of seeing him excel are huge because national teamers like Carlos Vela, Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, Hirving "Chucky" Lozano and Jesus "Tecatito" Corona are all players that could help mentor him into becoming a more dangerous attacker. There are few Mexico internationals currently standing out in Liga MX but Pizarro is one of them. He deserved to be on this current roster. -- Nayib Moran
Victor Guzman, MF, Pachuca
The Pachuca midfielder has been absolutely stunning in his side's past two games, scoring four goals. Though the run of form is scintillating and noteworthy, it comes as part of a consistent growth pattern from the former Chivas youth team product. Guzman started in defense for Pachuca, gradually moving up the same way Jurgen Damm and Rodolfo Pizarro once did for Los Tuzos.
Guzman will need to maintain his level of play to garner consideration for El Tri but with World Cup qualification nearly wrapped up, it would have been nice to see Osorio use his usual rotation policy in order to see new faces. Though the Gold Cup experiment was largely based on this concept and failed entirely, the stakes are much lower this time. A win against Panama sees Mexico in Russia 2018, and the following game in Costa Rica, will likely see a B Team facing Los Ticos, who are fighting for their lives in the Hexagonal.
Pairing Guzman in a midfield unit with experienced players such as Gio dos Santos and Vela would have been interesting, to say the least. Alas, Guzman will be motivated to keep pushing and garner Osorio's favor in the coming months as he fights for consideration. -- Eric Gomez