GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Herculez Gomez raised the flag high for Americans down south this weekend with two goals that helped Santos Laguna come from behind to win 3-1 after DaMarcus Beasley had given Puebla a halftime lead.
The Saturday evening comeback moved Santos Laguna into first place in Mexico's Primera División, with Gomez now up to four league goals this season and five goals in his last four games in all competitions.
Beasley opened the scoring in the Estadio Corona two minutes before halftime, stealing in to take the ball off a Santos Laguna defender on the edge of the area and finishing past Oswaldo Sánchez with ease.
Gomez responded three minutes after halftime, with a bona fide golazo. He let a through ball drop over his shoulder and struck a first time shot into the far, top corner of the net from a tight angle on the right side of the penalty area.
Oribe Peralta got Santos Laguna's second, with the Mexican international laying off Gomez for a tap-in for the team's third in second half injury time.
The only negative for Santos Laguna was that it continued their worrying trend of starting games slowly, with Wednesday's second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League against Seattle Sounders just around the corner.
Beasley's Puebla are now seven points off the playoff places.
In that last playoff place are José Francisco Torres’ Pachuca, who drew 0-0 against Michael Orozco Fiscal’s San Luis on Saturday night in the Alfonso Lastras Ramírez.
Torres played 90 minutes after coming back from the injury that kept him out of the US squad that traveled to Italy earlier this month, while Orozco Fiscal returned to the San Luis starting lineup, completing the full 90 minutes with a solid defensive Worringly, Pachuca are now four games without a win, while San Luis’ winless streak stretches back eight games.
On Friday in Tijuana, nine-man Club Tijuana held on for a 1-1 tie against Club América, with Edgar Castillo, Joe Corona and Greg Garza all involved.
Castillo, on loan from las Águilas, was a constant menace on the left, and a vital outlet when Tijuana went down to 10 men in the seventh minute. He combined with fellow starter Corona for Club Tijuana's equalizer, laying the ball off for the US U-23 international, whose saved shot was nodded in by Duvier Riascos. Corona completed 67 minutes, while Garza replaced Castillo in the 84th.
Jonathan Bornstein was an unused substitute for Tigres UANL in their 2-2 tie away to Jaguares on Saturday.
In Mexico's second division, Jesús Padilla started in La Piedad's 2-1 defeat to Necaxa on Sunday.
Elsewhere, Jeff Cunningham played the full 90 minutes for Comunicaciones against Zacapa in the Guatemalan league, but the team fell 2-0.
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.