American Exports: Tijuana, Pachuca qualify for playoffs
GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Tijuana’s Three Amigos are in. So are José Torres and his Tuzos.
There were no slip-ups for Americans hoping to make the playoffs in Mexico’s first division this weekend, with Club Tijuana fielding three Yanks and making the postseason while Torres’ Pachuca did their job against Guadalajara.
For the second consecutive week, all three Yanks on Tijuana’s first-team roster made the starting lineup, with Edgar Castillo again pushing into a left wing position to allow Greg Garza to slot in at left back on Sunday against Pumas UNAM. Joe Corona (above) started on the right of midfield.
It was a slightly nervous performance from the Xolos in the Estadio Caliente, but they held onto a 1-1 tie to make the playoffs for the first time in their short history and will face Monterrey in the quarterfinal first leg on either Wednesday or Thursday. Garza was brought off at halftime, while Castillo and Corona completed the game.
On Saturday, Torres recovered from inflammation of a muscle in his right thigh to play a full 90 minutes for los Tuzos in their 3-1 victory over Chivas.
Torres supplied the assist for Segundo Castillo’s goal for Pachuca in the 40th minute and shook the post himself with a direct free kick from 25 yards in the 53rd minute.
Torres, a veteran of the Mexican playoffs, and Pachuca will face Club América in the quarterfinals.
DaMarcus Beasley’s Puebla had little to play for, but that didn’t stop them destroying Tigres UANL’s 26-game undefeated run in the Estadio Universitario.
Beasley was again influential for la Franja, swinging in a precision cross in the 84th minute for Spaniard Luis García to nod in the equalizer.
In the Estadio Jalisco on Saturday, Herculez Gomez was an unused substitute for Santos Laguna, who won 3-1 against Atlas to finish the season at the top of the general table.
Michael Orozco Fiscal took his usual place in the San Luis defense, but Toluca overcame los Gladiadores 2-1.
In Mexico’s second division, Marco Vidal’s Club León made it through to the final of the Liga de Ascenso playoffs, but the Texan didn’t feature in his side’s 0-0 tie against Correcaminos on Saturday.
In the Under-20s league, it was a good Saturday for Tigres’ Victor Garza. The Texan scored the only goal of the game against Puebla to send his team into the playoffs.
In Guatemala, Jeff Cunningham’s Comunicaciones drew 2-2 against Heredia to finish top of the league and get a straight pass to the tournament’s semifinals. Cunningham was not involved in the game due to a slight groin strain.
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America. Contact him at email@example.com.