Gringo Report Preview: Bornstein, Tigres fight for playoff lives

It’ll be an action-packed Saturday for our American legion of futbolistas plying their trade south of the border, as fellow Yanks face off in the Mexican Primera División quarterfinals and the Liga de Ascenso semifinals. So fire up that grill, grab a horchata, sit back and tune in.

MEXICAN PRIMERA DIVISIÓN

Tigres UANL (1) vs. Guadalajara (3)
Americans: Jonathan Bornstein (TIG); Miguel Ángel Ponce
Saturday, 8 pm ET, Telemundo

The second leg of the Clausura 2011 quarterfinals kicks off with a battle between fellow Americans. While each saw action on Wednesday, it was Ponce who, as an early first-half substitute, helped Chivas blaze through Tigres’ usually strong defense en route to a 3-1 win.

With the return leg at home, Bornstein – who entered and left last match in the second half – and Tigres will need to win by three goals if they want to advance directly, and two if they want to push the match into overtime.

Ponce is bound to get the starting nod after Johnny Magallón suffered another setback, and after drawing the penalty for Chivas’ third goal, the left back is a man the home team will be on the lookout for.

Atlante (1) vs. Cruz Azul (2)
American: Sonny Guadarrama (ATL)
Saturday, 10 pm ET, TeleFutura

Guadarrama and Atlante fell 2-1 away at Cruz Azul last Wednesday, but they managed to keep La Máquina from scoring any more despite being down a man. While a goal down in the aggregate-goals series, things look good for los Potros as they host the second leg at home, where they won five out of eight games this season.

The Austin, Texas-born Guadarrama saw very limited action in the first leg, but he could come off the bench in this one should Atlante need a pair of fresh legs in the second half.

MEXICAN LIGA DE ASCENSO

León (0) vs. Tijuana (1)
Americans: Marco Vidal (LEO); Joe Corona (TIJ)
Saturday, 9 pm ET, http://www.clubleon-fc.com

Defending champions Tijuana, who will have a shot at promotion at season’s end, edged out León in their midweek clash, 1-0, as the series now heads over to los Esmeradas’ home for the deciding second leg.

Table-toppers León, who had the tournament’s top offense, are bound to claw and scratch away as they fight for their chance to lift the Clausura trophy, and with it, a shot at a long-desired return to the top flight.

Vidal should slot back into León starting lineup after entering Wednesday’s first leg as a second-half sub. He’ll be looking to hold down Xolos starting midfielder Corona, who’s a constant attacking threat that provides great service into the box.