CARSON, Calif. – Jonathan Dos Santos burnished his credentials in front of Mexico national team coach Juan Carlos Osorio on Friday night, while his big brother Giovani showed that's he's healthy and, with a little more fitness work, ready to go.
Whether that's enough to get both LA Galaxy midfielders from El Tri's 27-man preliminary World Cup roster to the final 23-player list, only Osorio and his staff know for sure. But the Dos Santos brothers surely didn't harm their cause in a 1-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes at StubHub Center on Friday.
In town for Mexico's Memorial Day friendly with Wales at the Rose Bowl, Osorio watched from a luxury suite as Jona, a box-to-box midfielder with impressive versatility, put in a fine 90-minute stint as a No. 10 and then a No. 8. Gio, an attacker capable of the sublime, played 15 minutes off the bench in his return from a hamstring strain that sidelined him for two matches.
The brothers joined the Mexico contingent after the game, and although they are unlikely to play a major role against Wales, both hope to impress against Scotland next Saturday at Estadio Azteca.
Osorio's presence added no pressure to the event, Jona said afterward.
“I know that he knows me, and I don't have to prove anything to him,” said Jona, making his fourth appearance and third straight start since coming back from a calf strain in early May. “He knows what I can offer, and I know I still have a lot to improve. I'm getting back to 100 percent my level. It's my second game with 90 minutes, and more than that I'm continuing to demonstrate, continuing to gain confidence little by little, and we'll be good.”
Giovani missed four and a half games with a hamstring injury earlier in the season. He was impressive in his 15 minutes on Friday, completing all seven of his passes, including one key pass.
“I'm happy because we know that we had both suffered from injury, which ultimately is the worst thing that can happen to a player, because it cuts your progression short,” Jona said. “We had some time without playing together, so we're happy [to both be on the field]. I'm pleased for my brother, because he starts to have his minutes. He played well, and what is important is the mental aspect.
“We’re happy to get back to playing together, for getting the three points and continuing with this confidence. [It's true that] the whole technical staff from the national team was here, but either way, even if they weren't here, we have to play well every game.”
Jona was on Mexico's 2010 preliminary World Cup roster but didn't make the final list, and wasn't considered for the 2014 tournament because of injury. Gio started every match, mostly as a second forward, for Mexico in the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.
Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid is hopeful both make it to Russia.
“I think Jonathan's playing very well. When he's healthy, he's an important player to our team,” Schmid said. “Gio's still coming back off the injury. He basically had one sort of real training, so I didn't want to play him too many minutes. I didn't want to put him into a danger spot, but we felt [with the score] being 0-0 [in the 75th minute], he could be the guy that can playmake.
“Gio's important [for our team], and what he did well before he got injured is he was taking over more of that playmaker role. Wasn't playing as much as a second forward, but actually dropping a little bit [and] playmaking. He had people he could play forward to, and that's what we need him to continue to do.”
Jona said he and Gio would be ready for the Cup if chosen for the squad.
“We are hoping to be able to secure our ticket to Russia,” he said. “We have been dreaming about this for a very long time. The most important thing if to stay healthy. Giovani finally had some minutes, and I am also regaining my level of play. We are 20 days from the World Cup, and I think that we will both be 100 percent.”