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Enjoy Marquez while you still can


Mexico Hot List: Torres on the bubble for a backup role as 'Chicharito' cools

Houston Dynamo take on the Columbus Crew SC at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, TX.

We are just a little over a week away from Mexico's FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica (March 24) and Trinidad and Tobago (March 28) and Juan Carlos Osorio is expected to release his roster within the next few days.

With call-ups on the line, let's take a look at some of the best and worst recent performances from Mexicans at home and abroad.

Warming Up

Erick Torres, FW, Houston Dynamo (United States)

Why he's here: One week after starting the season with a goal in Houston's 2-1 win against MLS Cup champions the Seattle Sounders, Torres followed up his performance with another goal during last Saturday's 3-1 victory over Columbus Crew SC.

What this means: Osorio might give Torres a surprise spot in Mexico's roster. With limited minutes for Raul Jimenez and inconsistent goalscoring from Oribe Peralta and Alan Pulido, the Dynamo forward is in the running for a backup role for El Tri.

Erick Torres has started the 2017 MLS campaign with a bang, finding the back of the net twice in two games for Houston.

Jonathan dos Santos, MF, Villarreal (Spain)

Why he's here: On Saturday, Dos Santos was once again a vital figure for Villarreal in their 1-0 win over Celta Vigo. The midfielder assisted the winner with a well-timed cross in the 45th minute to keep his team in the top five of La Liga.

What this means: Like many other Europeos, all signs seem to indicate a place for Dos Santos in Osorio's national team roster. The 26-year-old's versatility in midfield makes him an exciting option off the bench at the very least.

Javier Eduardo Lopez, MF, Chivas (Mexico)

Why he's here: During last Tuesday's Copa MX round-of-16 clash against Correcaminos, Lopez provided a goal in regulation time and in the penalty shootout. With the 22-year-old helping lead the attack, Chivas scraped by with a 6-5 victory on penalties after a 2-2 draw.

What this means: The attack-minded midfielder is hitting his stride at the perfect moment. Even if a call-up isn't on the cards for Mexico's matches this month, Lopez is still one of the leading candidates for El Tri's Gold Cup journey this July.

Andres Guardado, MF, PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands)

Why he's here: Guardado is one of Mexico's most consistent players this season. In the 3-1 win over Go Ahead Eagles on Saturday, he showcased his control of midfield and his scoring abilities with a late goal in the 85th minute.

What this means: Guardado, along with a few other names like Javier Hernandez and Hector Moreno, has a near-guaranteed spot in Osorio's starting XI. The big question now is where he will feature in midfield.

Cooling Down

Javier Hernandez, FW, Bayer Leverkusen (Germany)

Why he's here: During Friday's 1-1 draw with Werder Bremen, Hernandez could do little to help his team grab all three points. For the second Bundesliga game in a row, the striker finished without a single shot against the opposition. He is now scoreless in his past four matches in all competitions.

Bayer Leverkusen striker Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez is scoreless in his past four matches across competitions.

What this means: El Tri fans will keep their fingers crossed that the superstar rediscovers his goal-scoring form in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers. But even if he enters the national team camp without a goal in over a month, Hernandez will undoubtedly lead the attacking line.

Javier Guemez, MF, America (Mexico)

Why he's here: Last Wednesday, Guemez didn't do much to help his case for more minutes with America. After a poor challenge in the 80th minute of the Copa MX clash with Club Tijuana, the 25-year-old was immediately shown a direct red. Down to 10 men, Las Aguilas stumbled out of the competition with a 1-0 loss to Xolos.

What this means: Guemez is going to need more time to gain the attention of Osorio. Without a Copa MX title to fight for, it's going to be very tough for the midfielder to seal a starting spot for America in the Clausura or a call-up for Mexico.

Raul Jimenez, FW, Benfica (Portugal)

Why he's here: The more Kostas Mitroglou scores for Benfica, the less likely it will be that Jimenez sees the field. On Monday, the Mexican striker was left without minutes for Benfica in the one-sided 4-0 victory over Belenenses.

What this means: Jimenez is arguably El Tri's second best striker after Hernandez, but without regular playing time in Portugal, Osorio might look elsewhere if he is in need of an impact striker. That said, we should still expect Jimenez to be in Mexico's next roster.

Carlos Salcedo, DF, Fiorentina (Italy)

Why he's here: During Fiorentina's 1-0 win over Cagliari on Saturday, Salcedo was left without playing time for a second league match in a row. In 2017, the defender has only collected two starts for the Serie A club.

What this means: Like Jimenez, a lack of regular minutes will likely lead to a place on Mexico's bench. Although Salcedo has the talents to play in a starting role for El Tri, expect Osorio to rely on the 23-year-old as a backup this month.

Cesar Hernandez covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @cesarhfutbol.


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