American Exports: Herculez Gomez finally appears as Club Tijuana draw Toluca 0-0 in playoff opener

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Edgar Castillo was the only American starter for Club Tijuana in their Liga MX Clausura playoff quarterfinal first leg on Thursday, as Xolos drew 0-0 with Toluca at Estadio Caliente.

Castillo had a great chance to score in the 71st minute when he was put through on goal with a chipped pass by Argentine Darío Benedetto, but the New Mexico native pulled a shot wide of the post from close range.

The US international played left back, but received the ball mainly in midfield and attack as Tijuana dominated the game, piling players forward.

Benedetto himself was guilty of some sloppy finishing, especially in the first half, when Xolos started in a similarly brisk way as they did in the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against the LA Galaxy.

Joe Corona came off the bench into an attacking midfield position in the 80th, while Herculez Gomez (above) got his first Liga MX minutes since March 29 when he was brought on by César Farías with two minutes remaining.

Greg Garza and Paul Arriola dressed, but didn’t feature.

The return leg at Toluca is on Sunday (1 pm ET, Univision Deportes). The away-goals rule is in effect in the Liga MX playoffs.

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