GUADALAJARA, Mexico — With just two games remaining in the regular season of the Mexican Apertura, the race for playoff places is going down to the wire, with most Americans playing south of the border on the brink of an early winter break.
Defender Michael Orozco Fiscal's San Luis travel to within a stone's throw of his native Orange County to take on Joe Benny Corona's Club Tijuana on Sunday (3 pm ET; ESPN Deportes, Azteca America). Tijuana need the points to help their relegation fight, but the Gladiadores are right in the playoff hunt. Four points from their last two games should be enough for Orozco Fiscal´s team.
Estudiantes Tecos' Herculez Gomez is looking to start his third straight game on Sunday against Cruz Azul (1 pm ET, Univisión). With six goals in his last six appearances, the 2010 World Cup veteran and Estudiantes need six points from their last two games to have a chance of the playoffs.
DaMarcus Beasley and Puebla are only slightly better off with one more point than Tecos. La Franja travel to the Estadio Azteca on Sunday to face a Club América all but certainly out of the playoff race (5 pm ET, Galavisión). Isaac Acuña and Edgar Castillo are both available for América.
Jonathan Bornstein's Tigres UANL are in sixth and a home win on Saturday over second-place Santos Laguna would be a giant step to cementing their place in la Fiesta Grande (8 pm ET, Telemundo).
Like Bornstein, Atlante's resident Texan Sonny Guadarrama has seen very little playing time this season. The Cancún-based Potros host Morelia on Saturday (5 pm ET, TeleFutura) in a must-win if they are to keep any hope of reaching the postseason alive.
Miguel Ángel Ponce's first-place Guadalajara are already qualified for the playoffs and take on city rivals Atlas (9:45 pm ET, Galavisión) in the Clásico tapatío on Saturday. Sacramento-born Ponce won´t be involved; instead, he will turn out in Mexico's Pan America Games gold-medal game against Orange County-raised Michael Hoyos' Argentina on Friday evening.
In Mexico's second division, Marco Vidal's Club León play Estudiantes de Altamira (Friday, 8 pm ET).
Finally, in Peru, Diego Chavárri's Sporting Cristal take on Juan Aurich (Sunday, 4:15 pm ET).
Tom Marshall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter: @mexicoworldcup