Tijuana Xolos: Antonio Rodriguez gets called up to Mexico national team

Antonio Rodriguez Xolos
Credit: Xolos

This Thursday, March 2, 2023, Mexico national team manager Diego Cocca released his 34-man squad list for the upcoming CONCACAF Nations League matches against Suriname and Jamaica on March 23 and 26. Among the three goalkeepers selected by the Argentine manager was Club Tijuana’s Antonio Rodriguez.

Guillermo Ochoa and Carlos Acevedo are the other two goalkeepers that were called up by Cocca as the three may receive playing time with the manager still looking for his ideal starting lineup. Former Xolos’ players also called up to El Tri  include Luis Chavez, Henry Martin and Marcel Ruiz.

This was Rodriguez’s first call-up to the Mexico national senior team as he has previously participated with El Tri at the U-17, U-20 and U-23 level. Toño was part of one of Mexico’s best achievements as he was on the 2012 Olympic team that earned a gold medal. Rodriguez has a decorated career with Mexico’s youth teams as he was part of rosters that won the 2011 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, the 2011 PanAmerican games and the 2012 Toulon Tournament along with the gold medal in 2012.

Toño received the opportunity to be Club Tijuana’s starter this season as Jonathan Orozco has been kept on the sidelines all year long by an injury. Rodriguez has made the most of this opportunity as he had been a key player for the Xolitzcuintles even before the arrival of Miguel Herrera.

The 30-year-old shot-stopper has kept three clean sheets this season, which is very impressive considering that Tijuana’s backline has struggled at certain points in the campaign. Rodriguez’s last game was outstanding as he kept a cleansheet, making five saves, against current Liga MX champions Pachuca. Before that match, he allowed two goals but also made five saves and kept Xolos in the game against Club America on the road.

The Gudalajara native has been a journeyman playing with six different Liga MX teams, but he had made a positive impact on several of these teams. Jonathan Orozco is starting to come back from his injury, but it will be difficult to keep Rodriguez off the starting 11 with the way he has been playing.

Club Tijuana’s next game will be at home as Xolos host Atlas at the Estadio Caliente this Friday, March 3, 2023. Atlas is currently in 15th place with just eight points as this is a very winnable game for Toño Rodriguez and company. The Mexican shot-stopper will have the motivation of his Mexico call-up and the motivation to keep his starting role with Jonathan Orozco almost coming back from injury.

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