Jonathan dos Santos is Mexico's maestro in bang-up win over Honduras
On Thursday night at the Estadio Azteca, Mexico extended its undefeated streak in the Hexagonal with a 3-0 win over Honduras. The victory, its fourth in the current round of World Cup qualifying, has pushed the side to an impressive tally of 13 points after five matches.
That said, Mexico will have little time to celebrate the win.
Before traveling to Russia for this year's Confederations Cup, El Tri hosts the United States this Sunday in Mexico City. After Thursday's three points gained, will manager Juan Carlos Osorio find another way to defeat Mexico's biggest rival this weekend?
There's something to be said about this team's undefeated streak in the Hex. After stumbling through most of the previous qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup, Mexico is now easily charging through the current competition.
With one foot in the door for Russia 2018, there will also be less pressure on not only Osorio, but also his roster in the highly-anticipated match against the United States. Win or lose, Mexico is on the cusp of securing a place in the next World Cup.
Carlos Salcedo, who has gradually earned a key role with Mexico under Osorio, left the field with an injury during the second half. Although Mexico has a wealth of options in the attack, El Tri doesn't have the same amount of depth in the defense, especially in the right-back or left-back positions. After the match, it was confirmed that Salcedo will miss out on the weekend match against the Americans. However the defender will be fit to travel with the squad to Russia for the Confederations Cup later in the month.
Manager rating out of 10
7.5 - Following a hesitant start, Mexico was able to control possession and dominate the pace of the match. Osorio's decision to stick with a questionable player like Hector Herrera proved to be beneficial, along with another option like Raul Jimenez who was able to find the back of the net.
By the time the 60th minute rolled around, Osorio's side was in complete control against a Honduras team that was clearly hoping for a draw or low-scoring loss.
Player ratings (1-10, with 10 the best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Guillermo Ochoa, 7 -- Had the best seat in the house for the game. The goalkeeper had very little work to do and was perfect in the rare moments that he needed to leave his area.
DF Carlos Salcedo, 6 -- Struggled with an injury throughout the match. After a fairly conservative performance in defense, the right-back hobbled off the field during the 54th minute.
DF Diego Reyes, 7 -- A vital source of distribution from the defense. Without a name like Hector Moreno or Rafael Marquez on the field, Reyes took it upon himself to bark out orders and take charge of the backline.
DF Oswaldo Alanis, 7.5 -- Provided the first goal of the night with a perfectly-placed header in the 34th minute. The Chivas player, who nearly scored a second, also worked very well with the rest of the defense.
DF Luis Reyes, 6.5 -- Not much to say about Reyes other than his active participation in the build-up of play. The 26-year-old looked comfortable in defense, but didn't produce the ideal exciting movement forward of a left-back like Miguel Layun.
MF Hector Herrera, 7.5 -- Mexico's most underwhelming player of 2017 quieted his doubters with a strong performance against Honduras. Herrera had flashes of brilliance with his movement on the ball and created the assist for Hirving Lozano's goal.
MF Jonathan dos Santos, 8.5 -- El Tri's leader and main distributor. Jonathan covered plenty of ground and was constantly a step ahead of everyone on the field with his decision-making. The Villarreal player also provided the assist for Alanis' goal in the first half.
MF Giovani dos Santos, 5.5 -- While his younger brother was shining, Giovani was far too quiet against Honduras. The talented 28-year-old looked lost in his central attacking midfielder role.
FW Carlos Vela, 8 -- Exuded class and maturity with his creative dribbling and passing in the attack. We also can't forget to mention his well-timed assist for Jimenez's goal in the second half.
FW Raul Jimenez, 7 -- After a shaky start to the game, which included a few mistimed passes, Jimenez worked hard to track back and intercept the ball. The striker's workrate paid off with a goal in the 66th minute.
FW Jesus Manuel Corona, 8 -- Mexico's most exciting player on the field. During the occasional moments that El Tri looked predictable in the attack, Corona stood out with his audacious dribbling against two to three different Honduran defenders. The Porto player was a firecracker on the left wing.
DF Jesus Duenas, 7 -- Substituted in for Salcedo during the 54th minute. Duenas had no trouble filling the shoes of the injured right-back. The Tigres player had a solid presence defensively and contributed to the creation of attacking plays.
MF Hirving Lozano, 7.5 -- Substituted in for Giovani during the 57th minute. Lozano hit the ground running with a goal for Mexico in the 63rd. Given more time, the eager Pachuca player might have been able to score a second.
FW Oribe Peralta, 6 -- Substituted in for Corona during the 69th minute. Not much to say about the Liga MX veteran, but in his defense, the cameo appearance wasn't enough to stand out or make a case for himself as a starter.
Cesar Hernandez covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @cesarhfutbol.