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American Exports: Tijuana draw tough Libertadores group

Club Tijuana celebrate their title

Photo Credit: 
Mexsport

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Club Tijuana’s American players have all spoken of making an impact in the Copa Libertadores. Now they have their chance.

The Xolos found out on Friday that they'll play recently crowned world champions Corinthians of Brazil, Colombian champions Millonarios and Bolivia’s San José in Group 5 of the continental competition, what could be considered the “Group of Death.”

It will be the first time any of Tijuana’s American first-team players – Edgar Castillo, Joe Corona and Greg Garza – feature in the Copa Libertadores.

Argentine coach Antonio Mohamed said this week that the Copa Libertadores is a priority for the Liga MX champions and the draw couldn’t have been more difficult, with the top two group finishers proceeding to the Round of 16.

Corinthians stunned European champions Chelsea to win the Club World Cup final last weekend and now enter the tournament as one of the favorites.

The dates of games have not yet been set, but the first round of group matches is scheduled for February.

Fellow Liga MX side Toluca also have a difficult group alongside Boca Juniors (Argentina), Barcelona (Ecuador) and Nacional (Uruguay).

Mexican side Leon face Chilean outfit Deportes Iquique in the preliminary playoff and will meet Velez Sarsfield (Argentina), Peñarol (Uruguay) and Emelec (Ecuador) if they make the group stage.

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