American Exports: Yanks help Tijuana clinch playoff berth

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – With the playoff race heating up in the Liga MX, Club Tijuana guaranteed American presence in the postseason.

All three of Tijuana’s American first-teamers – Edgar Castillo, Greg Garza and Joe Corona – played their part in the team’s hard-fought 1-1 draw on Saturday at Morelia, which moved los Xolos into first place in the table.

Castillo (above) went 80 minutes in his first start since Oct. 3, playing more defensively than usual in his left back position during the first half, before being moved up to play on the wing after halftime.

His replacement at left back was Garza, who continued his fine form and paired up well with Castillo down the left flank.

Corona played just less than a half-hour in a forward role behind striker Duvier Riascos, chasing defenders down hard as Tijuana head coach Antonio Mohamed seemed to settle for the away point.

Meanwhile, Herculez Gomez is showing signs of going on another one of his patented scoring runs. The US national team star came off the bench against Monterrey in the 73rd on Saturday with Los Rayados up 3-1, but pulled one back in the 85th to make it two in two games.

Gomez broke the offside trap and slid the ball between ‘keeper Jonathan Orozco’s legs, but Santos couldn’t get any closer than 3-2 and find themselves in a dogfight to make the postseason.

Sonny Guadarrama’s midseason switch to Atlante is paying off nicely for the Texan. He started his third game in three weeks for the Potros on Sunday and went 73 minutes for Ricardo La Volpe’s side, who beat Puebla 2-1 to remain right in the playoff mix.

DaMarcus Beasley completed his second full game in four days for Puebla, who are playing only for pride at the end of the season. Beasley took to Twitter postgame to express his anger at the result and performance.

Over in the Estadio Hidalgo, it was a good Saturday night for Jose Torres, who provided much of Pachuca’s danger through his dead-ball set pieces in the team’s 1-0 win over Tigres UANL.

“El Gringo” went the full 90 minutes in the heart of the Pachuca midfield and is looking confident, benefiting from the presence of the returning defense-minded Segundo Castillo alongside him in the center of the field.

Jonathan Bornstein wasn’t in the Tigres squad and Michael Orozco Fiscal didn’t dress for San Luis’ 0-0 draw with Querétaro on Saturday.

In the Ascenso MX, Marco Vidal went 90 minutes in Lobos BUAP’s 0-0 draw with Mérida on Saturday.

Further south in El Salvador, Derby Carrillo was in goal for Santa Tecla’s 4-0 victory over Once Municipal on Saturday.

Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at tom.marshall.mex@gmail.com