Chicharito makes his mark for West Ham; Carlos Vela stars in Spain
Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio is set to announce El Tri's roster for the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers, and there's still no certainty on how many of Mexico's players currently in Europe will appear on the list.
One of the things that Osorio might consider is that many of Mexico's players in Europe are still adapting to their new club, as is the case for Hector Moreno at AS Roma, Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez at West Ham, Hirving "Chucky" Lozano at PSV, Carlos Salcedo at Eintracht Frankfurt and Andres Guardado at Real Betis, so not calling up several of these players might not be a crazy decision.
But there's another group that includes players such as Hector Herrera, Miguel Layun and Diego Reyes, all of whom are on FC Porto and have rarely played this season. Staying in Europe for the upcoming FIFA dates might help Herrera, Layun and Reyes as they try to win a starting place in their team, or they might move to a new club and will need time to adapt to their new settings.
Nevertheless, this weekend saw great performances from Chicharito at West Ham, Lozano at PSV and Carlos Vela at Real Sociedad.
Even though West Ham lost to Southampton 3-2 in the last minutes of the match, Chicharito gave one of his best recent performances. There were problems that arose rather quickly -- the Hammers conceded the first goal in the 10th minute, and Marko Arnautovic was sent-off in the 32nd minute. But even with all these complications, West Ham was able to tie things up at 2-2 in the 73rd minute.
Hernandez scored both goals, but what impressed the most was how he played when the team was facing adversity. He fulfilled every instruction given by manager Slaven Bilic and excelled when attacking far out wide in the left flank. Almost all his crosses into the box created havoc among the Southampton defenders.
West Ham's first two league games have proven that in order for them to get a win a lot of things will have to go right; the margin of error will be small. The challenge in front of Chicharito is for him to become a vocal leader and score important goals. Against Southampton, he showed that he's up to this fascinating challenge.
Devastating result.— West Ham United (@WestHamUtd) August 19, 2017
This man was brilliant. pic.twitter.com/Vd0fEGtnAI
PSV fans have been delighted with Lozano's performances. He's scored twice and has added an assist to his name in the first two league matches. During his last weeks in Liga MX, there were many analysts that shared the observation that perhaps Lozano needed to leave Mexico in order to enjoy football again. His last season in Mexico wasn't lights out, but now that he's in a new country and working on developing his career, he looks happy and prepared to become a PSV idol.
In Real Sociedad's 3-2 win, Vela only played 33 minutes, but it should be noted that when he came into the game, the score was 2-1 in favor of Celta Vigo. Vela's inclusion into the match could be regarded as a game-changer because he provoked a foul inside the box that led to Sociedad's winner from the penalty spot. But that's not all, as he had two tackles and was always looking to get the ball. He looks determined on closing his Real Sociedad journey on a high note before packing his bags for Los Angeles.
No one saw coming Omar Govea's rise to stardom at the start of the season. After four games with Royal Excel Mouscron of the Jupiler Pro League, he has scored two goals and picked up an assist. Contrary to Vela, Chicharito, and Lozano, all of whom are forwards, Govea is a central midfielder, yet he's not afraid of scoring key goals for his club. Mouscron beat KAA Gent 3-2, but it wasn't easy for Govea's team, who had to come back after being down 2-0.
Serie A kicked off its 2017-18 season, and Moreno's AS Roma side defeated Atalanta 1-0, but El Tri's center-back didn't see any playing time. Reports coming from Rome suggested that Moreno wouldn't be part of the XI, and that Juan Jesus was going to accompany Kostas Manolas in the center of the defense. Right-back Bruno Peres had to be replaced in the 81st minute due to injury, and manager Eusebio Di Francesco sent in Federico Fazio to take his place. Competition for a starting role will be one of the biggest tests Moreno will have to face since his arrival in Europe in 2007.
After three league games, Diego Reyes hasn't played a single minute for FC Porto. It's looking like the only way he will be getting playing time is if Felipe or Ivan Marcano fall injured. It remains to be seen if the Portuguese side will agree to loan him for a third season in a row, sell him or decide to keep him on the roster. However, if he does remain with Porto, it's looking like playing time will not be frequent.
Nayib Moran covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @nayibmoran.