Mexico Hot List: Lozano continues to exceed expectations, Vela drifting
Later this week, Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio is set to release his roster for November's two Europe-based friendlies. For some tried and true names, these games will represent an opportunity to solidify their starting spot with El Tri while for others, the call-up will provide a much-needed and invaluable invitation to strengthen their relevance in the national team picture.
With this in mind, let's take a look at some of the recent best and worst performances from those in the running for a call-up.
Elias Hernandez, FW, Leon (Mexico)
Why he's here: After an underwhelming Gold Cup with the national team, Hernandez has emerged as one of the best Liga MX players in the 2017 Apertura. Following Saturday's 6-2 win over Veracruz, the winger now has six goals and seven assists this season.
What this means: Although there's plenty of competition in his position for El Tri, the 29-year-old is worthy of another test at the international level. It wouldn't be much of a surprise if Osorio once again includes him in the roster.
Hirving Lozano, FW, PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands)
Why he's here: There's no way of overlooking what Lozano is accomplishing in Europe. On Sunday, the promising Mexican once again wowed Dutch fans with two goals in the 4-2 away victory against Vitesse. According to Opta, the winger is the first player to score in seven of his first eight Eredivisie matches.
What this means: There's no doubt that Lozano is greatly exceeding expectations. If the 22-year-old continues at this pace, he should not only guarantee a roster spot in the next World Cup but also potentially secure a place in Osorio's starting XI.
Hugo Gonzalez, GK, Monterrey (Mexico)
Why he's here: Despite the fact that Monterrey's attack is given much deserved praise for the team's success, Gonzalez is also worthy of some recognition. After another impressive performance in net during the weekend's 2-0 win over America, the goalkeeper now has seven shutouts this season.
What this means: It's becoming increasingly clear that Gonzalez is the one of the best backup options for the national team. Thanks to his solid run with Los Rayados so far in the Apertura, the 27-year-old is an exciting option for Osorio to consider.
Jordan Silva, DF, Cruz Azul (Mexico)
Why he's here: After making his debut for El Tri in late 2016, Silva hasn't progressed at the level fans initially anticipated. The 23-year-old, who is still a work in progress, has struggled to gain first-team minutes with Cruz Azul this season: Saturday's 2-1 loss to Tigres was the fifth game in a row without an appearance for the young defender.
What this means: Osorio is in need of more defenders, but will have little motivation to bring Silva back into El Tri's roster. In order to warrant another invitation to the national team, the Cruz Azul player must regularly find a way back onto the pitch.
Carlos Vela, FW, Real Sociedad (Spain) Why he's here: Slowly but surely, Vela is being phased out of Real Sociedad's squad. Knowing full well that the Mexico star is headed to LAFC next year, manager Eusebio Sacristan has only given the winger two starts this season. On Sunday, Vela made a cameo appearance in the second half of his side's 2-1 loss to Getafe.
What this means: The 28-year-old can't take his El Tri position for granted. With thriving names like Jesus "Tecatito" Corona, Lozano and Hernandez available for Osorio, Vela might have a difficult time holding onto a starting role for Mexico. A call-up this week is virtually guaranteed but a place in the XI isn't.
Jesus Molina, MF, Monterrey (Mexico)
Why he's here: Simply put, Molina isn't earning enough minutes. The 29-year-old, who was recently relevant to the national team, has become a bench player for Monterrey this season. In his last nine games, the central midfielder has only collected one start for Los Rayados.
What this means: As long as the young American Jonathan Gonzalez continues to shine in his role for Monterrey, Molina is going to have a very tough time earning Liga MX appearances. As for El Tri, Osorio could use another defensive midfielder but probably won't pay attention to one who's currently a back-up at the club level.
Cesar Hernandez covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @cesarhfutbol.