Mexico took on Iceland on Wednesday night in a match you may have forgotten about. After all, it's not on an international date so both teams were at half-strength, plus it was on a bumpy field that was way too narrow, seven weeks before either plays a competitive match. But it was an opportunity for some people to boost their stock, especially on Mexico's side as El Tri rolled to a 1-0 win.
Who made a nice case for themselves ahead of the resumption of World Cup qualifying in March?
Giovani dos Santos
It wasn't too long ago that dos Santos couldn't get a look under Juan Carlos Osorio and it looked like he would never get back in the Mexico team. But he's been called in for every match since October and played well in every one. That includes Wednesday, when he could have been more clinical with his finishing, but was the team's best creative player and hit a gorgeous free kick in to set up El Tri's lone goal.
Kelvin KuoKelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
It'd been nearly three years since Pulido last scored for Mexico, but there he was finding the net against Iceland. It was a good header from the striker, who didn't do anything special all match, just simply worked hard and kept getting a half-step away from his marker. On another night he could have had two or three goals. The Mexico forward crop is deep, but Pulido is hanging around with that group.
The night stared with a celebration of Marquez's 20 (!!) years with the national team and then continued with the defender essentially serving as the team's quarterback. He was the one sitting deep, getting on the ball first and spraying it around to initiate the team's attack. It's not a new role for him -- Osorio has used him like that before -- but the more he does it, the more you have to believe that Marquez isn't going anywhere. Marquez may be turned 38 years old next week, but he's very much a key member of this Mexico team still and has a good chance of making his fifth World Cup next year.
It's not easy being a young Mexico attacker. The country has so many that not only are the veterans tough to pass up, but just become the best of the up-and-comers a lot to ask. On this night, Damm was the best of the kids, though. He was dangerous when he found space -- which wasn't often because the small field meant there was no space for anyone -- but he also showed some craftiness when he was surrounded by defenders. Most important was his defensive work, though. It's not something that makes Damm a standout, but it was exceptional against Iceland and something a manager like Juan Carlos Osorio puts a lot of value in.
Juan Carlos Osorio
The Mexico manager's seat wasn't hot heading into the match, but we saw last year how quickly the El Tri boss can find himself on the verge of being fired. Any good will he can build up is useful because, especially with this Mexico team, who knows what's next. Osorio didn't have his best squad available to him, and they were on a small, bumpy pitch, but they still bossed the match and walked away with a win. That's a little more good will he might need one day.