American Exports preview: Gomez to start vs. Cruz Azul
GUADALAJARA, Mexico — As things stand right now, there will be few Americans in the Liga MX playoffs, but a few results could change that this weekend.
Herculez Gomez is set to start in what is Santos Laguna's biggest game of the season to date on Friday against Cruz Azul in the Estadio Corona (Univision Deportes, 11:30 pm ET).
The Guerreros must win to keep in the playoff hunt and with Mexico center forward Oribe Peralta out for at least eight days, the striking responsibility falls to Gomez (above), who has two goals in his last two games.
The mission is slightly different up on the border for Club Tijuana.
The Xolos and their American band — Edgar Castillo, Greg Garza and Joe Corona — are looking to sew up their place among the continent's elite in the Copa Libertadores, as well as take a step towards finishing in first place, when they take on Michael Orozco Fiscal's San Luis on Saturday in the Estadio Caliente (Univision Deportes, 9:30 pm ET).
Castillo spoke to the press in the week about the club's desire to make history and finish top of the league for the first time in its history.
Rumors have swirled this week about Jose Torres leaving Pachuca, but, if he is to move on, he'll surely want to end on a good note and there is no better opportunity than on Saturday at the Estadio Azteca against Club América (Univision, 7 pm ET). Pachuca must win to remain in the playoff race.
Few expected Sonny Guadarrama's Atlante to be among the contenders at this stage of the season, but a home win against León on Sunday could see them finish the weekend in playoff position (Univision Deportes, 7 pm ET).
Elsewhere, Jesus Padilla hasn't played much recently for Chivas, but could be back in contention for the Guadalajara team's trip to winless Querétaro (Univision Deportes, Saturday, 7 pm ET).
It's the final weekend in the Ascenso MX, with Marco Vidal's Lobos BUAP guaranteed a playoff place. Friday's game against Neza is all about jockeying for the best possible league position (6 pm ET).
In El Salvador, Derby Carrillo's Santa Tecla face off against Juventud Independiente on Saturday (5 pm ET), while Moises Hernandez's Comunicaciones play Mictlán on Sunday (7 pm ET).
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.