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 By Tom Marshall

MLS will soon be among world's best - Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio

Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio believes Major League Soccer is on the right track to becoming one of the best leagues in the world.

The Colombian was in Los Angeles on Tuesday to promote Mexico's game on May 27 against Croatia and took a tour of LAFC's facilities, which included a virtual exhibition of what the 2018 expansion club's new stadium will look like.

"With what they have shown us today, I have no doubt that MLS is continuing to make firm strides towards excellence and that soon it will be among the best leagues in the world," said Osorio, who has previously coached in MLS with the Chicago Fire and New York Red Bulls.

Osorio, however, maintains that Mexico's best players should be trying to move to Europe, if possible, to play in the leagues that are currently considered the best in the world in order to help El Tri reach a "fifth game" of the World Cup, something that has eluded Mexico since 1986.

"The first target is to qualify for the World Cup and have a team that believes more in its ability every day and has more and better players to create internal competition to increase the quality of the national team," Osorio said in an interview with ESPN, indicating that having "more players in Europe" is the way to achieving that competition.

Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio
Juan Carlos Osorio has a busy summer ahead with Mexico.

There is a packed summer of action coming up for El Tri, with World Cup qualifying in Mexico followed by the Confederations Cup. After that, a Mexico reserve squad will compete in CONCACAF's Gold Cup in the United States.

Osorio also indicated that LA Galaxy forward Giovani dos Santos would likely be selected in the full squad for qualifying and Confederations Cup in Russia, but Rafa Marquez is a doubt after he underwent back surgery last week.

The former Manchester City assistant said: "In these types of surgeries, no one can say exactly how long the recovery will take."

Finally, Osorio suggested that his time in Mexico may extend beyond the 2018 World Cup in Russia, with the next generation of national team players impressing him.

"I'm excited to see which players will consolidate themselves at international level, above all the group [of younger, Mexico-based players] that will go to the Gold Cup," Osorio told Hoy. "I'd love to corroborate and work with them."

Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.

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