Gringo Report: Yanks back to work south of the border
GUADALAJARA, Mexico – After a summer break resting tired limbs, all the Americans playing in Mexico are now back on the other side of the Rio Grande and busy with hectic preseason schedules ahead of the new “Liga MX” starting on July 21.
For the players involved in the US national team's last squad – José Torres, Herculez Gomez, Joe Corona and Edgar Castillo – the summer break was brief, with CONCACAF World Cup qualifying only ending in Guatemala on June 12.
Jose Torres has returned to a vastly different Pachuca squad. Los Tuzos have brought in legendary goalscorer Hugo Sánchez as head coach and followed it up with eight new signings, including former Chicago Fire striker Nery Castillo, Spanish goal-poacher Raúl Tamudo and Paraguayan Paulo da Silva.
Torres knows that impressing Sánchez in preseason scrimmages is vital to getting in what is likely to be a highly competitive starting eleven come the start of the season.
“El Gringo” missed the team's first preseason game last weekend due to his extended break after returning from national team duty. He could feature on Thursday against Pumas UNAM but will most likely make his debut against Club León or Cruz Azul on Saturday.
With a similarly short break, Joe Corona already played in Club Tijuana's first preseason game, impressing with his first half display as an attacking central midfielder during the team's 2-0 loss on Tuesday against Dorados de Sinaloa.
Defender Greg Garza, who did get to rest for the full offseason, started the game at left back, picking up a yellow card in the 34th minute and also made way at halftime.
Youngster Alejandro Guido played the second half of the game. The 18-year-old midfielder was unable to play last year after signing for Xolos after the registration deadline, but he will likely be sniffing around the first team this time around.
Edgar Castillo didn't get on the field but is training with the team after his escapades with the national team.
On Saturday, Xolos will be north of the border taking on Club América in the San Diego Clásico at Qualcomm Stadium, with possible games against Mexican opposition after that.
Also pending confirmation is Jonathan Bornstein's future. His preseason has been nothing if not strange.
The 27-year-old was loaned out from Tigres UANL to Atlante in the June 6 draft, but the deal is yet to be finalized, leaving Bornstein crossing his fingers in the hope that the two clubs can come to an agreement before the July 10 registration deadline.
While the business gets sorted out, the 2010 World Cup veteran is doing the usual preseason with Tigres in Cancún, ironically where Atlante is based and where the two clubs are set to meet in a friendly on Saturday.
Staying with the Monterrey club, Texan winger Victor Garza is again doing preseason with the first team squad, looking to make the permanent jump up from the Under-20s.
Herculez Gomez capped off winning the championship with Santos Laguna last time out by leaping up Jurgen Klinsmann's depth chart to become one of the main strikers for the US national team in the last series of games.
Over in Mazatlán, Gomez has rejoined los Guerreros and has been talking to local reporters, stating that retaining the title this time out will be especially difficult, but insisting Santos Laguna has the squad to do it.
With Oribe Peralta away in London with Mexico's Olympic squad, Gomez will likely be given the job of leading the defending champions' attack early in the season.
It should be a busy start to the season for Gomez, who no doubt also has an eye on securing a spot for the US against Mexico match at Estadio Azteca on August 15. Before that there is also the small matter of Santos Laguna's World Football Championship match against Real Madrid on August 5, which happens to be in Gomez's hometown of Las Vegas.
Another player who would love a chance during the Azteca friendly is DaMarcus Beasley, who is back at Puebla.
Beasley, now 30, has had nagging problems with his foot, according to local reports, and missed the club's first preseason game. Next up for the Poblanos is Veracruz at Estadio Cuauhtémoc on Sunday, with Beasley likely to be fit.
Remember former Chivas USA striker Jesus Padilla?
He's returned to CD Guadalajara after a stint with La Piedad in the Liga de Ascenso. The 25-year-old has already gotten on the score sheet during the preseason, scoring in Chivas' first preseason game against CF Peralada over in Spain after coming on as a halftime substitute.
However, he didn't feature in Chivas' two subsequent games in the Old Continent.
San Luis' Michael Orozco Fiscal will be continuing with the team, which has shifted ownership over the summer. Now under the direction of head coach José Luis Trejo, Orozco Fiscal went an hour Wednesday in the club's 1-0 loss to Lobos BUAP.
San Luis continue preparation for the new season up north, facing Monterrey in San Antonio on Saturday.
There will also be American particpation this coming season in the Liga de Ascenso.
Sonny Guadarrama and Isaac Acuña have both started preseason with Club Mérida.
Marco Vidal left Club León and is now at Lobos BUAP, while Adrian Ruelas was loaned out by Santos Laguna to Veracruz.
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America. Contact him at email@example.com.