Gringo Report preview: Castillo, Tijuana host Toluca
GUADALAJARA, Mexico — A few Americans playing south of the Rio Grande may well be disappointed after missing out on a call-up to the US squad for the Feb. 29 friendly against Italy, but their domestic leagues rumble on with a full set of fixtures set for this weekend.
Despite missing out on the US squad, Edgar Castillo's return to the sort of form he showed at Santos Laguna has turned heads this season, and he will be hoping to continue when Club Tijuana take on Toluca at home on Saturday (10 pm ET, Azteca America). Unbeaten in three straight, the Xolos can continue their climb up the table with a result against los Diablos Rojos, whom they trail by a single point.
If press reports coming out of Tijuana are to be believed, Joe Corona is set to start again for the Xolos, who defeated Chivas USA 5-2 in a friendly San Diego on Wednesday, before he jets off to join the US U-23 squad in Texas for next week's game against Mexico.
Michael Orozco Fiscal's San Luis have been plagued by negative press regarding not paying players, and will be looking for their first win in five when they take on Atlas on Saturday (8 pm ET, Galavision). The Orange, Calif., native was an unused substitute last weekend for the first time this season.
The only US national team call-up based in Mexico, José Francisco Torres and his Pachuca team have a tough test on Saturday against champions Tigres UANL, where Jonathan Bornstein is patiently waiting for his first minutes of the season (8 pm ET, TeleFutura).
DaMarcus Beasley has to wait for another opportunity to add to his 96 US caps, and will travel north with Puebla for a tricky game against CONCACAF Champions League holders Monterrey on Saturday (6 pm ET, Univision).
Herculez Gomez's high-flying Santos Laguna, meanwile, play a crisis-stricken Chivas de Guadalajara on Sunday (6 pm ET, Telemundo), while Sonny Guadarrama's Atlante host Club América in Cancún (Saturday, 10 pm ET, TeleFutura).
Just south in Guatemala, Jeff Cunningham's Comunicaciones face Suchitepéquez on Sunday (noon ET), while further south in Chile, goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer will be hoping to debut for Universidad de Concepción in an important game away at Colo Colo on Saturday (4:15 pm ET).
In Bolivia, Alejandro Meleán's Oriente Petrolero play on the road against Aurora (Sunday, 3 pm ET).
In Mexico's second division, Marco Vidal's Club León face Irapuato (Saturday, 8 pm ET), while Jesus Padilla's La Piedad host Isaac Acuña's Mérida (Sunday, 1:30 pm ET).
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America. He can be reached via email@example.com