Herculez Gomez for Santos Laguna

American Exports preview: Pre-Champions League tests for Herculez Gomez, Jose Torres

PUEBLA, Mexico – MLS finally gets underway this weekend, but Americans down in Mexico are already crossing the halfway mark of the Liga MX’s Clausura season.

Herculez Gomez (above) and his Santos Laguna side kick off on Friday against Jaguares in Chiapas looking to consolidate themselves in the playoff spots ahead of next week’s CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal first leg against the Houston Dynamo (8:30 pm ET, ESPN Deportes).

On Saturday, Jose Torres’ Tigres UANL look to maintain their undefeated run in Clausura championship at home against Morelia (8 pm ET, UniMás), just days before hosting the Seattle Sounders in their CCL quarterfinal first leg.

Later the same evening, DaMarcus Beasley is likely to feature for Puebla against struggling León, with his team in the playoff race midseason for the first time since the winger moved to Mexico (9 pm ET, Telemundo). Michael Orozco Fiscal is suspended after his red card for a hand ball last weekend.

READ: Which MLS sides have the best shot at winning Champions League?

Club Tijuana are turning heads with their performance in the Copa Libertadores, but Edgar Castillo, Joe Corona and Greg Garza will face a stern test on the road against Atlas, the surprise team of the Liga MX thus far (10 pm ET, Univision Deportes).

Down in Mexico’s second division, Marco Vidal’s third-place Lobos BUAP travel to Altamira (Saturday, 8 pm ET) and Sonny Guadarrama’s Mérida take on Cuauhtémoc Blanco’s Dorados de Sinaloa in Yucatán (Saturday, 8 pm ET).

In Costa Rica, Moises Hernandez’s Saprissa host Carmelita on Sunday (5 pm ET).

Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at tom.marshall.mex@gmail.com.

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