GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Benji Joya went 90 minutes in the Santos Laguna U-20s’ 1-0 win away at Club León in the second leg of their playoff final on Saturday to become champion of Mexico’s U-20 Apertura season.
The game was played in front of over 12,000 fans inside Estadio León, with Los Guerreros – for whom Daniel Cuevas wasn’t in the 18 – winning 3-2 on aggregate after the midweek 2-2 draw in Torreón.
The US U-20 World Cup duo may now be off to pastures new after the triumph, with first team opportunities limited at Santos and interest growing in recent months, although it doesn’t look to be north to MLS, according to a source close to the duo consulted by MLSsoccer.com.
Joya could join up with Liga MX outfit Puebla as soon as next week, MLSsoccer.com has learned, although there has been no official news from either Santos or Puebla, while Cuevas’ future could lie in the same city but across town at Ascenso MX outfit Lobos BUAP.
The same source confided that one of the major reasons the duo have opted to stay in Mexico is that the upcoming Clausura 2014 season begins in early January, whereas the MLS 2014 season begins next March, with the outside possibility that a good run ahead of the World Cup may lead to an outside chance of Joya and/or Cuevas making the US squad.
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.