GUADALAJARA, Mexico — No more international dates remain between now and the end of the regular season in Mexico, and with only six points separating first place from 13th, almost all the Yanks down south have a realistic chance of finishing in the top eight to make the playoffs.
DaMarcus Beasley rejoins Puebla after a successful time with the US squad that edged him yet closer to winning 100 caps. La Franja, who sit in 15th place with 13 points, need to start gathering points quickly, starting against Querétaro on Sunday (1 pm ET, Azteca América and ESPN Deportes) if Beasley hopes to prevent an early Christmas break.
San Luis and Michael Orozco Fiscal, meanwhile, sit in 10th place, just one point off a playoff spot. They will need to be in top form when they host joint leaders Cruz Azul on Saturday (9:45 pm ET, TeleFutura).
Despite being in Mexico's U-22 squad for the Pan American Games, Miguel Ángel Ponce could feature for Chivas against Herculez Gomez's Estudiantes Tecos in a Guadalajara metropolitan area derby on Saturday (8 pm ET, Telemundo). Chivas have 19 points and are in seventh place, while Tecos sit in 13th with 15 points.
It's do-or-die for Club América away at Monterrey on Saturday (6 pm ET, Telemundo). Las Águilas have 11 points and are in the 16th position. Edgar Castillo will be looking for his first minutes under new coach Alfredo Tena, while Isaac Acuña will be hoping for more minutes after coming on as a sub last weekend.
In other games, Jonathan Bornstein's high-flying Tigres UANL face Morelia on Friday (7 pm ET, Azteca América and Fox Deportes), while on Saturday, Sonny Guadarrama's Atlante travel to Adrian Ruelas' Jaguares (6 pm ET, Azteca América and ESPN Deportes).
Joe Benny Corona is the only American that does not have a realistic chance of making the playoffs, but Club Tijuana are right in the middle of the relegation battle and every point is vital. Los Xoloitzcuintles host Pachuca on Saturday (8 pm ET, Azteca América).
In the second division, Marco Vidal and his Club León teammates take on Celaya on Saturday (9:50 pm ET).
Over in Colombia's top flight, former US youth-teamer Diego Restrepo and América de Cali take on Cúcuta on Saturday (9 pm ET).
Tom Marshall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.