Over 82,000 fans packed the Rose Bowl on Monday for Mexico’s final sendoff match against the Wales national team. The match ended in 0-0 tie with Mexico holding last-minute auditions before the final roster is submitted by June 3, including the LA-based trident of Carlos Vela (LAFC), and LA Galaxy duo Giovani and Jonathan dos Santos.
Only the dos Santos brothers saw the field against Wales in hopes of showing Juan Carlos Osorio that they are healthy enough to make the final World Cup roster. Both LA Galaxy players were coming off injuries and are in a race to prove that they are 100-percent fit to make the trip to Russia.
Giovani dos Santos has the most to be concerned with his spot given his injury-riddled season. On Friday he played about 20 minutes for the LA Galaxy with the Mexico head coach in attendance. On Monday, Gio made a 15-minute cameo for El Tri and impressed Osorio per Adam Serrano of the LA Galaxy:
“Yes, [I was happy with Gio],” Osorio said postgame. “I think we all know his ability, his technique, and in a very tight space, he can be a very influential player. … He touched the ball I don’t know how many times. He only played for 15 minutes and considering that we hope that against Scotland [on Saturday at Estadio Azteca] he’ll have more minutes.
“We hope that he starts and that he shows all that we expect him to do.”
The Galaxy No. 10 moved the ball well on the field, setting up teammates in the open space and generating attacking opportunities. Gio even had a chance to score the game-winning goal towards the end of the game but was denied by the Wales goalkeeper.
Jonathan on the other hand seems to have gotten over his knock playing in back-to-back 90 minute contests for Los Angeles. He entered the match against Wales at about the 61st minute and displayed shades of his 2017 Confederations Cup form where he was relentless recovering the ball and distributing to his open teammates.
If a healthy Andres Guardado recovers from surgery before the deadline, he will surely man the midfield with FC Porto captain Hector Herrera, who played outstanding against Wales. The younger dos Santos could be that third go-to midfielder if he displays good form against Scotland prior to Osorio’s final decision.
This would be Jona’s first World Cup appearance after missing the tournaments in 2010 and 2014 but is still holding out hope as he told Jon Arnold of Goal.com after Friday’s LA Galaxy match:
“Honestly, I don’t think about it much. I think our hope, our dream is still intact,” he said. “We think this can be a great tournament for us as well as the national team. We have great players.
“But it’s true that anything can happen. I could be left off the list or Vela is left off the list. Everything can happen in this life. You never know. But, our mentality, hope and dream is to go, have a great tournament and make our dream come true.”
Carlos Vela is pretty much a lock to head to Russia with El Tri as his debut season with LAFC has been nothing short of spectacular. He’s scored seven goals and notched five assists in 12 games for the expansion side and has shown his versatility playing in multiple attacking spots for LAFC. His ability with the ball and his impressive left foot has been on full display in MLS.
Vela’s fine form will certainly give Osorio something to think about in regards to a starting spot at the World Cup. He’ll contend with Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, Jesus ‘Tecatito’ Corona, Raul Jimenez, Javier ‘Chicharito” Hernandez and Oribe Peralta for a forward spot. Luckily Vela could be deployed as an attacking midfielder if Osorio chooses to, utilizing his playmaking ability on the field.
The Mexican national team boss called in 28 players for the upcoming friendlies due to multiple players on the roster nursing injuries including the LA Galaxy duo. The roster is currently at 27 after Nestor Araujo was officially ruled out of the World Cup. The MLS trio are all viable options for Osorio as much needed depth for El Tri. All possess valuable experience against European sides given their time spent in Europe which could come in handy against the likes of Germany and Sweden.
Vela and the dos Santos siblings will more than likely see plenty of time on Saturday at the Azteca Stadium to show Osorio they belong in Russia.
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