GUADALAJARA, Mexico — American involvement in the Mexican playoffs could get a huge boost this weekend, with Pachuca and Tijuana both in action and within touching distance of la gran fiesta, a.k.a. the big dance.
José Francisco Torres´ Pachuca play away against Monterrey on Saturday knowing three points would virtually guarantee a playoff place (9:55 pm ET, Univision Deportes). “The great advantage is that we are in the fight and we are still dependent on what we do ourselves,” Torres told the local press in Pachuca this week.
The other advantage is that Monterrey are in the middle of the CONCACAF Champions League final and may not field a full-strength side.
Club Tijuana are in the same boat as Pachuca: a win against Michael Orozco Fiscal´s San Luis virtually secures a playoff spot (9:45 pm ET, Univision Deportes).
Tijuana´s Joe Corona and Edgar Castillo look set to start the game, with Texan Greg Garza likely to be on the bench.
Opening round 15 of games is Sonny Guadarrama´s Atlante, who travel to Morelia on Friday (9:10 pm ET, Fox Deportes).
Herculez Gomez´s Santos Laguna have a tricky game against Jonathan Bornstein´s Tigres in the Estadio Corona on Saturday, but Gomez´s participation is in doubt, with coach Benjamin Galindo resting players in last weekend´s league match due to CCL final commitments (8 pm ET, Fox Sports +, ESPN Dos, Univision Deportes).
On Sunday, Adrian Ruelas´ Jaguares are right in the playoff hunt and will travel to Pumas, with Californian Ruelas looking for more minutes after debuting last weekend (1 pm ET, Univision).
Last up this weekend in Mexico is DaMarcus Beasley´s Puebla, who have little to play for against Club América (Sunday 5 pm ET, Fox Sports Plus).
In Mexico´s second division playoffs, Isaac Acuña´s Club Mérida play their second leg against Correcaminos on Saturday (8 pm ET).
In Guatemala, Jeff Cunningham´s Comunicaciones face Suchitepéquez (Sunday, 5 pm ET).
Finally, Alejandro Meleán´s Oriente Petrolero will play Aurora on Sunday (6:30 pm ET) in Bolivia´s top divisions and, in Peru, Diego Chavarri´s Cobresol face Universidad San Martín on Saturday (4:30 pm ET).
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America.