American Exports: Freddy Adu finally gets his first start in Brazil

Freddy Adu, Bahia

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of Esporte Clube Bahia

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Freddy Adu started his first game in Brazil on Wednesday, putting in a positive performance as Bahia drew 0-0 with Portuguesa to advance 2-1 on aggregate to the Round of 16 phase of the Copa Sudamericana.

The 24-year-old American left the field to applause in the 70th minute after appearing to go down with a cramp.

In a game played mainly in the midfield and with both teams fielding reserve lineups – with one eye on this Saturday’s clash between the two in the Brasileiro – Adu was somewhat of a spark for Bahia, though neither side created many opportunities.

Bahia will play Colombia’s Atlético Nacional in the Copa Sudamericana Round of 16.

In the CONCACAF Champions League, Club Tijuana defeated El Salvador’s Firpo 1-0 inside the Estadio Caliente on Wednesday to move to seven points from three games in Group 7 and within touching distance of a place in next year’s quarterfinals.

Greg Garza went the full 90 as a left wingback, getting through a lot of work up and down the flank.

The 21-year-old had a golden chance in the 63rd minute when he scuffed a shot over the bar from inside the penalty area after Paul Arriola had burst past three defenders and sent a low cross into Garza’s path.

Arriola – who also played the full game – featured as a No. 10 in the first half, dropping off the frontline well to conduct attacks, but was shifted to the right wing for the second half in another positive performance for the 18-year-old.

The youngster was quick to pounce on a defensive error in the 72nd, but shot wide of the near post from a tight angle.

Joe Corona also got minutes for Xolos, playing in a central midfield role before making way for goalscorer Fidel Martinez in the 59th.

The US international had a good opportunity two minutes before halftime, but shot from 20 yards instead of sliding in teammates that would’ve been free on goal.

In the Copa MX, Jesus Padilla went 90 minutes for Dorados in their 2-1 loss at Chivas and had a good chance when he was one-on-one with Hugo Hernández in the first half, but couldn’t steer the ball past the ‘keeper from a tight angle.

Also in Group 6, Necaxa lost 1-0 at home against León on Tuesday, with Ventura Alvarado going 90 minutes and Sonny Guadarrama coming on for the final 12.

With the results, both Dorados and Nexaca are out of the Copa MX with two rounds of matches to play.

In Group 1, California-born Ernest Nungaray completed the full game in Correcaminos’ 1-1 draw against Puebla to leave his team his side in second place in the group.

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