American Exports: Garza bags playoff winner for Tijuana

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Greg Garza scored the most important goal of his career and the biggest of Club Tijuana’s season on Thursday to hand his team a crucial 1-0 road victory in Monterrey in the quarterfinal first leg of the Liga MX playoffs.

Garza was substituted on in the 78th minute to shore up the Xolos at Estadio Tecnológico, a notoriously difficult stadium to get a result in, but found himself upfield four minutes from time and in position to slot the ball home from close range for his second goal of the season.

Edgar Castillo went the full 90 minutes for Tijuana, again playing more defensively than he is accustomed to, but annulling the threat from young Monterrey winger Jesús Corona well in a disciplined display. The US international was among the first to run to congratulate 21-year-old Garza on his goal.

Joe Corona was an unused substitute for Antonio Mohamed’s side for the second straight game.

The return leg at Estadio Caliente is on Sunday (7:30 pm ET, Univision Deportes), with the away-goals rule in effect for the first time in the Liga MX.

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