Mexico Hot List: Henry Martin impresses in Argentina friendlies, but Marco Fabian struggles
The international break is now officially over for Mexico. Following two consecutive 2-0 losses to Argentina in the last five days, El Tri has emerged from the November friendlies with a number of lessons learned. With a focus on those two recent matches, here is the latest national team hot-list.
Guillermo Ochoa, GK, Standard Liege
Why he's here: During the first 2-0 loss to Argentina on Nov. 16, Ochoa emerged as Mexico's best player on the pitch. Thanks to his impressive stops, the goalkeeper saved his team from a potentially disastrous result in South America.
What this means: This shouldn't come as much of a surprise, but the veteran has again solidified his status as Mexico's No. 1 goalkeeping option. Whether it be for club or country, Ochoa has continued to be superb in goal.
Raul Jimenez, FW, Wolverhampton Wanderers
Why he's here: Jimenez didn't score last week, but that doesn't mean that he had a bad international break. In the first Argentina friendly, the Premier League player hit the crossbar moments after kickoff and nearly collected an assist late into the game. His energy and determination were a welcome sight for fans who are eager to see more strikers stepping up.
What this means: Javier Hernandez's once undisputed position as Mexico's starting striker is still in question. With Jimenez gradually finding more momentum, the 27-year-old might soon surpass "Chicharito" on the depth chart.
Edson Alvarez, DF, Club America
Why he's here: If Ochoa was the one who saved Mexico from disaster in the first game, then Alvarez was the one who followed through with same responsibilities in the second. During Tuesday's 2-0 defeat, Alvarez provided several significant tackles and clearances in the backline.
What this means: At just 21 years of age, the Club America player has a bright future ahead of him. Once Alvarez improves his positioning and consistency, he'll immediately become one of Mexico's best defenders.
Henry Martin, FW, Club America
Why he's here: Similar to Jimenez last week, Martin was a breath of attacking fresh air in the second friendly, despite his lack of goals. The striker was the only player on Tuesday who truly made things difficult for Argentina's backline throughout the match. A foul on the player in the area, which was overlooked by the referee, should have resulted in a penalty.
What this means: Realistically speaking, Martin is far from becoming a starting striker or even a second-string option for Mexico. Nonetheless, the former Club Tijuana player is worthy of more call-ups in the future if he can sustain the same kind of spirit and tenacity that was recently on display.
Luis Rodriguez, DF, Tigres
Why he's here: During both matches against Argentina, "Chaka" unfortunately became a liability as a high-pressing full-back for Mexico. As a defensive weak-link and questionable attacker, Rodriguez failed to make much of a positive impact in either of his two appearances.
What this means: This should be good news for fringe and/or young options at right-back and right wing-back. With older players like Rodriguez and Paul Aguilar showing deficiencies -- and a potential starter like Miguel Layun being given chances in other positions --- the door is now open for alternatives.
Marco Fabian, MF, Eintracht Frankfurt
Why he's here: A lack of playing time in Europe has clearly hurt Fabian's rhythm. In the first friendly, the midfielder's rare moments of brilliance were lost in a performance plagued by bad passes and poor decision-making.
What this means: If Mexico is looking towards the next generation of budding talent, Fabian would sadly be near the top of the list of players who should gradually be phased out. Barring some sort of unexpected turnaround abroad, it's going to quickly become difficult for the 29-year-old to maintain his relevance for the national team.
Isaac Brizuela, MF, Chivas
Why he's here: During the second friendly, Brizuela struggled with clashes against Argentina's backline. La Albiceleste easily shut down the right winger, who couldn't make much of his possession.
What this means: The Chivas player squandered a highly-coveted opportunity as a starter. Keeping in mind that Mexico has a long list of other skillful wingers like Hirving Lozano, Jesus "Tecatito" Corona, Carlos Vela and Elias Hernandez, it's doubtful that Brizuela will get many more chances for a starting role in the near future.
Javier Aquino, MF, Tigres
Why he's here: On the left wing, Aquino was just as powerless as Brizuela during the friendly on the 20th. The Tigres player, who was constantly wrestled off the ball, never found his rhythm in a match that was desperate for more attacking creativity.
What this means: Although Aquino is one or two spots higher than Brizuela on the depth chart, there are no guaranteed minutes for the 28-year-old who will not only have to steal the spotlight away from other winger options, but will also need to win over the next manager.