GUADALAJARA, Mexico – The new Liga MX season is upon us, with plenty of Americans likely to be getting playing time in the inaugural round of matches of Apertura 2012.
The highlight for US national team fans is likely to come Saturday night when Herculez Gomez's Santos Laguna take on Michael Orozco Fiscal's San Luis in the Estadio Corona on Saturday (8 pm ET, TeleFutura).
The defending champions are without striker Oribe Peralta, who is with the Mexican Olympic team, meaning Gomez should start for the Guerreros in his preferred central striking role, while center back Orozco Fiscal could be charged with stopping him from opening his account for the season.
Club Tijuana begin their season on Friday evening at home against DaMarcus Beasley's Puebla (10:30 pm ET, Univision Deportes). Beasley is back fit from the tendinitis that hampered his preseason, but may not start the game if coach Daniel Bartolotta has concerns over his match fitness, after he missed the club's preseason friendlies.
For Club Tijuana, Edgar Castillo, Joe Corona, Greg Garza and Alejandro Guido are all in the frame for minutes.
Also Friday, Jonathan Bornstein's Tigres UANL kick off the new Liga MX against Jaguares (8:30 pm ET, Fox Deportes, Azteca America), with Bornstein crossing his fingers and hoping he will at least make the bench.
In Sunday's big game, José Torres' Pachuca travel to Cancún to face Atlante (9 pm ET, TeleFutura). It's an important day for Torres and Pachuca, with Hugo Sánchez's revamped Tuzos side embarking on what the directors hope is a title-challenging season.
In other first-division games, Club León goalkeeper William Yarbrough is looking to make his debut against Querétaro on Saturday (6 pm ET, Univision Deportes) while Jesús Padilla's Guadalajara travel to Toluca on Sunday (1 pm ET, Univision Deportes).
In Mexico's second division, now the Ascenso MX, Adrian Ruelas' Veracruz face Dorados on Saturday (9 pm ET) and Alexandre González's Necaxa host Marco Vidal's Lobos BUAP on Friday (9 pm ET).
Further south in Peru, Diego Chavarri's struggling Cobresol side plays César Vallejo on Saturday afternoon (2:15 pm ET).
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.