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Rafa Marquez could be included in critical Mexican World Cup qualifiers ahead. No … seriously!

Sep 20, 2013, 5:00 PM EDT

New York Red Bulls Media Day Getty Images

Let’s run through a quick checklist of what we know for sure about Rafa Marquez, the former Red Bulls defender-midfielder who was seemingly well past his international playing days:

He has proven at times to be a selfish figure. It would not be a stretch to say he was at times a divisive figure, even for El Tri.

At 34 years old, he just doesn’t seem up for the running required of league matches, much less what’s needed at international level. At club level, he’s smart enough to be efficient with his movement, although lack of tracking from midfield was sometimes a huge issue as he closed his contentious days at Red Bull Arena.

He has reached the milepost 100th cap for Mexico, having done so back in March of 2011, so there’s nothing ceremonially to gain from adding the man for yet another match with El Tri.

So why would he be included in the team for two of the most important World Cup qualifiers Mexico has played in decades? (Seriously, no exaggeration there whatsoever. Mexico needs points from the remaining pair of qualifiers or it will probably miss its first World Cup since 1990.)

There is a chance, at least, that this is going to happen, that he will find his way onto Mexico’s next roster.

(MORE: The tantalizing situation involving the United States, Mexico and Panama)

Marquez has not been called for the massive matches ahead – not just yet, at least – but rather for next week’s training camp. So the news behind the news here is that the camp is just for Mexican-based players; It will be harder for all the camp participants to make the World Cup qualifier list once European-based men are folded in.

Still …

Marquez has played well recently for Leon, but this still looks like a stretch, a move of desperation from new manager Victor Manuel Vucetich, who will hold the special training camp next week as extra prep ahead of El Tri’s high-pressure matches next month.

Mexico hosts Panama on Oct. 11 at Estadio Azteca, where the team has yet to win in five previous World Cup qualifiers during the final round of CONCACAF action. The Vucetich’s team travels to Costa Rica for an Oct. 15 match.

Mexico is tied for fourth with Panama (but behind in goal difference) in the six-team CONCACAF final round.

Bottom line here: You really have to wonder if the massive issues for El Tri just get better or worse?

  1. tylerbetts - Sep 20, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    If he’s called in, I wonder what kind of odds Vegas would give on him being red carded?

    • mikeevergreen - Sep 20, 2013 at 5:48 PM

      Or what kind of odds Vegas will give oin whether he will move from the spot he starts at on the field. Statues don’t do so well playing team sports.

  2. hildezero - Sep 20, 2013 at 6:58 PM

    The soccer scene in Mexico is different from a few years ago especially a decade ago. Rafa played in MLS and was still being called up to the Mexican national team. He’s back in Mexico and now he’s being brought up again. Omar Bravo was in a similar situation awhile ago. Although while playing in MLS wasn’t called up, he started to get a couple of call ups when he went back to Mexico. Ever since his stint in MLS, Bravo has improved. The Mexican national team might still look at the MLS as a “minor league”, but they know it’s improving, they just don’t wanna accept it. Pumas UNAM has an American born player that the Mexican team wanted to get before US Soccer got him. He ended up choosing Mexico. Club Tijuana has a Mexican born player that has an American born mother. Mexico didn’t really payed attention to him until they heard US Soccer wanted him. You know it… He ended up choosing Mexico. Now Mexico wants to call up Luis Gil. Yes! You heard it. Luis freakin Gil! The point is, Mexico is now noticing in what’s going on in the American soccer scene, MLS and US Soccer. Mexico’s new coach is familiar with the MLS. He has coached against many MLS clubs for a few years and noticing what’s going on in USA. I would be a little surprised if Manuel Vucetich calls up Erik Torres while he’s playing in MLS. I wouldn’t be surprised if he calls him up when he returns to Mexico. If I were Torres, I would renew the loan contract with Chivas, because he’s having a good season with them, besides why go back to a club that’s facing relegation?

  3. overtherepermanently - Sep 20, 2013 at 8:21 PM


  4. mdac1012 - Sep 20, 2013 at 9:28 PM

    I admit I haven’t seen Rafa play this year but after watching him with the Red Bulls the last couple of years I can’t imagine he has anything left, certainly not on an international level.

  5. footballer4ever - Sep 21, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    I think this will be a good idea and in the meantime call up Cuactehmo (sp?) Blanco too. I want Panama to do the P-aztecaso more like Honduras did el H-aztecazo 😛

  6. braxtonrob - Sep 21, 2013 at 2:36 AM

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think you have to be able to RUN for more than 40 minutes to contribute at the international level. 😛

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