CHRISTOPHER MCCOLLUM - Thursday, March 29, 2012
Herculez Gomez scored for his sixth straight game while DaMarcus Beasley also found the back of the net.
Santos 2 - 0 Queretaro
Herculez Gomez played 90 minutes for Santos Laguna as they stayed in the lead by goal differential at the top of the Mexican standings.
Santos opened up the scoring in the 28th minute when Queretaro defender Adrian Garcia Arias committed a hard foul on Oribe Peralta in the box, receiving a yellow card in the process, and then a second yellow for protesting after the fact. The foul on Peralta resulted in a penalty kick that was taken by midfielder Juan Rodriguez, who put it away without any doubt.
The last last place Queretaro would take an even harder hit when their second player was ejected in the 48th minute. Jose Martinez received his second yellow card after being fouled by Santos midfielder Marc Crosas. Martinez was riled up by the foul and ended up being shown his second yellow and thrown from the game.
Down two men, Queretaro tried to shore up the defense against the high-flying Santos offense, and seemed to be somewhat successful until the 74th minute when Herculez Gomez got on the end of a Carlos Quintero corner kick, making a near post run to shake the defense. His glancing header had enough power to get over and past goalkeeper Sergio Garcia to cement the Santos lead.
With the win, Santos stayed at the top of the standings on goal differential with Morelia, and one point ahead of third place Tigres. They will next travel to Toluca on April 1.
Puebla 1 - 1 Cruz Azul
DaMarcus Beasley started and played 89 minutes for struggling Puebla as they forced a surprise tie with traditional giants Cruz Azul.
Cruz Azul got on the board first in the 10th minute when Emmanuel Villa got on the end of Manuel Garrido pass that was placed perfectly in from the left side of the box. The ball got behind the defense and fell right to Villa's feet inside the goalbox, where he finished the ball calmly past goalkeeper Alexandro Olivares.
It looked like it was going to be usual defeat for Puebla, but Beasley was able to pull the game back in the 55th minute when got on the end of a bang bang play, as the ball came bouncing into the box by on a series of nice passes by the Puebla midfielders. The ball was lofted to Lucas Silva de Oliveira who headed it back into the path of Beasley right in front of goal, who then finished it by volleying it past goalkeeper Jesus Corona.
The result would stand, and Puebla moved three points away from last place Queretaro at the bottom of the standings.
Puebla will next visit the last place Queretaro on March 31.
Tijuana 2 - 0 Atlas
Edgar Castillo started and played his usual 90 minutes for Tijuana as they locked themselves by four points into contention for the Clausura playoffs.
Tijuana's Jose Sand put them on the board in the 20th minute, getting his head on a cross from Mauro Nestor Gerk. The forward controlled the ball deep in the left side of the box, and chipped it across the face of the goal to find Sand, who headed it in for the lead.
Jose Sand would continue his solid season by providing the assist on Tijuana's second goal, scored by Raul Arumbula in the 69th minute. Sand took control of the ball around the penalty spot and was fell upon by three Atlas defenders. Sand played the ball quickly over to the right side of the box where Arumbula was by himself, at the corner of the goalbox. He blasted a shot into the roof of the net, cleanly beating goalkeeper Miguel Pinto.
The win kept Tijuana in the playoff zone with only a month left in the season. They will next visit Pachuca on March 30.
San Luis 2 - 3 Atlante
Michael Orozco played 90 minutes for San Luis, who rediscovered their losing ways against mid-pack Atlante.
Osvaldo Martinez opened the scoring for Atlante in the 27th minute with a beautiful free kick from the left corner of the box, curling it up and over the wall, into the near post past the finger tips of Oscar Perez.
San Luis answered five minutes later in the 32nd, as Jesus Chavez found himself in an opportune position in the goalbox with the ball bouncing around. It came in his direction and he wasted no time heading it in to tie the game.
Martinez added his second in the 51st minute, as Francisco Fonseca went on a row into the right side of the box, doing well to keep possession as he weaved through the defense. Recognizing the havoc that his run played on the defense, he crossed the ball back across the box to the wide open Martinez who played the ball low and to the far post from 16 yards out.
Next on the board for Atlante was Machael Arroyo in the 81st minute, scoring on another direct free kick. From the left side of the box, about 24 yards out, Arroyo curled it over the wall and to the near post, tucking it just under the cross bar and out of reach of Perez.
San Luis would pull back a consolation goal in the 87th minute when Cesar Villaluz collected the ball in the right side of the box and hammered it past Armando Navarette to give San Luis some hope of a tie.
The hope would prove fruitless, however, as the score stood. San Luis now have only one win in their past nine games.
They will next visit Cruz Azul on March 31.
Pachuca 2 - 3 Chiapas
Jose Torres went 90 minutes for Pachuca but wasn't able to rescue the game as they tumble further down the standings, and are now on the bottom edge of playoff contention.
Chiapas got on the board first in the 13th minute when Jorge Rodriguez found Luis Rey streaking through the defense. Playing the ball perfectly into his path, Rey was setup for a break away and scored easily past Rodolfo Cota.
Rey would connect again with Martinez in the 23rd minute on a very similar play. Rey's speed once again put him behind the defense on a break away, and once again saw him easily score past Cota.
Pachuca would pull one back in the 36th minute when Mauro Cejas played a corner kick, finding the head of Segundo Castillo. Chiapas goalkeeper Edgar Hernandez was caught out of position as he had ideas of coming out to meet the corner, but Castillo's head got there first and put the ball into the empty net.
Felix Borja and Jose Torres would pull Pachuca level in the 72nd minute. Torres found himself in the box with the ball looping in the air. Jumping, he put his head on it, deflecting it closer to goal and to Borja's feet, who slammed it home to the far post.
With the score even, Pachuca must have felt good about overcoming the two goal deficit, but they would be undone in the 80th minute by Ricardo Esqueda. Forward Franco Arizala could have claimed the goal for himself as his chip over the goalkeeper was easily going in, but the rushing Esqueda got to the ball before it crossed the line to finish the shot.
The loss dropped Pachuca down to 7th place in the standings, only two points secure in their qualification for the Clausura playoffs.
They will next host Tijuana on March 30.
Jonathan Bornstein did not dress for Tigres as they beat Pumas 2-0
Greg Garza did not dress for Tijuana.
Joe Corona was in Nashville for the Olympic Qualifiers, so was not available for Tijuana.