Mexican Club Refuses to Let U.S. Soccer Stars Play Against Mexico
U.S. men's soccer player Michael Orozco scored the goal that gave the United States its first win on Mexican soil in the famed Azteca Stadium for the first time in 75 years in 2012.
Two years later, a Mexican soccer team is not allowing him and U.S. men's national team player and teammate DaMarcus Beasley to play in Wednesday's friendly between the two nations in Phoenix, Arizona.
Beasley said he was frustrated that his Mexican team is not releasing him for the game.
“We understand the situation with Puebla—we’re in a relegation battle to stay up in La Liga for next season—but at the same time I’ve always been proud to be called into the national team. Was I disappointed? Yeah,” Beasley told SI.com. “It’s right before a World Cup when time is running out for players, myself included, so I definitely wanted to be a part of this game."
Because the "U.S.-Mexico game isn’t taking place on an official friendly date in the FIFA calendar," soccer clubs "are not required to release their players for the game." But "all MLS teams and most Liga MX clubs have done so" except for Puebla, which is struggling in a relegation fight. Beasley said "he would have had no problem playing in Wednesday’s U.S. game and then being ready for another game three days later," which is standard for most international players.
"We are very disappointed in the decision by Puebla," U.S. men's soccer coach Jurgen Klinsmann said in a statement. "When the match was scheduled, it was with the spirit that both teams would have access to their domestic-based players for what is a very important game for those competing for spots in the World Cup. Both MLS and most clubs in Liga MX honored that idea. While we understand their position, it's a huge opportunity lost for DaMarcus and Michael and doesn't contribute to the continuation of this respected rivalry."