CARSON, Calif.—Giovani Dos Santos believes he's got something to prove to Mexico national team interim head coach Ricardo Ferretti, and figures his best chance to do so will come in the LA Galaxy's vital Western Conference showdowns Sunday against FC Dallas (9:30 pm ET; FS1) and the following weekend at Seattle.
Dos Santos is on Ferretti's 32-man preliminary roster for the October 10th CONCACAF Cup playoff against the United States at the Rose Bowl, but after being omitted from El Tricolor friendlies earlier this month against Trinidad and Tobago and Argentina, dos Santos understands nothing is certain.
“For me, it's always a dream come true to go to the national team, so I don't know,” said dos Santos, following the Galaxy's training session Friday morning at StubHub Center – his first session with local media since August 26. “It's just a pre-release, and, hopefully, I can be on the final list.”
The 26-year-old represented his country at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, also playing in his third CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer, although he was nursing an injury when Mexico claimed the title from Jamaica.
Ferretti was brought on as interim coach when Miguel Herrera was dismissed after punching a TV commentator at Philadelphia's airport the day after the Gold Cup final.
Dos Santos' omission from Ferretti's September roster – and that of his younger brother, Jonathan – was widely considered punishment for showing support for Herrera on Twitter; veteran goalkeeper Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa, seen as a Herrera loyalist, also wasn't included. Ferretti denied that account earlier this month.
“There is no disciplinary reason,” said Ferretti, at a news conference ahead of Mexico's September 4 draw with Trinidad and Tobago in Sandy, Utah. “I have the right to choose the group, and you [in the media] have the right to criticize it. Maybe in the future I'll decide to change the list, and the criticism will continue.”
Mexico drew both matches, 3-3 against Trinidad and Tobago and 2-2 with Argentina four days later in Arlington, Texas.
The games served as preparation for the CONCACAF Cup, which will determine the region's representative at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia, a tournament considered a dry run for the subsequent World Cup.
Dos Santos didn't address the omission Thursday – further inquiries cut off after two minutes – but said his performances in the upcoming games against second-place Dallas (even on points with LA, but ahead on the total-wins tiebreaker) and rival Sounders will prove critical.
He's looking to impress after subdued showings in the Galaxy's past three games: a 1-0 loss at San Jose, 0-0 home draw with Montreal, and last weekend's 3-0 loss at Real Salt Lake.
“I know I have to do very good games before that game [against the U.S.],” dos Santos said. “Hopefully, I can show what I can bring to my national team.”
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Ferretti must submit his 23-man game roster by October 1.
Dos Santos has three goals and five assists – including four game-winning assists – in eight MLS and CONCACAF Champions League appearances for the Galaxy; he contributed a goal or assist (or both), in his first five games with the club. Used primarily up front with Robbie Keane or on the right side of midfield, there is debate on where LA are better served with him and Gyasi Zardes, who also plays at forward and on the right flank.
Dos Santos exited the September 12 game against Montreal at halftime with what the club called “groin soreness,” then played into the 77th minute last weekend in Utah.
“I feel better," dos Santos said. "We've been training this week very hard [while the reserves were in Trinidad for Wednesday night's CCL draw with Central FC], and we are fit, and I'm fit. I feel well playing on the right side and attacking just behind Keane, but I feel very good [at either spot].”