American Exports: Tijuana's Yanks in Liga MX finals, CCL
GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona helped Club Tijuana to a famous 3-0 victory on Sunday over Club León to send los Xolos to their first-ever Liga MX final after going through 3-2 on aggregate.
Tijuana went into the key match 2-0 down after Thursday’s first leg against a team that hadn’t been shut out in previous 20 league games this season.
Left back Castillo pushed up higher than in recent weeks as Xolos chased the game from the start. He caused problems for the León defense with his trickery, without making a key play, largely due to below-par end product.
Castillo’s attacking intent did help nullify León’s notorious attack by pinning them back and giving the opposition plenty to worry about.
Corona was much brighter than in the first leg, connecting passes behind the forwards for the 61 minutes he was on the field and pressed well as his side piled the pressure on a lackluster León team. Quarterfinal hero Greg Garza wasn't in the 18 for the Xolos on Sunday.
Tijuana will now face Toluca in the finals, with the first leg scheduled for Thursday at home and the second leg away next Sunday, Dec. 2.
With the finals berth, Tijuana have also qualified for 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League in addition to the 2013 Copa Libertadores (thanks to their overall finish this year).
In the Ascenso MX, Marco Vidal was an unused substitute as Lobos BUAP exited the Apertura playoffs after a 2-0 loss at home on Sunday to La Piedad in the semifinal second leg. Lobos lost 3-2 on aggregate.
In Mexico’s Under-20s tournament, Ernest Nungaray was the hero for Morelia, who won 2-1 over Santos Laguna on Saturday (and 2-1 on aggregate over the two legs) in the semifinal, scoring the second goal for the Michoacán-based team in the 61st.
Nungaray went the full 90 minutes for Morelia, as did Benji Joya for Santos, with Daniel Cuevas coming on for the final 22 minutes for the Guerreros.
In Venezuela, Diego Restrepo started his second straight game for Deportivo Táchira in their 2-1 win on Sunday over Portuguesa. Restrepo made an outstanding save from a free kick in the first half to keep the score at 0-0.
In Guatemala, another Yank is slowly nailing down a first-team spot – former FC Dallas product Moises Hernandez went 90 minutes for Comunicaciones in their 2-1 victory on Sunday over Xelajú.
Tom Marshall covers Americans in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.