GUADALAJARA, Mexico – It was short and largely uneventful, but Freddy Adu’s Brazilian adventure got underway in earnest on Sunday when he came on for the final five minutes of Bahia’s 0-0 tie with Juazeirense.
The 23-year-old was the third change from coach Joel Santana, in a game that left Bahia second place in Group 1 of the Campeonato Baiano, behind Juazeiro only on goal difference.
Way north in the Liga MX, DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco Fiscal’s Puebla team is still searching for the point that will guarantee its top-flight survival for next season after Sunday’s 2-0 loss to Atlante in Cancún.
Beasley came on at halftime with Puebla 1-0 down and was heavily involved as La Franja piled on the pressure searching for a point. Orozco Fiscal started out at right back, but ended up playing most the second half pushing high up the left flank.
Meanwhile, Club Tijuana duo Joe Corona and Edgar Castillo were both sent off late in Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Morelia in the Estadio Caliente.
Corona came off the bench in the 70th and was shown a straight red in the 88th minute for a late tackle. Television replays showed that while he did commit a foul, he didn’t go in with his studs up and was attempting to win the ball.
Three minutes later, Castillo followed his USMNT teammate back to the locker room after the left back was first booked for tugging at the shirt and shoulder of Rodrigo Salinas. A second yellow followed straight after, apparently for something Castillo said to the referee.
The result means Xolos must win their next two games – at San Luis away and home vs. Chivas – to have a chance of reaching the playoffs, although the border club is also focusing on the Copa Libertadores Round of 16 tie against Palmeiras.
Also Saturday, Tigres UANL’s Jose Torres faced his old club Pachuca for the first time and was on the right side of a 3-1 victory at the Estadio Universitario. Torres went 84 minutes in the victory, which kept Tigres in first position in the Liga MX, one point ahead of Atlas.
Another American made his Liga MX debut on Friday, with Alonso Hernandez getting his first minutes for Monterrey in a 1-0 loss to Herculez Gomez’s Santos Laguna in a preview of the CONCACAF Champions League final, which kicks off next week.
A native of El Paso, Texas, Hernandez has six goals in eight starts for Monterrey’s Under-20 side this Clausura season and got his full pro debut in the 63rd minute against Santos, when he replaced Argentine Neri Cardozo. The 19-year-old almost made an instant impact when he swiveled and shot from 25 yards in the 65th to force Santos ‘keeper Oswaldo Sánchez into a fine, flying save to his left.
Hernandez loosely played down the left forward channel as Rayados coach Víctor Manuel Vucetich threw on attacking players late in the game to try to salvage a point.
Gomez started for the Guerreros the right wing, but was quieter than usual, although his work-rate down the flank was important in nullifying Monterrey’s well-known attacking force. Gomez was taken off in the 74th as coach Pedro Caixinha looked to consolidate the one-goal advantage.
Panamanian Felipe Baloy heading in from a corner to grab the winner in the 18th minute, securing Santos's qualification for the playoffs.
Monterrey and Santos will meet again on April 24 and on May 1 as they battle for the CCL title and a place in the Club World Cup in Morocco in December.
In the Ascenso MX, Sonny Guadarrama scored a 15th-minute goal in Meéida’s 1-1 draw with Altamira on Friday, while Marco Vidal’s playoff-bound Lobos BUAP lost 1-0 at Toros Neza on Sunday, with the Texan going 79 minutes.
In Costa Rica, FC Dallas loanee Moises Hernandez again went 90 minutes for Saprissa on Sunday in their 4-0 home victory over Pérez Zeledón.
Finally, in El Salvador, former Cal FC goalkeeper Derby Carrillo kept a clean sheet on Sunday in Santa Tecla’s 0-0 tie with Alianza to leave the team in third place in the first division.
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.