Mexico dealing with injuries before friendly at Soldier Field
BY BRIAN SANDALOW Staff Reporter June 2, 2014 11:38PM
Mexico's Luis Montes screams after injuring his right leg in the first half of a friendly soccer match against Ecuador in Arlington, Texas, Saturday, May 31, 2014. (AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News, Brad Loper) MANDATORY CREDIT; NO SALES; MAGAZINES OUT; TV OUT; INTERNET USE BY AP MEMBERS ONLY
The Mexican national team’s World Cup tuneup Tuesday at Soldier Field against Bosnia and Herzegovina is an important one. After Tuesday, Mexico has just one more game before leaving for Brazil, and it still has plenty of lineup and roster questions to answer.
But based on what happened in Mexico’s previous friendly, Tuesday also could be dangerous.
During a 3-1 victory Saturday over Ecuador in Arlington, Texas, Mexico midfielder Luis Montes suffered a broken right leg just two minutes after scoring. He has been replaced on the roster by Javier Aquino, who was not in Chicago for El Tri’s training session at Soldier Field.
“We’ve been obligated to change the lineup. There’s been a few injuries, a few setbacks,” coach Miguel Herrera said through a translator. “We’re going to try different people, different players.”
That isn’t the only injury issue for Mexico, which opens World Cup play June 13 against Cameroon. Captain Rafa Marquez was taken out at halftime Saturday with an injured right foot, though it isn’t expected to keep the veteran off the plane to Brazil.
Still, it underscores the danger of friendlies. Preparation for the World Cup is crucial, but so is getting to the tournament healthy.
“[Saturday] was a very hard moment for us and for the team because obviously you never want to wish that to a teammate, to a person in any job to be [injured],” forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez said. “It was a very difficult moment. We went after the game to see [Montes], and he was trying to be strong.”
Probably of lesser concern to El Tri is its history in Chicago with Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is headed to its first World Cup. Two years ago, Mexico beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 2-1, with Hernandez scoring the winner in second-half injury time.
But that game was just a friendly after the long European season, and it wasn’t leading up to a major competition. The friendly Tuesday is different, and another injury could mean big problems.
At least for now, Mexico’s mindset hasn’t been affected too much.
“Right now the team is good [emotionally],” said Marquez, whose status for Tuesday hasn’t been determined. “We were sad in the last day, but right now we are focused on the World Cup.”