Gringo Report preview: Beasley, Puebla chase playoff spots
GUADALAJARA, Mexico — After 16 tough rounds of matches in Mexico's Apertura 2011, only Chivas de Guadalajara have done enough to book their place in the postseason, with the other places to be decided this weekend.
DaMarcus Beasley was called up to the US national team to face France and Slovenia next week, but his Puebla side has a vital game before the three-time World Cup veteran jets off to the other side of the pond.
Puebla sit in 10th position and need to beat Jonathan Bornstein's Tigres UANL to have any hope of the playoffs (Sunday, 1 pm ET, Azteca America). Three points will mean La Franja's passage is dependent on teams above slipping up, while Tigres only need a tie.
Fellow US call-up Michael Orozco Fiscal's San Luis takes on USMNT wanna-be Diego de la Torre's Toluca (Saturday, 10:45 pm ET, TeleFutura), with the Gladiadores needing a win and other results to miraculously fall for them to move up into eighth.
Miguel Ángel Ponce is back from winning the Pan American Games gold with Mexico and will likely feature for Chivas against Pachuca on Saturday (9 pm ET, Telemundo). Los Tuzos need a win to guarantee a playoff place, although a tie should suffice.
Club América are a long way from the playoffs and will play city rivals Cruz Azul on Saturday (7 pm ET, Azteca America). Edgar Castillo is still looking for his first minutes under Alfredo Tena, while Isaac Acuña will be hoping for playing time after missing out on the US U-23 training camp.
One man who did make it with Caleb Porter's U-23s is Club Tijuana's Joe Corona. The 21-year-old travels with his relegation-threatened side to Mexico City to take on champions Pumas UNAM (Sunday, 1 pm ET, Telemundo).
Herculez Gomez's Estudiantes Tecos are bottom of the relegation table and in need of points against Querétaro (Saturday, 7 pm, TeleFutura).
Sonny Guadarrama's Atlante plays Monterrey on Saturday (7 pm ET, Telemundo).
In the second division, Marco Vidal and Club León take on Dorados de Sinaloa (Saturday, 10 pm ET).
Further south, Diego Chávarri´s Sporting Cristal play away at CN Iquitos (Sunday, 7:15 ET) in the Peruvian league and Diego Restrepo´s América de Cali face Chicó (Sunday, 4:30 pm ET) in Colombia.
Tom Marshall can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org