Mexico's Jonathan dos Santos (pictured) meets with the media at a CONCACAF Gold Cup press conference on July 21, 2015, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. (Photo: Mexsport)
ATLANTA -- If there is one thing Mexico’s opponents have learned at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, it’s if one dos Santos brother doesn't get you, then the other will probably get the job done.
With the injured Giovani dos Santos sidelined for Sunday’s 1-0 quarterfinal win over Costa Rica, younger brother Jonathan stepped to the forefront.
Jonathan is expected to start for the Mexicans against Panama in the semifinals at the Georgia Dome on Wednesday night. Giovani’s availability isn’t as certain.
The 25-year-old Jonathan has earned the starting spot at the holding midfield position, keeping the capable Jose Juan Vazquez on the bench.
“I'm very happy with his attitude,” said head coach Miguel Herrera, referring to Jonathan through a translator at a Tuesday press conference. “He controls the ball well. He's got good distribution and he has won the position. Obviously, he has showed a lot of determination and has stuck with it. He has done things very well here at the Gold Cup.
“When he got onto the field, he hasn't let Vazquez back onto the field. Jona took advantage of his moment. Football is about taking advantage of the chances that you get and Jona has done that."
Jonathan has embraced playing the holding midfield role, which he considers his natural position, even though he plays the right side for Villarreal in Spain’s La Liga.
"I feel well playing at the holding midfield," he said. "It's my natural position. I've always played there. It's what I'm used to. It's true at Villarreal I play a little bit on the right, but I feel very good playing as a holding midfielder.”
As for Giovani, 26, Herrera admitted he was not as sure to whether the talented attacker will start against the Canaleros.
Giovani returned Tuesday to training after missing the victory over Costa Rica with an adductor injury that he suffered in a 4-4 draw with Trinidad & Tobago on July 15.
"He's doing well. He's recovered," Herrera said. "Today, I spoke with him. He trained for the first time and he told me he was 100 percent, so we'll definitely consider him and take him into the account for the match."