American Exports: Tijuana trio falls in Liga MX semifinals
GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Tijuana’s Yanks look to be heading out of the Liga MX playoffs at the semifinal stage after losing 2-0 at León in the first leg on Thursday.
Edgar Castillo started as usual at left back, while Joe Corona was a last-minute inclusion in the 11 after Leandro Augusto injured himself in the warm-up.
Tijuana held their own for most the game, probably shading the first half in terms of chances, but Othoniel Arce and Carlos Peña struck for León in the 56th and 57th minutes, leaving Xolos facing an uphill task in Sunday’s return fixture at Estadio Caliente (7:30 pm ET, Univision Deportes).
Castillo played a few dangerous through balls in the first half and looked solid defensively in a game that was a midfield battle for large periods.
The 26-year-old also broke past two defenders in the 81st minute, but the resulting shot from the edge of the penalty area was straight down goalkeeper Christian Martínez’s throat.
Corona went 66 minutes but was quiet in midfield, his most noticeable moment coming in the 25th when he was booked for a late, and high, tackle.
Greg Garza was an unused substitute.
In the other Liga MX semifinal, Toluca defeated América 2-0 at Estadio Azteca.
In the Liga de Ascenso MX, Marco Vidal ‘s Lobos BUAP won 2-1 away in the playoff semifinal first leg at La Piedad, also Thursday. The Texan came on in the 62nd minute of the game with the score at 1-1.
In the Under-20s semifinal first leg, Morelia defeated Santos Laguna 2-1 on Wednesday, with Ernest Nungaray going the full 90 for Morelia and Benji Joya also completing the full game for Santos.
It was also a big night for Diego Restrepo on Wednesday.
The 24-year-old goalkeeper made his debut in the Venezuelan first division in Deportivo Táchira’s 2-0 victory over Zamora. It was his side’s first clean sheet and win in six games.
University of Virginia alum Restrepo looks set to keep his place for Saturday’s game against Portuguesa (3:30 pm ET).
Tom Marshall covers Americans in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.