Hérculez Gómez showed over the weekend that his right foot is still hot as the Pachuca striker scored yet again in a 1-1 tie at Querétaro in Mexican Primera División action.
The US international got the ball near the midfield and launched a one-man counter attack, streaking down the right side and unleashing a scorcher from inside the box that beat the ‘keeper in the 28th minute. It was his fourth goal in as many games.
However, Querétaro came back to tie the match in the last minute. The result dashed Pachuca’s small glimmer of hope in reaching the playoffs.
José Francisco Torres put in a full shift for los Tuzos, while Querétaro’s Isaác Acuña was subbed off at the half.
Over in Mexico City, Miguel Ángel Ponce went 90 minutes at left back as Chivas played to a 1-1 draw in a visit to Cruz Azul.
Los Rojiblancos took the lead just before halftime by way of Marco Fabián de la Mora, but conceded an 81st-minute equalizer to La Máquina’s Javier Aquino.
The tie means Chivas, who are in second place of Group 1, must wait until the final week of the regular season to decide their playoff fate.
Right next door at the legendary Estadio Azteca, Sonny Guadarrama came on in the 59th minute as Atlante walked away with a 1-1 tie against Club América.
Ángel Reyna put América up in the 35th minute, but former Chivas USA loan item Giancarlos Maldonado tied things up two minutes later.
The tie keeps los Potros at the helm of Group 2 with a one point lead over Atlas and América, so they, too, must wait until the final match to secure a playoff spot.
Also playing away were US international Jonathan Bornstein and Tigres UANL, who routed Morelia 3-0 to keep pace with league-leading Pumas UNAM.
Bornstein watched from the bench as teammates Lucas Lobos, Alan Pulido and Alberto Acosta gave the felines the win.
At just three points and a two-goal differential from Pumas, Tigres will go for the league’s top spot next week.
Down a flight in the Liga de Ascenso, Marco Vidal and León pulled a coup, dethroning ex-Chicago Fire attacker Cuauhtémoc Blanco and Irapuato from the league lead in the final game of the regular season with a 2-1 score line.
Vidal, who was removed from the match at halftime, saw his team go down 1-0 in the 21st minute. However, a second-half brace from Blas Pérez gave los Esmeraldas the win.
Because of their finish at the top of the table, León earned a bye straight to the playoff semifinals.
Elsewhere, midfielder Joe Corona played eight minutes in Tijuana’s 1-0 loss to Veracruz.
Corona entered the match in the 82nd minute for an already playoff-bound Xoloitzcuintles but failed to help his team find the equalizer after going down a goal in the 33rd minute.
The loss dropped Tijuana down to the fourth spot in the overall table. They must now gear up to face Cruz Azul Hidalgo in a two-leg quarterfinal series.
Finally, Joaquín Alonso also saw eight minutes of action after coming on as an 82nd-minute sub Indios’ 2-1 home win over Leones Negros.
Indios and Leones Negros traded goals until Jorge Echavarría scored the winner for the home side, which finished 10th in the standings.
Speedy Puebla defender Édgar Castillo didn’t dress in a 1-1 tie against defending champions Monterrey. With the tie, La Franja are out of the playoff picture.
Daniel Atúnez and Samuel Ochoa missed out on the fireworks as Estudiantes Tecos rallied from four goals down to tie Toluca 4-4. The draw put to rest any sort of slim playoffs hopes that Estudiantes had.
US youth international Adrián Ruelas wasn’t in Santos’ game-day roster as his team lost 3-1 to San Luis. The loss makes it very hard for Santos to get into the playoffs, but hope still remains.
Goalkeeper Diego Restrepo watched from the stands as América de Cali lost 1-0 to Independiente.