Mexico Hot List: Lozano lights up Liga MX, Herrera a shadow of former self
Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio has less than a month left to prepare for a highly anticipated game against the United States in the Hexagonal round of World Cup qualifying on Nov. 11. The Colombian coach must soon begin to select his best options for the national team next month.
With this in mind, let's take a look at some of the recent best and worst performances from noteworthy Mexican players at home and abroad.
Hirving Lozano, FW, Pachuca (Mexico)
Why he's here: On Saturday night, the 21-year-old provided a goal and an assist for Pachuca in its 3-0 victory over Santos Laguna. Even after missing part of the season due to Olympic responsibilities with the under-23s, Lozano is still one of the top goalscorers in Mexico with seven strikes to his name -- two less than league leader Dayro Moreno.
What this means: Despite the fact that El Tri has plenty of talented wingers, Lozano is easily one of the standout options for Osorio against the United States. If the youngster maintains this momentum, he deserves to be in Mexico's starting XI next month.
Carlos Salcedo, DF, Fiorentina (Italy)
Why he's here: Salcedo was once again a key defensive player for Fiorentina during Sunday's 0-0 draw against Atalanta. Since his arrival in Italy in late August, the former Chivas player has quickly adapted to Serie A and taken a starting role with his new club.
What this means: With confident performances quickly becoming the norm for Salcedo abroad, the 23-year-old is looking like a very intriguing option for Osorio. That he is comfortable in three and four-man back lines only helps to bolster his chances of gaining important minutes with El Tri.
Cesar Montes, DF, Monterrey (Mexico)
Why he's here: Montes was Monterrey's man of the match over the weekend. In the 4-1 victory at Chiapas on Saturday, the young defender stood out with his goal and assist for Los Rayados.
What this means: Like Salcedo, the promising 19-year-old could sneak into a key role for Osorio's Mexico next month. Given his form -- which continues to improve with each passing game -- it's only a matter of time before a team in Europe attempts to sign the player.
Marco Fabian, MF, Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany)
Why he's here: After finishing his short international break with the winner for Mexico in a 2-1 victory over New Zealand, Fabian followed up with a game-tying goal for 10-man Frankfurt in Saturday's 2-2 draw against Bayern Munich. The midfielder now has three goals and two assists in his last five Bundesliga matches.
What this means: Unfortunately, El Tri is stacked with a number of talented options in Fabian's position as an attacking midfielder. That said, it might be tough for Osorio to ignore the Frankfurt player, who has recently emerged as one of the best footballers in the German league.
Guillermo Ochoa, GK, Granada (Spain)
Why he's here: Ochoa and Granada both fell apart during Saturday's dire 7-1 defeat against Atletico Madrid. Although the goalkeeper is averaging four saves a game, his stops haven't been enough to deter the whopping total of 23 goals he's conceded in the first eight matches of the season.
What this means: Most of the fault should be pointed at Granada's defense, but many will still shift the focus toward Ochoa as the scapegoat in light of the squad's current woes. Whether this difficult time in Spain influences a potential move to the Mexico bench remains to be seen.
Hector Herrera, MF, Porto (Portugal)
Why he's here: Herrera is still a shadow of his former self. The midfielder continues to look tired for Porto and was ineffective during Saturday's 3-0 Taca de Portugal victory against Gafanha.
What this means: His starting spot with the national team is no longer a guarantee. With other intriguing options like Orbelin Pineda, Erick Gutierrez and Fabian emerging as replacements, Herrera might have to watch the game against the U.S. from the bench.
Hiram Mier, DF, Monterrey (Mexico)
Why he's here: Four years after helping El Tri win gold at the 2012 Olympics, Mier has so far failed to reach the heights that his once promising performances seemed to predict. In his last four league games, the defender has been given just one start for Monterrey. In Saturday's 4-1 win, he was brought on as a substitute in the 67th minute.
What this means: Although a couple of injuries from earlier this year have hurt his form, the 27-year-old will need to push for a starting spot with Los Rayados before returning to the national team fold. At the moment, it seems unlikely that Osorio will give him his first minutes with Mexico since April 2015 anytime soon.
Jurgen Damm, FW, Tigres (Mexico)
Why he's here: Damm has yet to gain a start for Tigres in their current Apertura campaign. On Saturday, the 23-year-old winger made a cameo appearance for Los Auriazules in the 63rd minute of the 2-0 loss to Necaxa.
What this means: If Damm was with any other club in Mexico, he would be a starter. Instead, the quick winger has had to take a seat on the bench in what is arguably the most talented Liga MX roster this season. With limited minutes, he might also miss out on a call-up for next month's El Tri squad.
Cesar Hernandez covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @cesarhfutbol.