American Exports preview: Crunch time for Gomez, Santos
GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Playoff fever isn't just building in MLS.
South of the border, the Liga MX enters its final weekend with plenty on the line for the American players there.
The standout game for US fans is undoubtedly on Friday, when Herculez Gomez's eighth-place Santos Laguna travel to Estadio Morelos to face Morelia knowing that anything other than the three points would almost certainly mean the season is over for last year’s champions (10:30 pm ET, Azteca America).
Gomez is likely to start his second consecutive game for the Guerreros, but Mexico striker Oribe Peralta has traveled with the squad and is line for minutes after recovering from injury.
The other big game involving Americans down south is Tijuana against Chivas Guadalajara (Sun., 6 pm, Telemundo). Edgar Castillo, Joe Corona and Greg Garza are in line for minutes in a game the Xolos need the three points from to guarantee qualification for the Copa Libertadores.
Depending on other results, the game could also see the border team finish first in the regular season and guarantee home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, but it won´t be easy with Jesus Padilla's Chivas fighting for their postseason place.
Elsewhere, José Torres could be involved in his last ever game for Pachuca – if recent transfer rumors are to be believed – against Jaguares on Saturday at Estadio Hidalgo (8 pm, TeleFutura).
In Mexico City, Sonny Guadarrama and his Atlante outfit still have an outside chance of the postseason, but it is dependent on getting the three points against Pumas UNAM and other results falling their way (Sun, 1 pm ET, Univision, Univision Deportes).
On at the same time is DaMarcus Beasley’s final game of season for Puebla, at Estadio Cuauhtémoc against Querétaro (1 pm ET, Fox Deportes).
Jonathan Bornstein has an outside chance of being involved in Tigres UANL’s home game against Club América (Sat, 8 pm ET, Univision Deportes), while the same goes for Michael Orozco Fiscal when San Luis host Toluca (Sat, 10 pm ET, Univision Deportes).
It's playoff time in the Ascenso MX, with Mérida's Isaac Acuña set to square off against Marco Vidal's Lobos BUAP in the quarterfinal first leg (Sat, 7 pm ET).
In El Salvador, Derby Carrillo's Santa Tecla play away at Atlético Marte (Sun, 4 pm ET).
Further south in Venezuela, Diego Restrepo would have been a possible starter for Deportivo Táchira this weekend, but their game against Zamora was suspended.
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at email@example.com.