Miguel Layun the lone bright spot among countless Europeos
During most weeks, there's always at least one positive for the Mexicans in Europe. Whether it be through an occasional goal, a hard-fought win or simply an exceptional performance, it's usually not difficult to highlight an encouraging moment.
Unfortunately for El Tri supporters, that didn't prove to be true in the recent run of games. Coupled with a long list of losses and a lack of minutes for many, last week was likely one that fans may want to forget.
Nonetheless, there's still plenty to discuss regarding some of the more noteworthy figures abroad. Keeping in mind that the World Cup is inching closer, let's get started on the latest Heroes and Villains list for Mexico's Europeos.
Is it a stretch to add Miguel Layun to the "Heroes" section? Probably. On the surface, it doesn't exactly seem like a positive that he was involved in the 2-0 loss for Sevilla against Valencia on Saturday.
However, when looking closer, things are becoming more encouraging for the player on loan from Porto. Sevilla manager Vincenzo Montella continues to provide Layun with valuable minutes, he is starting to click with his roster, and as one report from Spain noted, the right-back finished with his best performance since his arrival to his new club.
If Layun builds upon this progress for Sevilla, it's only a matter of time before he begins to emerge as a true hero with his knack for assists.
Let's go with the good news first: With Uriel Antuna as a substitute in the second half, Groningen gained a 2-0 win over PEC Zwolle on Sunday. The bad news? Antuna didn't step on the field for his Eredivisie squad until the 96th minute. Antuna is struggling to secure serious playing time and has only clinched one start for Groningen in 2018. Although the 20-year-old has the talents to be a part of the next generation of El Tri, he still needs to find a way to earn regular appearances in Europe.
Looking over at England, West Ham are falling apart. With only a cameo appearance from Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez in the second half, The Hammers slumped to a 3-0 loss at home over the weekend. The game was marred by pitch invasions, security issues and unrest from vocal fans. As for the Mexican striker, it's clear that there is little trust from manager David Moyes. With only a couple of months left in the season, it's difficult to assume that Chicharito will attain more than a few starts.
After emerging as a consistent starter in January and February, Diego Reyes has since returned to the bench in recent games for Porto. During Sunday's 1-0 loss against Pacos de Ferreira, the Mexican international was left without any minutes in the defeat. Looking back, the 25-year-old has only been in Porto's starting XI once in his last five matches in all competitions. Whether it be as a defensive midfielder or a central defender, it's imperative that Reyes gains more appearances for the Portuguese giants.
Finally, we close out with Raul Jimenez. It has been said multiple times now, but as long as Jonas keeps up his brilliant goal-scoring form, there will be little room for Jimenez in Benfica's starting roster. On Saturday, manager Rui Vitoria didn't utilize the Mexican striker until the 58th minute of the 2-0 win against Aves. Barring some sort of injury to Jonas, it's unlikely that Jimenez will earn a place in Benfica's XI during the eight remaining league matches.
Cesar Hernandez covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @cesarhfutbol.