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Mexico Hot List: Gallardo takes Liga MX by storm; Torres the hat-trick hero

Cubo Torres buries a free kick to complete a hat trick and continue Houston's rout of New York Red Bulls.
Cubo Torres became the first Mexican player to a record a hat trick in MLS in 20 years as Houston crushed the Red Bulls.
Cubo Torres extends Houston's lead with a rebound past Luis Robles for his second goal of the night.
Cubo Torres scores from the penalty spot, giving Houston a 2-1 lead after trailing 1-0 early in the match.

With an eye toward the Mexico national team's participation in the Confederations Cup and Gold Cup, many of the country's most noteworthy names have a new opportunity to shine for their clubs after the international break.

Here, we take a look at some of the recent best and worst performances from the players chasing a place in Juan Carlos Osorio's national team rosters this summer.

Warming Up

Jesus Gallardo, MF, Pumas (Mexico)

Why he's here: There's no doubt about it: Gallardo was the standout player in Liga MX over the weekend. During Saturday's 3-0 win over Chiapas, the 22-year-old turned heads with his two goals and one assist for the Mexico City squad.

What this means: Gallardo is set to be a key player in the Gold Cup roster, but if he has a couple more performances like the one against Chiapas, Osorio might consider calling him up earlier for a backup Confederations Cup role.

Erick Torres, FW, Houston Dynamo (United States)

Why he's here: What more can Mexico fans ask of Torres? Over the weekend, the former Chivas player clinched a hat trick for the Houston Dynamo in their 4-1 victory over the New York Red Bulls. Torres is now the leading scorer in MLS with six goals in his first four matches.

What this means: Despite his form, the striker might not be able to earn minutes over Javier Hernandez or Raul Jimenez for crucial national team games. That said, the 24-year-old will have plenty of chances to shine in friendlies and at the Gold Cup.

Diego Reyes, DF, Espanyol (Spain)

Why he's here: Just days after scoring the game-winner for Mexico against Trinidad and Tobago, Reyes took charge for Espanyol in Friday's 2-1 win over Real Betis. Since October, the central defender has secured a start in every league match for his team.

What this means: Reyes is quietly thriving in Spain with regular minutes. Although he needs more consistency in his performances with the national team, his appearances with Espanyol will do plenty to gain recognition from Osorio.

Jose Maduena, DF, Atlas (Mexico)

Why he's here: Following an impressive start to the Clausura, Maduena is beginning to earn plenty of recognition. On Saturday, the high-pressing right-back gained even more attention by scoring an impressive goal in the 3-3 draw with Club Tijuana.

What this means: A spot in the Gold Cup is ideal for the 26-year-old. If he maintains this form, it might be only a matter of time before he helps Mexico retain the CONCACAF title.

Cooling Down

Julio Dominguez, DF, Cruz Azul (Mexico)

Why he's here: Dominguez was demoted to Cruz Azul's bench for the first time this season on Friday. The 29-year-old, who hasn't had the best tournament for Los Cementeros, was left without minutes in the 3-1 loss to Veracruz.

What this means: Dominguez hasn't featured for the national team since 2015, but he has still been in the running for a Gold Cup call-up. A place on Cruz Azul's sideline, however, will do little to help him claim a spot in the roster.

Michael Perez, MF, Chivas (Mexico)

Why he's here: Once a rising star in Chivas starting XI, Perez has been left on Los Rojiblancos' bench in 2017. During Saturday's 0-0 draw with Morelia, the midfielder wasn't brought on until the 58th minute of the match.

What this means: At 24, Perez still has time to develop and make a case for himself with Chivas. Keeping this in mind, the defensive-minded midfielder will need much more playing time before earning his debut with the senior national team.

Angel Sepulveda, FW, Queretaro (Mexico)

Why he's here: Sepulveda has yet to secure a place in Queretaro's starting XI since late February. On Sunday, the winger was left without minutes in the 1-0 loss to Santos Laguna.

What this means: A return to the national team appears unlikely in 2017. With only one goal and one assist to his name in the Clausura, the 26-year-old has gradually drifted into a backup role for Los Gallos Blancos.

Juan Carlos Medina, MF, Club Tijuana (Mexico)

Why he's here: After a one-game suspension to usual starter Guido Rodriguez, Medina should have been set to feature for Tijuana over the weekend. Instead, the coaching staff decided to leave the veteran on the bench until the last few minutes of the 3-3 draw against Atlas. In 2017, the midfielder has only appeared three times in Xolos' starting XI.

What this means: Any and all glimmers of hope for a surprise Gold Cup spot are now gone. Without regular playing time for Xolos, Medina will continue to have an extended lull in his aging career on the sidelines.

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

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