Luis Montes scored the goal that put Mexico ahead of Ecuador for good in a World Cup tuneup. Two minutes later, he sustained an apparent leg fracture that will cost him a chance to play for El Tri in Brazil.
Montes drove a left-footed shot into the lower left corner of the net from just outside the top of the goal box after a pass from Oribe Peralta in the 33rd minute of Mexico's 3-1 victory over Ecuador on Saturday.
Shortly after the goal, Montes and Ecuador's Segundo Castillo became entangled and went down chasing a loose ball. Castillo limped off the field and didn't return. Montes never got up.
Montes, a key member of El Tri's midfield, covered his face as he was carried off on a stretcher to cheers from the pro-Mexican crowd of 84,876 at the home of the Dallas Cowboys. He went to the hospital for evaluation of an apparent fracture to his lower right leg.
"We prayed for him and now we're going to hope that he recuperates as soon as possible," Mexico coach Miguel Herrera said through a translator. "We're going to have a long talk tomorrow to keep the players focused."
Mexican captain Rafael Marquez also went to the hospital for an injury to his right foot in a separate first-half play, but Herrera said the move was precautionary after Montes' injury.
Castillo was being evaluated for a right knee injury, and Ecuador coach Reinaldo Rueda said it wasn't immediately clear whether the club would be looking for a World Cup replacement.
Ecuador has one more exhibition — against England on Wednesday in Miami — before opening the World Cup June 15 against Switzerland.
"It's not easy to take him out of the whole tournament," Rueda said through a translator. "It's tough."
Mexico, coming off a 3-0 win over Israel, plays Bosnia-Herzegovina on Tuesday night in Chicago and Portugal on Friday in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Its World Cup opener in Brazil is June 13 against Cameroon.
Herrera said Javier Aquino, who has been playing in Hong Kong, will soon join the roster as Montes' replacement.
"Right now we're not thinking about the next games," Herrera said. "It's an unfortunate situation and we have to keep moving forward."
Marco Fabian, who replaced Castillo, scored a long shot that again beat Ecuador keeper Maximo Banguera diving to his right for a 2-0 lead in the 69th minute. Giovani dos Santos made it 3-0 when his shot bounced off the post and went off Banguera's head into the net in the 76th minute.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.