Pumas youth players returned to the Mexican National Team scene in a big way on Friday with four players getting the call to the under-20 side that will face off against the MLS Homegrown Team in the league’s All-Star festivities.
Defender Pablo Jaquez, midfielders Jorge Escamilla and Andres Iniestra, and striker Omar Islas all earned a spot on head coach Mario Arteaga’s roster.
The Mexico U-20 squad will face a team made up of top young talent in the United States’ league that will be coached by US soccer legend Landon Donovan. The game takes place on Wednesday, July 27, a day before the MLS All-Stars take on Arsenal in San Jose, CA. The MLS Homegrown Game began in 2014 and is the league’s showcase of young players that developed through the MLS club academy systems.
In the previous two matches, the MLS Homegrown Team has played to a scoreless draw with Portland Timbers U-23s and a 1-1 draw with Club America U-20s, which ended in the Aguilas winning on penalty kicks.
For the first time in the series’ short history, the match will be broadcast live on national television (Univision Deportes Network). For more information on the match, plus both team’s full rosters, click here.
As for the four Pumas players, two are returning to the national team, while two are getting their first shot with Mexico.
Pablo Jaquez, 20, Defender – Jaquez has spent time with the Mexico U-18 and U-20 teams in the past, most recently in the 2015 U-20 Championship that earned Mexico a spot in the 2015 U-20 World Cup. In the 2016 Clausura, he played in 10 games, scoring one goal with the Pumas U-20 team.
Andres Iniestra, 20, Midfielder – this is Iniestra’s first call to the Mexican National Team. He spent the last three tournaments with Pumas Segunda Division affiliate, Pumas Premier, where he helped the team win the 2016 Clausura title, playing in 12 games and scoring one goal.
Jorge Escamilla, 20, Midfielder – Escamilla has joined Mexico youth camps in the past, both at the U-18 and U-20 levels, but has yet to play in an official match. The younger brother of Kevin Escamilla is on the first team roster, but has yet to make his Liga MX debut. He played in 16 games with Pumas U-20s, scoring one goal in the 2016 Clausura.
Omar Islas, 20, Forward – Islas is the only player of the four to have made his Liga MX debut, but has found it difficult to secure regularity with the first team. It’s the young striker’s first call to the Mexican National Team. In the 2016 Clausura, he scored three goals in 15 games with Pumas U-20s.
Here is the full Mexico roster, which features six players from Chivas, and four from Pachuca and Pumas.
What are your thoughts on the four Pumas players that made the squad? Leave your comments below!