Mexican soccer fans had their eyes on Germany and Miami on Tuesday.
The news from Germany was bad, as star Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez was taken off the field after injuring his back. Chicharito had scored a goal for Bayer Leverkusen on a penalty kick — his 22nd goal in 26 games — but went down shortly after in the German Cup game against Werder Bremen.
Meanwhile, at Marlins Park, the Mexican national team — minus its Europe-based stars — held a training session in preparation for Wednesday’s 8 p.m. friendly against Senegal. Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio, a Colombian who took over the team three months ago, is using the game to evaluate young players for upcoming World Cup qualifying matches.
Osorio said “El Tri,” as the Mexican team is nicknamed, has embraced him and he is feeling more familiar with the players every day. They have won both games so far under Osorio — 3-0 over El Salvador and 2-0 over Honduras.
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“I am becoming very familiar with Mexican soccer and Mexican life and I am enjoying the journey,” he said. “I feel the players are very receptive to my ideas and what we have implemented so far… The players here have a chance to prove themselves in a game setting. Some of these players will have extraordinary futures. Our main goal with this game is to see the players interact with each other on the field, see which rotations and pairings work best.”
One of those young players hoping to impress the coaches is 22-year-old defender Carlos Salcedo, who played for Real Salt Lake in Major League Soccer before signing with Guadalajara this season. He has spent the past few years on the Under-21 and Under-23 team, and is “honored” to be selected for this game.
“It is every player’s dream to make the national team, and this is a golden opportunity for me, so I hope to take advantage,” he said.
Osorio is unsure what to expect from Senegal because he has not been able to watch tape of their young players. He said he would have preferred to play a more well-known opponent “like Colombia,” but he still expects a good test for his team and hopes to entertain the crowd, expected to be between 15,000 and 20,000.
Tickets are on sale at the Marlins box office. The crowd is expected to be between 15,000 and 20,000.