GUADALAJARA, Mexico – It wasn’t the greatest spectacle, but Club Tijuana ground out a valuable 0-0 draw at Estadio Jalisco Saturday against Atlas, with Herculez Gomez, Joe Corona and Greg Garza the American starters in Xolos’ opening match of the Clausura 2014.
Gomez was part of a two-striker front line in a 4-4-2 formation, with Corona – who was taken off in the 71st minute – cutting in from left side of midfield and Garza in his usual position at left back.
Corona had a half-chance from the left side of the box in the 43rd minute and Gomez put a late header over the bar, but in general there was not much activity for either goalkeeper.
Edgar Castillo came on for Corona and played in front of Garza on the left wing, causing some problems with his speed and directness running at the Atlas defense.
After the game, Gomez said he was happy to be back in the starting XI, is feeling 100 percent after a second half of 2013 hampered by injury and is very much at ease with Xolos’ new Venezuelan manager, César Farías.
“He’s been in constant communication with me,” Gomez told MLSsoccer.com after the game. “He wants to see me back on the national team and he says he knows what type of player I am, how good I can be and how he can help me get there.”
“When the guy who runs the show tells you that, it’s kind of hard not to fight for him,” Gomez added.
Winger Paul Arriola was an unused substitute for Club Tijuana.
Elsewhere on Saturday, there was scant American involvement in the Liga MX, with Jose Torres missing Tigres UANL’s 3-0 loss to Club América due to a muscle problem and Michael Farfan and Jose Villarreal not involved in Cruz Azul’s 18 in their 0-0 tie at Monterrey.
In the Ascenso MX, Marco Vidal went 74 minutes in Lobos BUAP’s 2-1 victory at Zacatepec.
On Friday, also in Mexico’s second division, Austin Guerrero debuted in goal for Altamira, but Necaxa won the game 4-0, with Texan Sonny Guadarrama grabbing the first goal.
Ventura Alvarado also featured for Los Rayos, notching up 90 minutes in defense.
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.