GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Jose Torres’ Pachuca got a vital 1-0 win on Friday night against the Club Tijuana, in the first game of a busy weekend of action for Americans south of the border.
Torres went the full 90 minutes in the Estadio Hidalgo and almost opened the scoring for los Tuzos just before halftime with a deflected shot.
Tijuana’s Edgar Castillo was lucky to stay on the field in the 36th minute when he fouled a Pachuca player from behind after being yellow-carded 10 minutes earlier.
Castillo also had a decent chance 30 seconds into the second half, but struck a shot from the left high over the bar.
Joe Corona, back from the US Under-23s’ failure to qualify for the Olympics, came on for Tijuana in the 60th minute, but Pachuca scored two minutes later and the Xolos couldn’t get back into the game.
The result moves Pachuca into sixth position, one point above Tijuana, who are in seventh.
Meanwhile, DaMarcus Beasley’s Puebla may have little chance of making the playoffs, but la Franja secured their first victory in seven games with a 1-0 victory over Querétaro on Saturday in La Corregidora.
Beasley assisted on the goal, running onto a through-pass and cutting the ball back across the penalty area, where Lucas Silva was on hand to scuff the ball home in the 69th minute.
The former Chicago Fire winger was visibly pumped-up for the game, imploring Brayan Martínez to keep his concentration when he came on for the US international in the 89th minute.
In the Estadio Azul on Saturday, Michael Orozco Fiscal’s San Luis continued their dismal form, falling 3-1 to Cruz Azul.
Orozco Fiscal was beaten to a flick-on that put former Sporting Kansas City striker Omar Bravo through on goal for Cruz Azul’s second. The US international was left helpless for the third after a communication breakdown between him and his fellow center back let Edixon Perea tap home for the home side’s third.
Herculez Gomez was a noticeable absentee for Santos Laguna, who beat Toluca 3-1 on Sunday to stay top of the Mexican league ahead of Toronto FC’s visit on Wednesday.
The in-form striker, with nine goals in his last seven games, is expected to be fit for the midweek second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal.
In Guatemala, it was a disappointing weekend for Jeff Cunningham, whose Comunicaciones team lost 1-0 at Xelajú and fell to second place in Guatemala’s top division.
Cunningham scored what seemed to be a good goal early in the game, but the referee ruled it out for offside. The former Columbus Crew striker was brought off in the 53rd minute with a suspected injury.
In Chile, Jimmy Maurer was left on the bench for Universidad de Concepción’s 2-0 loss to Deportes Iquique.
In neighboring Bolivia, Alejandro Meleán missed Oriente Petrolero’s 1-1 tie with The Strongest with a suspected sports hernia.
Finally, in Mexico’s second division, Isaac Acuña came on for the final couple of minutes of Club Mérida’s 1-0 victory over Dorados de Sinaloa.
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America. E-mail him at email@example.com.