American Exports preview: Playoff rally caps on in Mexico
GUADALAJARA, Mexico – After poor results in the first legs of their Mexican playoff quarterfinal matchups, four Americans down south are looking to overturn deficits in the return fixtures this weekend.
First up on Saturday is Jose Torres’ Pachuca, who suffered a 3-1 rout against Club América and will be looking to rally in the second leg (7 pm ET, TeleFutura).
The challenge is huge for los Tuzos: win by three clear goals in the cauldron of the Estadio Azteca. The task will not be made any easier by the fact Segundo Castillo, the midfield rock that gives creative license to American playmaker Torres (above, right), is set to miss out once again.
Later on Saturday, Club Tijuana will look to reverse a 2-1 deficit in a difficult trip to face Monterrey at the Tecnológico (9 pm ET, Univision Deportes).
And los Xolos’ resident Yanks are certainly not throwing in the towel just yet.
“There are still 90 minutes left. We can do it!” Joe Corona tweeted after Tijuana’s loss on Wednesday.
Edgar Castillo told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday that he and the whole team are visualizing a victory. Also available for Tijuana is Texan Greg Garza as the club seeks the necessary two-goal victory in order to advance to the semifinals.
Herculez Gomez and Santos Laguna, by contrast, are in the drivers’ seat of their tie against Jaguares after snatching a 4-3 road win on Thursday. Colombian Darwin Quintero netted the winner in stoppage time.
Gomez was left on the bench for the game, but could potentially return to the field as los Guerreros look to advance on Sunday in Torreón (7 pm ET, Univision Deportes).
Jonathan Bornstein’s Tigres UANL beat Morelia 1-0 in Thursday's opener and need a win or a tie to advance in Sunday’s second leg (9 pm ET, Azteca America). Bornstein didn’t suit up for the first match.
In Mexico’s second division, Marco Vidal’s Club Leon face Lobos BUAP on Saturday (9 pm ET) in the second leg of the divisional final. The club is looking to reserve a place in the promotion playoff final against Correcaminos next week.
Further south, Alejandro Meleán’s Oriente Petrolero face Guabira on Sunday (6 pm ET) in Bolivia’s top division.
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America. Contact him at email@example.com.