American Exports: Jose Torres and Tigres face Club America with first place up for grabs
GUADALAJARA, Mexico – It’s the last round of matches in the Liga MX regular season and, although the playoff places and relegation are already all but decided, there is still one big spot left to fight for.
That spot is first place in the table and America and Tigres UANL will face each other on Saturday, with the winner finishing at the top (6 pm ET, Univision). Jose Torres will likely start in the Estadio Azteca in the Tigres midfield and Jonathan Bornstein has also been called into coach Ricardo Ferretti’s 22-man squad.
Straight after, Herculez Gomez and his Santos Laguna side have to pick themselves up after Wednesday’s heartbreaking CONCACAF Champions League final loss to Monterrey to host Morelia in the Estadio Corona for what is essentially a battle for fourth place (8 pm ET, Univision).
Then comes the final game of the season for Puebla’s American duo of DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco Fiscal. Before packing the suitcases ahead of the break, they need to avoid losing 11-0 against Querétaro on Saturday to make sure of their place in the Liga MX next season (10 pm ET, Univision Deportes 2).
On Friday in Tijuana, Xolos take on Chivas in a game that matters little to both sides as neither can make the playoffs (10:30 pm ET,Univision Deportes). That has left doubt over whether Joe Corona and Edgar Castillo will play, as Tijuana are focused on the second leg of the Copa Libertadores knockout tie against Palmeiras on May 14.
The only American involvement in the Ascenso MX is Ernest Nungaray, who has made a handful of substitute appearances for Toros Neza this season. His side travels to Leones Negros of the Universidad de Guadalajara on Sunday for the return leg of the semifinals of the playoffs (8 pm ET, GolTV). The first leg on Thursday finished 2-1 to Neza, with Nungaray coming on for the last seven minutes.
In Brazil, Freddy Adu has been called into coach Joel Santana’s Bahia squad to play at Juazeiro in the second leg of the semifinal of the Baiano championship on Sunday (5:30 pm ET). Bahia won the first leg in Salvador, 2-0, although Adu did not feature.
In Central America, Moises Hernandez and Saprissa host Costa Rican league leaders Herediano on Sunday (5 pm ET), with both teams already through to the playoffs.
In El Salvador, Derby Carrillo will be in net for Santa Tecla’s vital trip to Firpo on Sunday (5 pm ET). Both teams are level on points and battling it out for the last playoff spot in the last round of matches.
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.