American Exports preview: Libertadores for TJ's Yanks?
GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Time is ticking for Americans in Mexico to secure a place in the postseason, meaning this weekend’s games are vital with only three games of the regular season to play.
In a repeat of last season’s CONCACAF Champions League final, Santos Laguna travel to Monterrey in a key matchup in the playoff race (Saturday, 8 pm ET, TeleFutura).
Without a win in 10 years for the Guerreros in the northern city, Herculez Gomez and Benji Joya will be hoping for minutes, goals and the three points for Santos that would be a huge boost for the reigning champions – currently in seventh place in the Liga MX.
High-flyers Tijuana travel to Morelia with a playoff place confirmed, but a win could also secure a place in next season’s Copa Libertadores (Saturday, 8 pm ET, Azteca America, Fox Deportes).
The good news for US national team fans is that Edgar Castillo is back in the frame for los Xolos after recovering from a foot injury. Joe Corona (above) is likely to start with Leandro Augusto doubtful and Greg Garza is the obvious replacement at left back should coach Antonio Mohamed decide not to risk Castillo.
Jonathan Bornstein’s Tigres UANL have to win to realistically keep in the playoff hunt. They face José Torres’ Pachuca, which need maximum nine points and a minor miracle elsewhere to have a hope of playing in the postseason (Saturday, 8 pm ET, Univision Deportes).
DaMarcus Beasley returned Thursday night for Puebla and went 90 minutes in the team’s 1-0 defeat to América. On Sunday, his Puebla side will host Sonny Guadarrama’s Atlante in a must-win game for the Cancún-based team, which lies within three points of the playoffs (1 pm ET, ESPN Deportes).
In San Luis, Michael Orozco Fiscal will be hoping for minutes against Querétaro on Saturday (6 pm ET, Univision Deportes).
Down in the Ascenso MX, Marco Vidal’s Lobos BUAP continue their push to finish top of the league against Isaac Acuña’s Mérida on Saturday (7 pm ET).
In Guatemala, Moises Hernandez’s Comunicaciones face Deportivo Petapa (Saturday, 9 pm ET), while in El Salvador, Derby Carrillo’s Santa Tecla host Once Municipal (Saturday, 5 pm ET).
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.