American Exports: Gomez, Cunningham closing on finals

Herculez Gomez (far left)

Photo Credit: 
MEXSPORT

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Only two players are left flying the American flag south of the border this weekend as the Mexican and Guatemalan championships come to a boil.

Herculez Gomez's Santos Laguna took on defending champions Tigres UANL on Thursday evening, coming away from the packed Estadio Universitario with a healthy 1-1 draw in the first leg of their semifinals.

Gomez came on for the last 15 minutes of the game and helped unsettle the Tigres defense as los Guerreros comfortably defended the 1-1 scoreline.

The 2010 World Cup veteran could become the first American to appear in a Primera División final in Mexico since José Francisco Torres in the Clausura 2009 finals. Santos Laguna will be attempting to make their fourth final in the last five seasons in Mexico when they host the second leg Sunday (9 pm ET, Univision Deportes).

Jeff Cunningham is back from injury and played five minutes on Thursday in Comunicaciones' 0-0 tie with archrivals Municipal in the semifinal first leg in Guatemala's first division.

The all-time MLS leading scorer is set to feature in the return leg on Sunday (7 pm ET). If Comunicaciones win the tournament, they qualify for the next edition of the CONCACAF Champions League.

Further south, Alejandro Meleán's Oriente Petrolero take on Nacional Potosí on Sunday in Bolivian league action (4 pm ET).

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