GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Barely two weeks to go until the Mexican Apertura 2011 season kicks off. Here’s Part 2 of our look at how Americans South of the Border are preparing for a new campaign. (Click here for Part 1.)
Following his match-winning strike in his Puebla debut Wednesday evening, 29-year-old Beasley could not save his new team from losing 1-0 to San Luis on Saturday in the final of the Copa Tijuana.
Various Mexican media sources praised the three-time World Cup veteran’s performance. According to MedioTiempo.com, “Beasley was La Franja’s best player.”
The former Chicago Fire star went close to scoring for Puebla on a few occasions, grazing the post with one effort.
Michael Orozco Fiscal
The Southern California native played the full game for San Luis as they kept a clean sheet against Puebla on Saturday and won the Copa Tijuana.
On Wednesday, the 25-year-old played a full 90 minutes against home team Club Tijuana in a 1-1 tie. San Luis won on penalties.
Orozco Fiscal, who played last season for the Philadelphia Union, looks set to be a starter for San Luis and has recently stated his goal of getting back into the US national team. He currently has just one cap. Los Gladiadores kick off their campaign on July 24 at defending champions Pumas UNAM.
José Francisco Torres
The 23-year-old midfielder from Southern Texas also picked up his first bit of silverware for the season as Pachuca won the “Cuna del Fútbol” preseason tournament on penalties against Monarcas Morelia following a 2-2 tie after 90 minutes on Friday.
Torres started the game in a strong Pachuca lineup before being taken off in the second half.
Although “el Gringo” Torres, as he is affectionately known in Mexico, was put on the transfer list along with the rest of the Pachuca squad this offseason, he appears set to be part of the first team, as he was in the past Clausura 2011. Pachuca will be hoping to do much better this season after having failed to make the playoffs last time out.
Joe Benny Corona
Corona started on the right wing for Tijuana against San Luis on Wednesday as the home team failed to make the final of the Copa Tijuana. With the scores level in the second half, the San Diego native had a chance to win the game for Tijuana, but vetaran goalkeeper Óscar “Conejo” Pérez was equal to it.
In the third-place playoff on Saturday, Tijuana lost 1-0 after a late Monterrey goal. Corona again started on the right wing.
The 21-year-old claimed a first-team slot in toward the end of last season and helped guide the Xolos to promotion. Over the offseason, an influx of nine new players at Tijuana means Corona will have more competition for his place but, if the friendly games are anything to go by, is at the forefront of coach Joaquín del Olmo’s mind.
Interestingly, Corona has triple nationality, having been born in the US to a Mexican father and El Salvadoran mother. He has recently said his priority is to play for the Mexican national team but isn’t discounting the US or El Salvador.
Miguel Ángel Ponce
The Sacramento-born Chivas de Guadalajara left back moved further away from the clutches of the USMNT when he made a substitute appearance for Mexico young team in the Copa América on Friday. Ponce was on the pitch when Peru scored a late goal to win the game.
Ponce can still play for the US as Mexico’s games in the South American tournament are not “official” caps, according to FIFA. However, he has stated on more than one occasion his desire to play for Mexico.
Tom Marshall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter: @mexicoworldcup