GUADALAJARA, Mexico – It’s that time of year.
The European season is all but over, and only the finale remains in Mexico, where most clubs are either taking a deep breath before launching overhauls of their squads or fine-tuning an already well-oiled machine.
Which Americans based south of the Rio Grande are likely to be moving on, which are staying put and which face uncertain futures? We took to the grapevine to see what it had to say.
Now considered a central midfielder, Jonathan Bornstein (right) hasn’t featured in the league all season for Tigres UANL and told MLSsoccer.com back in February that having options this summer would be smart.
There has been interest in the former Chivas USA captain from other clubs in Mexico and in Europe in the past six months, including a Belgian team, but the 27-year-old is happy in Monterrey and, with the club in next season’s CONCACAF Champions League, his exit is not necessarily set in stone.
Local media suggest the Mexican draft during the first week of June, in which all the team owners get together to thrash out transfers, could be crucial for the future of the US international and other players at Tigres that haven’t gotten playing time.
In Club Tijuana, the futures of Joe Corona and Greg Garza seem secure, with both enjoying playing for an increasingly competitive Xolos side. The only caveat to that could be if the right European club came in for Corona, who is on record stating his desire to play on the other side of the Atlantic at some point in his career.
Edgar Castillo’s stock has risen sharply this season, compounded by his recent call-up to the national team. The Las Cruces, N.M., native wants to stay at Club Tijuana, but his six-month loan deal from Club América is up and a tough round of negotiations are set. A trip over the pond could a real possibility should negotiations fall flat, plus there would undoubtedly be other Mexican teams interested.
Puebla have promised their fans that DaMarcus Beasley will be at the club next season, but there was interest from Europe over the winter and rumors continue to swirl about a move to a bigger Mexican club. Would cash-strapped Puebla be tempted if a bigger Mexican club came in with a part-exchange deal offering two or three players? Beasley’s situation is definitely one to keep an eye on during the Mexican draft.
José Francisco Torres and Michael Orozco Fiscal (right) are in similar boats this summer.
Mexican icon Hugo Sánchez has just taken over at Pachuca, meaning there will likely be changes, but the fine form Torres has shown over the last five months should keep him at the club over the summer, unless a European move materializes.
Orozco Fiscal’s San Luis had a poor season and were sold by TV giants Televisa earlier this month. The club’s new owners, headed by club president Enrique Borja, are close to bringing in Argentine Rubén Omar Romano as coach, a move that will likely usher in changes at the club that could potentially affect Orozco Fiscal.
Sonny Guadarrama falls into the same bracket at Atlante. Former Mexico national team coach Ricardo La Volpe is back in charge and "Kikín" Fonseca, who plays a similar position to Guadarrama, is on his way out, perhaps meaning the attacking midfielder will be given more playing time next season.
Currently focused on the Clausura 2012 final, Herculez Gomez has enjoyed a memorable first season with Santos Laguna and looks set to stay, although his career in Mexico has had more of its fair share of unexpected twists.
Gomez’s former Pachuca teammate Marco Vidal was linked to a move away from Club León over the winter and, with the team recently promoted, Vidal is likely to be moving to pastures new after an 18-month stint at the club.
In Guatemala, Jeff Cunningham is set to fulfill the last six months of his contract with Comunicaciones.
Among younger players, there is likely to be another steady streaming coming to Mexico for tryouts at various clubs.
The annual Landon Donovan to Club América rumors have not started yet, and there has been no mention, so far, of big MLS names heading south.
The one exception is Sporting Kansas City’s Roger Espinoza. Sporting may have a battle on their hands to keep the Honduran international, who has more than one Mexican club keeping an eye on him according to reports.
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.