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American Exports: World Cup hopefuls feature as Tijuana edge Cruz Azul in CCL play

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Three Americans looking to break into Jurgen Klinsmann’s US squad for the World Cup were involved for Club Tijuana in the semifinal first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League on Tuesday, as Xolos overcame fellow Liga MX outfit Cruz Azul by a 1-0 scoreline at Estadio Caliente.

Edgar Castillo (above) started and completed the 90 minutes at left back for Tijuana, making regular and dangerous bursts down the left flank in the offensive third.

Midfielder Joe Corona, also a starter, created a golden opportunity in the 62nd minute, when he fed Cristián Pellerano inside the box, but the Argentine’s shot was blocked.

Corona was taken off in the 65th, with Herculez Gomez the other American involved when he came on for the last three minutes of the match.

Greg Garza was an unused substitute.

Tijuana’s goal came in the 73rd when Pellerano converted a penalty to put the conquerors of the LA Galaxy one goal up ahead of the second leg on April 9 in Mexico City.

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