PHOENIX -- A new chapter in the soccer rivalry between the U.S. and Mexico was written Monday when Mexican club Puebla refused to release defenders DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco for Wednesday’s U.S. national team friendly with Mexico in Phoenix.
Puebla, which doesn't play again until Saturday, is last in the Liga MX table and is fighting to avoid relegation. Because Wednesday’s match does not fall on a FIFA international date, teams do not have to release players for national team games. But Puebla is the only club in either Major League Soccer or the Liga MX that refused to grant releases.
None of Puebla’s players were called up for the Mexican team.
The match is the final one for the U.S. team before preliminary World Cup rosters are due in May.
“We're very disappointed in the decision by Puebla,” U.S. Coach Juergen Klinsmann said Monday 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.”
Klinsmann said neither player will be replaced on the U.S. roster.