ISAAC HEATH - Thursday, January 14, 2010
The Mexican Bicentenario kicks off this weekend with Herculez Gomez and Puebla hoping to rebound from their Interliga loss to Estudiantes while Marco Vidal and Indios are out to regain some respect after having the worst Apertura in league history.
Pachuca will start the season at home against a red hot Estudiantes team that is hoping to ride the wave of its shock run through the first weekend of the Bicentenario at Hidalgo Stadium on Saturday evening.
Paco Torres, who saw regular time at center midfield for the Tuzos during the Apertura, will not need much help with motivation this season as the young playmaker looks to impress Bob Bradley in order to earn a spot on the US World Cup roster.
The game is expected to be an extremely open and attacking affair, with both teams enjoying to play a more verticle style of soccer.
Both Guillermo Rivarola and Miguel Herrera will have their full teams available for Saturday's clash.
Indios' task to obtain their first victory since the last Clausura season should prove to be extremely difficult as they face a Monterrey club that just won the Interliga in thrilling fashion earlier this week.
Marco Vidal will likely find himself in his usual defensive center midfield position, as the American hopes to help his team somehow find a victory.
The Rayados from Monterrey also were claimed the Apertura championship and December but no longer have Humberto Suazo up front scoring goals. The Chilean signed with Spanish club Zaragoza last week.
Both teams are expected to have their full rosters available for the game Saturday.
After recently meeting in the Interliga opening round, Tigres will visit Puebla in a game that will pit newly signed forward Herculez Gomez against fellow American Edgar Castillo.
Castillo had an excellent Apertura with Tigres, and has high hopes that continued good play will mean more call ups to the US national team.
Gomez, who last represented the United States at the debacle that was the 2007 Copa America, will likely get the start up front for Puebla.
Puebla hopes to build on their quality showing in the Interliga with a victory in the first game of the season.
Michael Orozco and San Luis return to action at the always difficult Estadio Azteca against America, where they will look to prove their Apertura playoff appearance was no fluke.
Orozco appears to have gained the confidence of Ignacio Ambriz, and will likely play outside right back for the visitors in Sunday's opener.
America will be looking to respond from their difficult penalty kick shoot out loss to Monterrey in the finals of the Interliga tournament, so San Luis should expect an extremely tough game.