Gringo Report preview: Gómez on hunt for more
Our American legion of futbolistas continue plying their trade south of the border during another busy weekend of action. With just three fixtures left in the Mexican Primera División, teams are in full scramble for playoff positions. Down a flight in the Liga de Ascenso, just two matches remain before the liguilla is set. So fire up that grill, grab a hold of some chips and salsa, sit back and tune in.
MEXICAN PRIMERA DIVISIÓN
Jaguares de Chiapas (3-9-2) vs. Tigres UANL (7-2-5)
American: Jonathan Bornstein (TIG)
Saturday, 6 pm ET, ESPN Deportes/TV Azteca
With three games left to play in the regular season, Bornstein and third-place Tigres travel to Chiapas to take on last-place Jaguares with the hope that a win will give them an early ticket to the playoffs.
A mismatch on paper – especially considering that Tigres are fresh off a rout of Pachuca – the visitors look poised to obtain a relatively easy three points, as Jaguares will likely now give the Copa Libertadores their full focus with a critical final group match coming up.
Bornstein took the field for a handful of minutes during the midweek match and looks poised to again take the bunch in a possible sub role.
Chivas de Guadalajara (6-2-6) vs. Santos (5-7-2)
American: Miguel Ángel Ponce (CHI)
Saturday, 8 pm ET, Telemundo
It’s a classic six-point swing on the line when Ponce and Chivas open the doors of Estadio Omnilife to host Group 1 rivals Santos. Having won their last four matches, los Rojiblancos enter the contest with some serious steam built up and on the verge of securing a playoff spot. Santos, though, come in with a streak of their own, winning two of their last three.
Ponce put in a full shift in a midweek win against Toluca, showing he’s fully recovered from a leg injury. With Chivas stalwart Jonny Magallón out with an injury, the American looks likely to suit up at left back.
Pachuca (4-6-4) vs. Atlas (4-5-5)
Americans: José Francisco Torres, Hérculez Gómez (PAC)
Saturday, 8 pm ET, Galavisión
In another match between group rivals, Pachuca prepare to play rude hosts to Atlas, as both teams hang on to a glimmer of playoff hopes. With a point separating the two sides holding up the rear of Group 2, a loss here could end liguilla aspirations for one of the two.
Los Tuzos enter the match with a huge boost in confidence having won two of their last three. Gómez, in particular, is on hot form. The US international has netted three times in the last two games – both as a sub – which could earn him a start.
Gómez's teammate, Torres, had the midweek match off. But after Pachuca’s failure to create many scoring threats last time out, the American midfielder is poised for a start.
Pumas UNAM (8-1-5) vs. Querétaro (4-7-3)
American: Isaác Acuña (QUE)
Sunday, 1 pm ET, Telemundo
The fight for Mexican Primera survival seems like it’s going down to the wire for Querétaro, who failed to get a much-needed victory on Wednesday to secure their stay in the top flight. To make things a little more difficult for los Gallos Blancos, Group 3 rivals and league-leading Pumas UNAM are on tap.
Luckily for the home side, Acuña looks set for his second start in as many games after coming back from injury. The attacking midfielder is second on the team in goals scored and will prove a valuable asset in his team’s effort to stay among the big boys.
MEXICAN LIGA DE ASCENSO
León (8-2-4) vs. Pumas Morelos (5-8-1)
American: Marco Vidal (LEO)
Saturday, 9 p.m. ET, clubleon-fc.com
With two games left in the season, León have already assured their participation in the playoffs. However, at just two points from league-leading Irapuato, los Panzas Verdes will look to bounce back from last week’s loss to beat Pumas and finish the regular season strong.
Vidal has been a staple in León’s midfield, helping the club put together a successful season. He should be back in the center of the pitch sweeping in front of the defense for this game.
Best of the Rest:
Mexican Primera: Puebla (Édgar Castillo) vs. Cruz Azul, 8 pm ET, FOX Deportes/TV Azteca
Mexican Primera: Atlante (Sonny Guadarrama) vs. Necaxa, 10 pm ET, Galavisión
Mexican Primera: Estudiantes (Daniel Atúnez, Samuel Ochoa) vs. América, 6 pm ET, TeleFutura
Liga de Ascenso: Tijuana (Joe Corona) vs. Indios, Sunday, 4 pm ET
Liga Postobón: América de Cali (Diego Restrepo) vs. Once Caldas, Saturday, 4:30 pm ET