American Exports: Jose Torres, Tigres clinch top spot in playoffs, will face archrivals Monterrey
GUADALAJARA, Mexico – The regular season of the Liga MX is over, and there will be a healthy presence of Americans featuring in the playoffs.
Jose Torres and his Tigres UANL side finished in first place in the 2013 Clausura thanks to a 2-0 win over Club América at Estadio Azteca on Saturday. “El Gringo” (above) went the full 90 minutes in a solid performance, linking the midfield with the attack well and helping his side dominate possession.
The victory means Tigres face crosstown archrivals Monterrey in the quarterfinals of the liguilla, which kicks off Wednesday. Despite finishing in ninth place, the three-time CONCACAF champions clinch the final spot in the postseason over eighth-place Querétaro, who are disqualified from the playoffs due to their relegation.
Over at Estadio Tecnológico, 19-year-old Texan forward Alonso Hernandez came on at halftime in los Rayados’ 5-1 loss to Cruz Azul, also on Saturday. Hernandez almost made an immediate impact when he turned a defender and shot against the post from a tight angle.
Herculez Gomez came on in the 63rd minute on Saturday for Santos Laguna, but the Guerreros couldn’t bounce back from the disappointment of losing the CONCACAF Champions League final and fell 2-1 in Estadio Corona to Morelia.
Gomez came close to scoring a memorable goal in the 72nd minute when his overhead kick was saved by ‘keeper Federico Vilar. Santos meet Atlas in the quarterfinals.
Club Tijuana didn’t make the playoffs, but ended the domestic season in style on Friday with a 4-0 win over Chivas, with Edgar Castillo going the full 90 minutes and Joe Corona coming on for the last 15 minutes. Up next for Xolos is their second leg of the Copa Libertadores Round of 16 against Palmeiras down in São Paulo on May 14.
In Brazil, Freddy Adu wasn’t involved as Bahia defeated Juazeiro 1-0 on Sunday to go through to the final of the Baiano championship.
Up in Costa Rica, Moises Hernandez played the full game for Saprissa in their 0-0 home draw on Sunday with Herediano, which guaranteed “The Purple Monster” a place in the postseason.
Finaly, in El Salvador, Derby Carrillo started for Santa Tecla in their 2-1 loss to Firpo on Saturday. The result means Carrillo’s team falls out of the playoff places.
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.