GUADALAJARA, Mexico – After scraping through to the liguilla, Jose Torres and his Tigres UANL side face the substantial challenge of getting past the reigning Liga MX champion Club América in the quarterfinals.
The first leg is on Sunday in front of what is expected to be a sold-out Estadio Universitario, with Tigres looking to take of advantage of the fact that 10 of América’s squad only arrived back in Mexico on Thursday after El Tri’s World Cup playoff in New Zealand (Sunday, Univision Deportes, 6 pm ET).
Torres’ place in the Tigres starting lineup is by no means guaranteed, with the Texan losing his spot under Ricardo Ferretti for the final four games of the regular season.
Former Chivas USA Jonathan Bornstein remains at Tigres, but hasn’t got any minutes for the club in the league this season.
In Mexico’s second division, Sonny Guadarrama’s Necaxa are sailing through the playoffs, winning the semifinal first leg at Delfines del Carmen 4-0 on Wednesday. The Texan forward played the full 90 minutes for Los Rayos, who will be home this weekend for the return leg. (Saturday, 9 pm ET).
Finally, in Mexico’s Under-20 playoffs, Stevie Rodriguez made it four goals in his last four games on Wednesday as Club Tijuana overcame Club León 2-0 at Estadio Caliente in the semifinal first leg. The return leg is on Saturday, when Rodriguez, Alejandro Guido and Paul Arriola – if he recovers from a hamstring injury in time – are all in the frame for minutes.
Santos Laguna’s Benji Joya could also see playing time for Los Guerreros’ U-20 side when it plays Chivas in Guadalajara on Sunday in the semi second leg. The first ended 2-2 on Thursday, with Joya an unused sub and Daniel Cuevas not in the 18.
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.