GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Midweek games for Americans plying their trade south of the border proved a disappointment.
Young goalkeeper Diego Restrepo experienced both the highs and lows of professional soccer on Thursday evening in América de Cali's quarterfinal second leg against Once Caldas.
Restrepo had kept Once Caldas at bay for 160 minutes over the two legs, garnering praise from the Colombian press in the process, but then received two yellow cards in the space of two minutes and was forced off the field. The first was for time-wasting, although Restrepo claimed he was injured, and the second was for a challenge while going for a 50-50 ball.
Onto the field came New York-born Kevin Piedrahita, just 20, who could do nothing to stop Once Caldas scoring two late goals to advance to the semifinals.
Restrepo will be suspended for the first leg of América de Cali's vital relegation playoff against Patriotas Boyacá on Sunday (4:30 pm ET), meaning Piedrahita is set to start in the biggest game of his young career.
In Mexico, San Jose, Calif., native and ex-Chivas USA forward Jesus Padilla went 75 minutes for La Piedad in their 3-1 defeat against Correcaminos in the first leg of the final in Mexico's second-division playoffs. The return leg is on Sunday (4 pm ET).
In the final of the Mexican Primera División, Jonathan Bornstein's Tigres UANL defeated Santos 1-0, although Bornstein didn't make the 18. The final will be decided on Sunday (7 pm ET, TeleFutura, Telemundo).
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America. He can be reached via email@example.com.