Mexico's WCup roster takes shape without some familiar faces
With each passing week, it seems Mexico coach
In an eight-day stretch a few weeks back, Mexico played Bolivia and New Zealand as Aguirre observed 29 players between the two games. Next week, El Tri will play host to North Korea in Santos Laguna's new stadium, the grandiose Territorio Santos Modelo in Torreon.
Still, as Aguirre ponders the potential roster, there are some players who are being force-fed national-team time while others sit idly by, unable to do much to help their own cause, and still others who at one point were seemingly World Cup locks who should not be allowed anywhere near South Africa.
Aguirre included Dos Santos in the roster for Wednesday's game against the North Koreans, trying to give Dos Santos the kind of minutes necessary to prepare for the World Cup that
Come the World Cup, any player who steps on the field must be able to perform. Dos Santos is a great prospect and might be able to carry the team in 2014 or beyond, but to look for a player with virtually no first-team experience and nothing but friendlies under his belt to succeed at the World Cup is perhaps expecting too much.
His lack of first-team action, though, did not keep Aguirre from calling up Castillo for qualifying matches last year, but thus far the coach has avoided Castillo altogether in 2010. He was a notable absence from the European contingent a week ago, and was not in the mix for North Korea.
Not playing regularly has likely led to a loss of match fitness, and Aguirre needs players at their best when the squad comes together in May. Had Castillo's club career gone in a different and more beneficial path, perhaps he would be a cinch to make the team, but Aguirre needs to keep Castillo away.
Another former starter and important player is Santos'
Sanchez may be far from his 2006 form, but he would not be in awe of the atmosphere if given an opportunity.
While the World Cup chances of Pardo and Sanchez might seem hopeless, Aguirre did throw a bone to a player who was also seemingly on the outs.
And that's all Pardo and Sanchez are asking for: an opportunity.