Gringo Report: Ponce advances to Mexican semis
And then there was one.
After an intense weekend of action, Miguel Ángel Ponce remains the lone American left in the Mexican Primera División playoffs, as Guadalajara tied Jonathan Bornstein’s Tigres UANL 1-1 in the second leg of their series to move through to the semifinals on a 4-2 aggregate score line.
Ponce, who earned a yellow card in the 90th minute, took his place on the left side of el Rebaño’s back four as they withstood a first-half onslaught from Tigres before finally caving in on minute 65.
Down just a goal on aggregate, the felines looked to mount a late charge to pull things even, but all hope was killed when Chivas pulled one back in the 79th minute.
Bornstein did not appear in Tigres’ gameday roster.
Ponce and Chivas now move on to face Pumas UNAM in the semifinals. Chivas host the first leg on Thursday night, while Pumas return the favor on Sunday afternoon.
In another quarterfinal, Sonny Guadarrama started and went 68 minutes in midfield as Atlante played to a scoreless draw in the second leg of the series against Cruz Azul. With the result, los Potros fell 2-1 on aggregate and failed to advance to the semifinals.
Atlante charged out of the gates knowing they needed a goal to tie the aggregate score line, which would have seen them through. However, a staunch Cruz Azul defense and a bit of misfortune – Atlante’s best chances on goal hit the crossbar and were saved off the line – kept the home side from finding the net.
Down a flight in the Mexican Liga de Ascenso, Joe Corona put in a full shift at midfield as Tijuana defeated Marco Vidal and eight-man León 2-0 in the second leg – and 3-0 on aggregate – to advance to the finals.
The California native dished out the pass that led to the direct assist in los Xoloitzcuintles' second goal of the night. After receiving a pass on the right flank, Corona sent the ball through to Raúl Enríquez, who redirected it over to Luis Orozco to score in the 67th minute.
Vidal entered the match as a substitute in the 71st minute for a very shorthanded Panzas Verdes side that lost a man to a second yellow card in the 26th minute and two more to straight red cards in the 67th and 69th minutes.
With the result, Corona and Tijuana will have a chance to add the Clausura title to their display case when they meet ex-Chicago Fire attacker Cuauhtémoc Blanco and Irapuato in the two-leg final in dates and times yet to be determined.
Further south, in Colombia, goalkeeper Diego Restrepo wasn’t in América de Cali’s 16-man roster for their 1-0 victory over hated crosstown rivals Deportivo Cali.