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Chicharito Scores -Again! Vela to West Brom, Barrera Starts for West Ham

A weekly recap of how Mexican internationals fared over the weekend.

Javier "Chicharito" Hernández

Whether he comes off the bench or starts, Mexican international Javier Hernández continues to pull off late-match heroics for Manchester United.

As a second-half substitute Tuesday, Chicharito tallied the equalizing goal in what turned into a 3-2 comeback victory over Blackpool in English Premier League action.

Getting a rare start Saturday, Hernández connected in the 75th minute to lift United to a 2-1 come-from-behind triumph over Southampton in the fourth round of the English F.A. Cup.

Not bad, not bad at all.

Chicharito's performance this season has begun a clamor for manager Sir Alex Ferguson to start the Mexican over English international Wayne Rooney. In a limited role, the 22-year-old Hernández has found the back of the net 10 times, six away from home and six as a substitute.

"His pace and timing of the runs is fantastic," Ferguson said after the Blackpool encounter. "He's so good at that. He could have scored four goals. He's made a tremendous impact."

One was enough in each game.

Against Blackpool, Hernández replaced Rooney in the 66th minute. Only seven minutes later, he was celebrating his equalizing score. Minutes after he was denied by goalkeeper Richard Kingson, Chicharito did not miss, beating the offside trap and putting home Ryan Giggs' through-ball past the Ghana native. Bulgarian Dimitar Berbatov struck for his second goal of the match, the game-winner in the 87th minute.

“I could have had a hat-trick," Hernández was quoted by the Manchester Evening News. "But I always say the most important thing is that the team wins and we get the three points. It doesn’t matter who scores. We just want the championship."

On Saturday, Michael Owen tied it up in the 65th minute before Chicharito struck for the game-winner 10 minutes later, latching onto a Giggs feed to put his shot just inside the post.

"He's only had one chance and he's scored - one chance, one goal is a tremendous ratio," Ferguson told MUTV. "He has great feet in and around the box and gets his shots away quickly with hardly any backlift.

"His workrate is fantastic and he's always on the move. We probably didn't find enough space for him at times, but you also have to give Southampton a bit of credit too. Their defenders read things well."

Carlos Vela

Perhaps now the talented Vela will get some playing time. Arsenal loaned the 21-year-old to West Bromwich Albion for the rest of the EPL season. The striker had made only 13 appearances for the EPL side this season. He scored three goals, his last two against Braga in September. Vela has scored nine goals in 33 matches for the Mexican National Team.

West Brom manager Roberto Di Matteo said that Vela "has great technical ability and pace and we're hoping he can make a big impact during the remainder of the season. There's no doubt that Carlos has the potential to become a great player and it will hopefully be a win-win situation, where we help him by giving him game time in the Premier League while he helps us achieve our goal."

Vela cannot play against Arsenal when the two teams tangle on March 19.

Carlos Salcido

Salcido played the entire way and had a solid game at left fullback in Fulham's 4-0 rout of Tottenham in the F.A. Cup. He did not figure in the scoring and committed two fouls.

Juan Cacho

Cacho, a forward, celebrated his recall to the Mexican National Team by scoring in UNAM Pumas' 3-2 home victory over defending champion Monterrey in the fourth round of the Mexican Clausura. Cacho connected for the first goal of the match in the 26th minute. He has five goals in four games.

Giovani dos Santos

The forward did not dress for Tottenham Hotpsur in its 4-0 loss to Fulham.

Héctor Moreno

Moreno, a defender, played the full 90 minutes in Alkmaar Zaanstreek's 6-1 rout of VVV-Venlo in the Dutch First Division. He did not score.

Efraín Juárez

The midfielder came on as a 61st-minute sub for Celtic in its 4-1 trouncing of Aberdeen in the semifinals of the Co-operative Insurance Cup. Juárez replaced defender Thomas Rogne, who tallied in the 21st minute.

Pablo Barrera

Barrera started and finished West Ham's 3-2 win over Nottingham Forest in the F.A. Cup as Victor Obinna registered a hat-trick. The Mexican did not directly figure in the scoring, but he had an active game on the left and right flanks.

Andrés Guardado

Guardado suffered a relapse in his leg muscle injury and will be sidelined another three weeks. Guardado said he had felt strange sensations during warm-ups. He did not play in Deportivo Coruna's 3-3 draw with Sevilla in Spain's La Liga.

Francisco Javier Rodríguez

Rodríguez played the first half on defense for PSV Eindhoven in its 2-1 comeback win over Willem II in the Dutch First Division. Danny Koevermans replaced Rodríguez at the start of the second half as coach Fred Rutten wanted to strengthen the attack.

Manuel Lapuente, coach

Lapuente, the former Mexican national coach who directed the team at the 1998 World Cup, was fired by Club America after only three matches of the Clausura championship. America had accrued only one point out of a possible nine. Lapuente had guided America to the semifinals of the Apertura championship in December. He was replaced by Chilean Carlos Reinoso, who took over America's reins for the third time.

National Team

Coach José Manuel de la Torre prepared for his international debut as coach by calling in 22 domestic-based players into training camp for the Feb. 9 international friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina in the Georgia Dome in Georgia. None of the big names and guns in Europe were recalled, although there were reports that some players might be brought in next week.

Only three of the players have earned more than 50 caps, led by Cruz Azul's 31-year-old midfielder Gerardo Torrado (120 appearances), a veteran of three World Cups. Antonio "Sinha" Naelson returned to the National Team after a four-year absence. De La Torre selected five players from Toluca, where he earned two titles.

The roster:

Goalkeepers (2): Jesús Corona (Cruz Azul), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca).

Defenders (8): Paul Aguilar (Pachuca), Ivan Estrada (Santos), Leobardo López (Pachuca), Edgar Dueñas (Toluca), Jonny Magallon (Chivas), Hugo Ayala (Tigres), Jorge Torres Nile (Tigres), Gerardo Rodríguez (Pachuca).

Midfielders (6): Gerardo Torrado (Cruz Azul), Israel Castro (Pumas), Jesús Zavala (Monterrey), Antonio Rios (Toluca), Antonio Naelson "Zinha" (Toluca), Luís Pérez (Monterrey).

Forwards (6): Edgar Pacheco (Atlas), Elias Hernández (Morelia), Néstor Calderón (Toluca), José María Cardenas (Santos), Aldo de Nigris (Monterrey), Juan Carlos Cacho (Pumas).

Michael Lewis, who has covered international soccer for three decades, is a regular contributor to Fox News Latino. He can be reached at soccerwriter516@aol.com.

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