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American Exports: Paul Arriola, Club Tijuana bag road draw in CONCACAF Champions League debut

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Club Tijuana played Luis Ángel Firpo of El Salvador to a scoreless road draw in their CONCACAF Champions League debut on Tuesday night, and four Americans helped grab the point at Estadio Custcatlán.

Former LA Galaxy Academy forward Paul Arriola made his first start for Xolos, switching between the left and right flanks during the 90 minutes.

Arriola (above) regularly looked threatening for Tijuana and had a decent opportunity in the 39th minute, when the 19-year-old cut the ball inside from the left wing and fired at shot straight into the arms of El Salvador national team No. 1 Dagoberto Portillo.

Joe Corona started in central midfield and went 56 minutes in a quiet game in the country of his mother’s birth. He was booed off the field when he was substituted, presumably for his decision to play for the United States national team and not El Salvador.

Edgar Castillo was the other American starter at left back and was especially involved in the second half, when the speedy defender pushed forward and caused problems. Castillo wasn’t too far off from stealing a winner just before the end, with a left foot shot that sailed a couple of yards wide of the post.

Finally, Greg Garza entered the fray in the 83rd for Fernando Arce and played in a central midfield position, winning a free kick late on near the penalty area that Xolos should’ve done better with.

Tijuana’s next Group 7 game is a road trip to face Honduran side CD Victoria on Aug. 20.

Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. Contact him at tom.marshall.mex@gmail.com.