Evaluating Pan Am performances 

October, 27, 2011

For what it's worth, Mexico is through to the final of the Pan American Games after a thorough 3-0 victory over Costa Rica on Wednesday night. With a few ups and downs, Luis Tena's side has made progressively easier work of a series of under-strength opponents, as the coach figures out his strongest lineup.

A Costa Rican team of mostly U-20s (Costa Rica's Olympic team was busy this week with a playoff to get to the Olympic qualifying tournament) hardly provided a test, as Mexico again had things all its way. Now, El Tri will be heavily favored to take the gold over a second-string Argentine under-20 team in the final Friday.

It may not amount to much -- as the competition has drawn on, the difference in level between Mexico's Olympic team, supplemented by three key over-age players, and everyone else has become painfully clear. Given those circumstances, Mexico not winning the gold would be the only surprise. But the games have still provided a chance to observe a number of players with a shot to improve their standing on El Tri's Olympic team.

Here's a look at whose stock has improved, and whose has taken a hit, over the last week in Guadalajara:

Brent Latham is a soccer commentator who covers the youth national teams for ESPN.com. Based in Guatemala, he has attended youth World Cups from Peru to Egypt, and places in between.