HOUSTON - At one point they played together on the backline for Chivas de Guadalajara. It won't be long before they are reunited on the soccer field.
Carlos Salcido, who has spent the last five years playing in Europe, will be reunited with former teammate Hector Reynoso after Mexico was allowed to replace its five suspended players that tested positive for doping.
"It gives me joy, to tell you the truth because he is a great friend," Salcido said after Mexico's morning training session at the Houston Texans' practice facility across the street from Reliant Stadium. "It's been a while since I've seen him. It's always a good thing to practice or play with him."
Reynoso is one of three players that arrived in Houston Tuesday night to replace three of the suspended players at the Gold Cup. Paul Aguilar and Hiram Mier also joined Mexico for the remainder of the Gold Cup.
Mexico suspended Guillermo Ochoa, Francisco Rodriguez, Antonio Naelson, Christian Bermudez and Edgar Duenas earlier this month after they all tested for a banned substance.
Goalkeeper Luis Mitchell and defender Marco Fabian were also called in the group of replacements but will come to the Gold Cup only in case of an emergency. They flew with Mexico's under-22 side to Colombia in preparation for the Copa America next month.
The three players coming to the Gold Cup are defenders. Salcido is also a defender. He said the additions fortify the backline.
Coach Jose Manuel de la Torre already has a base defensive line with Salcido, Hector Moreno, Rafael Marquez and Efrain Juarez. The three additional defenders will probably be reserves for the remainder of the tournament. They still could compete for a starting spot but their chances are slim. Salcido said he is fine either way.
"There's no pressure," Salcido said. "They are all welcomed. We are in a tournament in which we all want to raise the cup."
Mexico plays Honduras in the second of two semifinals Wednesday.
Salcido might not see Reynoso in the starting lineup, but he said he is glad his friend is getting a chance with the national team. This is Reynoso's first call up with the senior side.
The rest of the team appeared to welcome the news of the reinforcements.
At least that's how Moreno sees it.
"I welcome them. They're people who come help the team and to strengthen the team more than it was" Moreno said. "Well, we always have to welcome all the parts so everybody can feel comfortable."
Even striker Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez had something to say about the topic. Hernandez also played with Chivas Guadalajara before signing with England's Manchester United last summer.
"They're going to come and they're going to bring something to the team," Chicharito said. "Everything that comes to add is going to be welcomed on this team. like everything in life we have you always have to look at it positively."
Dempsey not concerned about Mexico's replacements
U.S. midfielder Clint Dempsey isn't any more concerned about Mexico getting replacement players.
"It doesn't bother us at all," Dempsey said as he spoke during a semi-news conference at the U.S. team's hotel. "We have enough quality in our side that we can get the job done. You want them to be their best team and us to have our best team because that's what it's all about, the competition. That's something we're not even thinking about."
Dempsey said the United States is not looking past Panama, the team they'll face Wednesday, but a Gold Cup final against Mexico could be an interesting affair.
"It will be good. Obviously they're a top side. It would be good for the fans to watch that game if it happens," Dempsey said "For that to happen, both of us have to win our next games. You don't want to talk too much about that because we still have important game (Wednesday)."
Homecoming for Dempsey
Dempsey, a Texas native, said he has received numerous requests for tickets for Wednesday's game. The Fulham midfielder is from Nacogdoches, Texas, a small town in the Eastern part of the state. He said he will have 30 to 35 friends and family members in the seats on game day.
Suarez not afraid
Honduras coach Luis Fernando Suarez said he is not afraid of Mexico. He is preparing his team so it is not overwhelmed by competing against players who are idolized in Latin America.
Honduras does not export players to European clubs the same way as Mexico, but Suarez said his team has the confidence to challenge El Tri, which has outscored its opponents 16-2 in four matches.
"I used to be afraid of death maybe 30 to 40 years ago," Suarez said after an evening Honduras training session Wednesday. "Now, I am not even afraid of death. To die, you must live. You have to play soccer. No, I am not afraid."