LA Galaxy star Giovani dos Santos thrilled to be back in Mexico squad for CONCACAF Cup

Dos Santos said he greatly appreciates the rivalry with the United States. USA v. Mexico, Sat, Oct 10, 6:30 PST at the Rose Bowl, Pasadena

CARSON, Calif. – Giovani dos Santos’ return to the Mexican national team fold, after his controversial omission for friendlies in early September, wasn’t much of a surprise to anybody, least of all the LA Galaxy star.

Dos Santos, included in interim manager Ricardo Ferretti’s 23-man roster for next weekend’s CONCACAF Cup showdown at the Rose Bowl against the United States, said he was proud and delighted to be back with the Tricolores.

“I think I deserved my call, because I think I’ve been doing very good on [the Galaxy],” he said Friday following LA’s final StubHub Center training session before heading north for Sunday’s Western Conference clash at Seattle. “I’m very happy, and I’m going to continue working hard, working hard.”

Dos Santos, who has 17 goals in 90 appearances and has played in two World Cups for Mexico since debuting in 2007, was left off Ferretti’s roster – along with his brother, Jonathan, and veteran goalkeeper Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa – for draws against Trinidad and Tobago in Sandy, Utah, and against Argentina in Arlington, Texas, in early September.

Ferretti said there was “no disciplinary reason” for their omissions, but it was widely believed that the decisions were meant as punishment for posts on Twitter in support of former Mexico manager Miguel Herrera, who was dismissed after throwing a punch at a TV commentator the day after Mexico’s triumph in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final in July.

Jonathan dos Santos is also in Ferretti’s team for the Oct. 10 game, which will determine the region’s representative in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia, but Ochoa was not on the list.

Dos Santos set on securing spot in Confed Cup: “Always a dream come true”. Giovani has looked good for LA since making his club debut Aug. 6, with four goals and six assists in nine competitive appearances. He’s had a goal or assist, or both, in all but three games he’s played – the three-game goalless skid against San Jose, Montreal and Real Salt Lake – and sparked the Galaxy’s 3-2 victory last weekend over FC Dallas with a fine goal in the 11th minute before setting up Robbie Keane for another tally three minutes later.

Dos Santos said he greatly appreciates the rivalry with the United States.

“I have no hate [for the US],” he said in Spanish. “It’s a great rivalry, and I have great respect. I think they are two great national teams that have been growing throughout the years. Historically, they are the biggest national teams in the region and that’s why there’s a big rivalry.”

One of the signature moments in dos Santos’ career was the brilliant goal he scored, a lob to the upper-left corner after a mazy run to find space on the right edge of the US box, in Mexico’s victory over the Yanks in the 2011 Gold Cup final.

This is the highest-profile meeting between the nations since that game, and he demurred when asked to compare the encounters.

“They’re always different games,” dos Santos said. “We know there’s a great rivalry between Mexico and the US, and we know it will be a complicated game.”

Mexico will count on a partisan crowd at the Rose Bowl.

“Of course, it’s a game with a lot of passion and where fans really feel it, so they’re all impatient for the day to come,” dos Santos said. “Surely, it will be a game watched by the whole world.”

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