Gonzalez Battle vs. Mexico

As the sun rises on a new Liga MX season, Jonathan Gonzalez looks to build on a stellar 2017 Apertura campaign with Monterrey, in which he proved himself to be not only one of the league’s rising stars but also one of its top players, period.

For those not familiar with Gonzalez, the 18-year-old California-born midfielder established himself as one of the more consistent, reliable players in all of Liga MX while starting regularly for league power Monterrey.

Los Rayados wound up losing to Tigres in the playoff final and winning Copa MX, and Gonzalez rose to prominence, being declared as a league Best XI performer all while increasing his appeal for the international level with his stout play in central midfield.

He’s played for the USA on the youth level sparingly before, which is why, according to Goal.com, he would need to apply for a one-time FIFA switch if he is to play for Mexico, even in a friendly such as the one El Tri is playing in late January against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The argument could be made that he should have been tabbed for the October qualifiers after a couple of months of impressive play, but, like in the case of Schalke rising star Weston McKennie, Arena was never going to turn the midfield keys over to players he’d never coached before for the most important games of the cycle.