Following El Tri's 1-0 friendly win over Iceland last Wednesday, and Week 6 of the 2017 Clausura, Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio will have plenty to think about before March's World Cup qualifiers.
Although the matches against Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago are over a month away, Osorio will soon need to decide who his best options are for the national team. With limited opportunities to shine, every game for those in Liga MX and abroad will prove to be highly significant in the coming weeks.
Keeping this in mind, let's take a look at some of the recent best and worst performances from Mexico's most noteworthy players:
Javier Hernandez, FW, Bayer Leverkusen (Germany)
Why he's here: Last Saturday, Hernandez provided two goals for Bayer Leverkusen in the 3-0 victory against Eintracht Frankfurt. The striker now has three goals and one assist in his last three starts for the German club.
What this means: Mexico fans should breathe a sigh of relief. Hernandez is the key to success for the national team and if he is regularly finding the back of the net, that's one less problem to worry about in upcoming qualifiers.
Orbelin Pineda, MF, Chivas (Mexico)
Why he's here: Three days after controlling Mexico's midfield in the Iceland friendly, Pineda provided a goal for Chivas in the 2-1 Clasico Tapatio victory against Atlas. It was a memorable week for the 20-year-old, who stood out for club and country.
What this means: Despite the immense amount of depth that Osorio in midfield, Pineda is quickly becoming an intriguing backup consideration. It wouldn't be surprising to see the Chivas player on the game-day roster for next month's qualifiers.
Nestor Araujo, DF, Santos Laguna (Mexico)
Why he's here: Thanks to his impressive clearances and long-range passing, Araujo was arguably El Tri's best defender in the Iceland friendly. Although he couldn't earn a win with Santos Laguna a few days later, the 25-year-old was influential with his distribution and interceptions in the 2-2 draw with Cruz Azul.
What this means: Araujo is pushing for a starting spot in Mexico's defense. If the Santos Laguna player continues to thrive in the Clausura, a European-based option like Diego Reyes might have a difficult time stealing minutes.
Carlos Vela, FW, Real Sociedad (Spain)
Why he's here: During last Friday's 2-1 win over Espanyol, Vela found the back of the net for the sixth time this season with a goal in the 26th minute. The Mexican international now has two goals in his last two league matches.
What this means: Vela is slowly discovering his old form that once made him one of the best players in Spain. As for the national team, a starting spot is all but guaranteed if he keeps up his newfound momentum.
Oribe Peralta, FW, America (Mexico)
Why he's here: Last Saturday, Peralta mistimed a potential game-changing shot that was within one to two yards of finding Puebla's net. Without a goal to his name, America went on to finish with a dismal 0-0 draw at home. The striker is now scoreless in his last four league matches.
What this means: Peralta will need to soon start scoring if he wants to remain relevant to the national team. If not, a name like Alan Pulido might be able to take his backup role in next month's roster.
Carlos Salcedo, DF, Fiorentina (Italy)
Why he's here: Salcedo has yet to gain a start for Fiorentina in any competition this year. On Saturday, the defender remained on the bench during the 3-0 victory against Udinese.
What this means: Without regular playing time abroad, Salcedo's role with the national team is suddenly in doubt. Unless if he unexpectedly earns a key role during the next few weeks, a spot on Mexico's bench is a best-case scenario for the defender.
Giovani dos Santos, FW, LA Galaxy (United States)
Why he's here: Despite his assist for Pulido's goal last week against Iceland, Dos Santos was by far the most reserved and quiet player for El Tri. Without regular minutes at the moment as MLS is only just beginning preseason, the striker looked lost and off the pace in his starting role for Mexico.
What this means: Looking ahead, Dos Santos will have an opportunity to redeem himself when the Galaxy kicks off its 2017 season on Mar. 4. That said, he will need to hit the ground running before Osorio's call-up for next month's qualifiers.
Javier Aquino, MF, Tigres (Mexico)
Why he's here: After failing to get a call-up for the recent friendly, Aquino received a red for Tigres during Saturday's 1-0 loss to Pachuca. The midfielder will now miss out on the upcoming match against Veracruz this Friday.
What this means: With a wealth of talented options in his roster, Tigres manager Ricardo "Tuca" Ferretti might be able to find a solution to his attacking problems without Aquino. Considering the fact that Mexico has countless candidates at both wing positions, Aquino can't afford to be pushed out of a starting role at the club level.
Editor's Note: Tigres announced on Tuesday that Aquino will be out for four to six weeks due to a muscle injury.