Andres Guardado (pictured) talks to the press after Mexico arrived in Los Angeles on October 8, 2015, for its CONCACAF Cup showdown with the United States. (Photo: Mexsport)
LOS ANGELES – Though it remains unclear what role Andres Guardado will play in Mexico’s CONCACAF Cup encounter on Saturday against the United States, the talented midfielder took time to speak about teammate Jose Juan Vazquez missing out on the big occasion.
Vazquez was named to the original 23-man roster for a game that will decide CONCACAF’s representative in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. At the start of training camp, however, the 27-year-old defensive midfielder experienced pain in the back of his left thigh and right calf. He was eventually sent back to his club, Leon, to continue rehabilitation.
"El Gallito (Vazquez) is a very important player,” said Guardado, who is working back from an ankle injury against Manchester United in a UEFA Champions League game on September 15. “He demonstrated such in the World Cup, as in other games he has played with us, that he’s a footballer who gives us many things.
“Fortunately, today, there are players who can replace him and we believe there is a high level of individual talent in the national team. Now Tuca (Mexico’s head coach Ricardo Ferretti) will decide who will play, but in that regard we are calm. Given the losses that we have, there are several very willing to step in very well.”
The PSV Eindhoven star -- the only player in history to score in three different CONCACAF Gold Cup finals -- emphasized that the game against the U.S. has many meanings.
"The rivalry is already there, this isn’t to make it special,” Guardado finshed. “Simply, it's just the history between the two teams, the classics that already accentuate this conflict and nothing more. We know that we are playing for more than a pass to the Confederations Cup.
“There is pride. There is more than just playing when facing the United States and we're aware of that.”
In July, Guardado was the named the CONCACAF Gold Cup Golden Ball winner, following Mexico’s 3-1 win over Jamaica in the final.