Mexico Hot List: 'Chicharito' cruising, Chivas stars soar as Ochoa struggles

Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio will use friendlies against New Zealand (Oct. 8) and Panama (Oct. 11) as preparation for a crunch meeting with the United States in the Hexagonal round of World Cup qualifying on Nov. 11.

That said, Osorio must soon solidify his best options for El Tri. Employing a roster primarily filled with fringe options for the October call-up, it's clear that the manager wants to take one last look at backup players who could fight for a spot on next month's squad.

Keeping this in mind, let's take a look at some of the recent best and worst performances from noteworthy Mexican players.

Warming up

Isaac Brizuela, MF, Chivas (Mexico)

Why he's here: Brizuela scored Chivas' second goal in a 2-1 victory at home over Morelia on Saturday. The winger's strike was his fourth in his past six league games.

What this means: He has a great opportunity to keep up this momentum for El Tri after being named in Osorio's squad for the October friendlies. Good performances against New Zealand and Panama could be enough to earn a role for next month's qualifiers.

Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, FW, Bayer Leverkusen (Germany)

Why he's here: Hernandez has been on fire for Bayer Leverkusen. After scoring in a 1-1 Champions League draw with Monaco midweek and on Saturday in a 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund, the striker now has five goals in his past three matches in all competitions.

What this means: After a thrilling start to the season, a place on Osorio's November roster is all but guaranteed. Considering the striker is now just two goals away from becoming El Tri's all-time leading goal scorer, all eyes will be on the 28-year-old next month against the U.S.

Carlos Vela, FW, Real Sociedad (Spain)

Why he's here: Vela scored the winner in Real Sociedad's 1-0 victory over Real Betis on Friday. The striker has gradually regained a starting spot with his club and has two goals in his past three matches.

What this means: If the 27-year-old continues this form, he has a great chance of sneaking onto November's roster. Although he was overlooked for this month's friendlies, Osorio might not pass up an opportunity to use a player who is finding the back of the net in Spain.

Jesus Gallardo, MF, Pumas (Mexico)

Why he's here: Gallardo provided the assist for Pumas' game-winning goal on Sunday in a 1-0 win over Chiapas. The 22-year-old has two goals and three assists for the Mexico City club this season.

What this means: Gallardo is a promising player and one Osorio recently selected to replace the injured Angel Sepulveda. That said, it's fair to wonder whether the call-up was too soon for the up-and-coming option who recently found a starting role for Pumas.

Alan Pulido, FW, Chivas (Mexico)

Why he's here: Pulido was vital for Chivas last weekend. The striker provided a goal and an assist in Saturday's win against Morelia. The goal was his second in his past four matches.

What this means: Osorio raised a few eyebrows when he selected the Chivas player for the October roster. Due to his signing in late August, Pulido has only a handful of games under his belt this season. However, a couple of goals for Mexico this month could lead to an important spot with El Tri in November.

Cooling Down

Guillermo Ochoa, GK, Granada (Spain)

Why he's here: Ochoa received plenty of criticism after Saturday's 1-0 loss to Leganes. Although he has racked up numerous saves, the goalkeeper hasn't been able to do much for his club, which currently sits in last place in La Liga.

What this means: Unfortunately for the goalkeeper, Granada's worrisome defense will continue to lead to tough matches for the rest of the campaign. It would be shocking if he did not receive a call-up for November's qualifiers, but there are no guarantees that he will start in net.

Carlos Esquivel, MF, Toluca (Mexico)

Why he's here: After an exciting start to the season, Esquivel has looked more quiet than usual in the past few weeks for Toluca. The 34-year-old emerged empty-handed from Saturday night's 3-1 loss to Necaxa.

What this means: During most of 2015, Esquivel was an important rotation player for the Mexico national team. But now it's no surprise that Osorio left him off the October roster. At the moment, El Tri has far too many players ahead of Esquivel in the depth chart.

Juan Carlos Medina, MF, Club Tijuana (Mexico)

Why he's here: Medina has failed to gain a league start since July. In last Friday's 1-0 victory over Atlas, the midfielder wasn't substituted on until the 90th minute.

What this means: Medina's days with the national team are over. After looking like a key player throughout 2014 and 2015, the 33-year-old is now battling for Liga MX minutes from Xolos' bench. It would be surprising if he was anywhere near Osorio's radar.

Martin Barragan, FW, Atlas (Mexico)

Why he's here: Barragan has gone scoreless in his past six games and has collected only one shot on target during that run. In the loss to Tijuana, the 25-year-old striker played in the last 45 minutes after being left off the initial starting XI.

What this means: If Barragan wishes to return to El Tri, he will need to find the back of the net more frequently. Until then, he will be far behind other options such as Hernandez and Raul Jimenez.