Gringo Report: Acuña, Castillo continue fine preseason form

Portland's Peter Lowry wrestles with America's Isaac Acuna for possession.

Photo Credit: 
Craig Mitchelldyer/Portland Timbers

GUADALAJARA, Mexico — With teams building up to the crescendo that is the start of the new season, fine-tuning tactics and conditioning are the name of the game as we take a look at how Yanks South of the Border are doing in preseason friendlies.

Southern Californian Adrian Ruelas was among the goalscorers for Jaguares de Chiapas in a preseason friendly against Club Neza, netting twice on July 5 in a 3-3 tie.

On Wednesday morning, Jaguares played against fellow Primera División team Puebla FC, but the tall 20-year-old, who is fighting for a place in the US Olympic squad, did not feature. Ruelas didn’t play in Jaguares' 2-1 recent victory over Estudiantes either.

Jaguares play the Xoloitzcuintles of Club Tijuana on Saturday in their final preseason outing.

DaMarcus Beasley did not play for Puebla in Thursday’s game against Lobos BUAP because of an upset stomach, but started the friendly against Jaguares.

The three-time World Cup veteran scored on his unofficial debut for Puebla and, according to Mexican press reports and barring the stomach problem, has been in fine form ahead of the team’s opening game away at Atlas on July 23.

Puebla’s final warm-up game is Saturday against Pumas Morelos.

Fan favorite Herculez Gomez is playing in his parents' home state of Jalisco with Guadalajara-based team Estudiantes Tecos and is confident about the upcoming season.

“We are a good team, we know we will be playing for our lives in the Primera División during the upcoming tournament and we want to do a good job,” Gómez told Guadalajara daily El Informador.

Gómez, 29, started Wednesday’s warm-up game against Dorados de Sinaloa but didn’t get on the score sheet. Reports in the Mexican press suggest some Tecos players have not been paid recently, although club directors say they are resolving the situation.

Out last season on loan with Querétaro, Isaac Acuña has continued his fine preseason form for Club América. The 21-year-old from Calexico, Calif. (pictured above at right), assisted a Daniel Márquez goal for América in the team’s 3-1 win over Monarcas Morelia in Phoenix.

On Wednesday, the striker came on as a substitute and managed to grab a goal as las Águilas beat Atlas 2-1 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. América next play Manchester City on Saturday in San Francisco in the World Football Challenge (8 pm ET, TeleFutura).

Teammate Edgar Castillo started in the win over Atlas and played more than 60 minutes in the América’s victory over Morelia.

Following the Atlas friendly, the 24-year-old New Mexico native again stated his desire to get back into the US national team and said he could do a great job at left back. Who knows how his controversial comments will be received by the honchos at US Soccer.

Michael Orozco Fiscal, meanwhile, started for San Luis against Santos Laguna on Wednesday night before being taken off at halftime. The game ended in a 1-1 tie. San Luis close their preseason against Liga de Ascenso side Correcaminos on Friday before starting the Apertura 2011 against Pumas on July 24. 

Ernest Nungaray’s Morelia may have lost against both América and Pumas in the past week but the 19-year-old attacker got playing time in both games. Against América, the National City, Calif., native came on as a sub and started against Pumas.

For the youngster accustomed to U-20 soccer with Morelia, the game time is a good sign for potential future first-team appearances.

Twenty-five-year-old Marco Vidal has been getting plenty of preseason minutes under his belt for Club León and looks set to be a starter. The Liga de Ascenso starts one week after the Primera División on July 29. León face Correcaminos away on July 30.

In Peru, Sporting Cristal’s Diego Chávarri was unable to prevent his team going out of the Torneo Intermedio in the semifinal. Going into the game 1-0 down from the first leg against José Gálvez, the New York City-born winger told the Sporting website he was confident that the team could overturn the deficit.

In the second leg Wednesday, 22-year-old Chávarri started for Sporting but the team could only manage a 1-1 tie.

Tom Marshall can be reached at tom.marshall.mex@gmail.com or via Twitter: @mexicoworldcup