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American Exports preview: New Liga MX campaign kicks off for Yanks down south

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – The Apertura tournament of the newly named Liga Bancomer MX starts up in Mexico this weekend, but it’ll be a little quieter than usual for American Exports-watchers, with five Mexico-based Americans still in the US national team camp at the Gold Cup.

The United States’ loss could be Club Tijuana’s gain as far as Herculez Gomez is concerned, but with U.S. Soccer stating that he continues to feel the effects of a knee issue, the former Santos Laguna man may not be fit to debut against Atlas on Friday night at Estadio Caliente (10:30 pm ET, ESPN Deportes/Azteca America).

Texan left back Greg Garza (pictured above) will be looking to put the injuries of last season behind him and will likely start the game for Xolos after featuring regularly in preseason.

Youngsters Paul Arriola and Alejandro Guido will have their fingers crossed for a Liga MX debut, but first-team regulars Joe Corona and Edgar Castillo are busy on US national team duty in Baltimore.

Tigres UANL and Jonathan Bornstein’s opener has been postponed due to Club América having five players in Mexico’s Gold Cup squad, meaning Jose Torres will miss one less game due to his absence with the national team.

Over at city rivals Monterrey, Alonso Hernandez returns from the U-20 World Cup and will be hoping for more first-team minutes when Los Rayados take on last season’s runners-up Cruz Azul (6 pm ET/Univision Deportes).

US national teamers Michael Orozco Fiscal and DaMarcus Beasley miss Puebla’s game at home with Pumas UNAM on Sunday (1 pm ET, ESPN Deportes/Azteca America).

The other possible American involvement is that of Ernest Nungaray, with his team Morelia opening up the season in the Estadio Morelos on Friday against Querétaro (8:30 pm ET, ESPN2/Azteca America).

In Mexico’s second division, Necaxa duo Sonny Guadarrama and Ventura Alvarado will be looking to debut at Altamira (Sat, 9 pm ET), while Marco Vidal’s Lobos BUAP – now featuring Cuauhtémoc Blanco – host Zacatepec (Friday, 7 pm ET).

In Brazil, Freddy Adu is still waiting to make his debut this season in the Brasileiro for Bahia, who take on Victoría away on Sunday (3 pm ET).

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