GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Club Tijuana fell 2-1 to León on Friday night and now their playoff fate hinges on other results this weekend.
Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona both started the match, which was only Xolos’ second home Liga MX defeat in the last year. Meanwhile, American forward Herculez Gomez was left out of the squad by coach César Farías, while Paul Arriola came off the bench with seven minutes remaining.
Corona went an hour in an attacking midfield role, filtering a pass through to Jaime Ayoví in the 12th minute, but the Ecuadorean failed to convert what should’ve been the opening tally of the game.
The San Diego native also came close to providing an equalizer in the 37th minute, when his cross was headed over by Argentine Darío Benedetto.
Castillo was bright from left back and almost snatched a goal late in stoppage time to hand Xolos the point they needed to make the playoffs, but his shot from the edge of the area sailed over the crossbar.
Tijuana dominated the game in terms of chances and struck the post twice in the second half.
The border club now needs to hope one of Morelia (at Puebla on Sunday) or Atlas (at Tigres UANL on Saturday) fail to win to get into the postseason.
If the scenario materializes, Tijuana will then be closely watching the Chivas Guadalajara vs. Monterrey match. A win by four or more goals for Chivas would allow them to snatch the last playoff spot from Xolos.
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.