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Carlos Vela, Memo Ochoa returning to Mexican national team

September 25, 2013|By Kevin Baxter
  • Goalkeeper Memo Ochoa, above, and forward Carlos Vela are expected to rejoin the Mexican national team for a crucial World Cup qualifier.
Goalkeeper Memo Ochoa, above, and forward Carlos Vela are expected to rejoin… (Kenzo Tribouillard / Getty…)

Forward Carlos Vela and goalkeeper Memo Ochoa will be back with the Mexican national team for its must-win World Cup qualifier against Panama next month.

"Vela and Ochoa have answered positively," Mexico's new manager, Victor Manuel Vucetich, said Wednesday.

Vela and Ochoa left the national team over disagreements with former coach Jose Manuel "Chepo" de la Torre. But with the team fifth in the six-team table for regional World Cup qualifying with two matches to play, Vucetich made it a priority to try to lure the two star players home from Europe.

Mexico plays host to Panama on Oct. 11 and a loss there would be a serious blow to its efforts to qualify for next summer's tournament in Brazil. However with a win over Panama and a victory four days later at Costa Rica, Mexico could still finish in the top three in the CONCACAF table, earning an automatic invitation to the World Cup.

At the very least, a win over Panama would improve Mexico's chances of finishing fourth and advancing to a two-leg playoff with New Zealand for an at-large berth in Brazil.

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