CHRISTOPHER MCCOLLUM - Monday, April 9, 2012
Joe Corona and DaMarcus Beasley were the American stars in Mexico over the weekend, while Michael Orozco found himself alone on the losing end.
Tijuana 2 - 1 Atlante
Edgar Castillo started and played 90 minutes, with Joe Corona adding 70 minutes and the eventual game winner for Tijuana.
Tijuana's account was opened in the 13th minute when Jose Tahuilan got on the end of a Fernando Arce corner kick. The ball swung perfectly into the goalbox where Tahuilan was able to put a glancing header on it to put it past goalkeeper Armando Navarette.
Corona would add the second of the match only six minutes later when Jose Sand played a pass across the box from the left flank. His bouncing ball found Corona towards the right side of goal about eight yards off the end line, and the U.S. U-23 midfielder popped the ball up to about knee height with his right foot as the ball came across him, then immediately drilled a volley to the far post with the same foot, beating Navarette.
Francisco Fonseca would pull one back for Atlante in the 60th minute, getting on the end of an Osvaldo Martinez through ball that found him free in the box, splitting the defenders. One deft touch past goalkeeper Cirilo Saucedo was all he needed to give the team from Cancun a glimmer of hope.
Tijuana would hold the lead, however, and stay tentatively in control of their playoff destiny, as they sit in seventh place out of eight, holding a five-point cushion over the ninth place tie between Cruz Azul and Toluca with three games remaining.
Tijuana will next visit San Luis on Saturday, April 14.
Puebla 2 - 1 Toluca
DaMarcus Beasley started and played 90 minutes for Puebla, scoring his third goal in his past five games.
Toluca found the back of the net first just after the 30th minute when a bouncing ball found its way opportunistically to the feet of Aureliano Torres near the penalty spot, where he quickly shot on goal, beating goalkeeper Alexandro Olivares.
Toluca would hold the score through half time, but in the 50th minute Puebla struck back, with Beasley getting on the end of a skipping ball into the box from the right flank, finding him just outside the goalbox. The American reacted quickly as the ball unexpectedly bounced through a mix of players at the near post, and got his right foot on the ball to send it into the net.
With the score tied, Puebla showed no sign of slowing down, and Beasley immediately came close a minute later, but his shot was off target.
The game winner came from Aaron Padilla in the 82nd minute, as he found space in the middle of the box to receive a pass from Brayan Martinez Arizpe. Padilla faked to his right, appearing that he was going to let the ball go across his body so he could turn and shoot with her left foot, but instead he chopped the ball back to his left to give himself space from the defense, then hit a shot with his right foot that went into the roof of the net, clearing the fingertips of goalkeeper Alfredo Telavera.
The victory is Puebla's second in a row, moving them from being within a point of last place to the middle of the standings, now sitting in 11th place. While not yet mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, they would need two losses each from Chiapas, Cruz Azul and Toluca while winning all three of their remaining games.
Puebla will have a chance to get off on the right foot next week when they travel to relegation-threatened Tecos on Friday, April 13.
Pachuca 1 - 0 Pumas
Jose Torres went his usual 90 minutes for Pachuca, getting a yellow card and providing the assist on their game winning goal.
Pachuca entered the game needing a win to keep their spot in the playoffs safe, as they were only three points clear of being knocked out of the picture.
The lone goal of the game came in the 79th minute, when Torres swung a corner kick in, and found Felix Borja at the near post. Borja had weaved his run well, and was unmarked as he went up for the ball, beating the outstretched hands of Alejandro Palacios who was attempting to punch the ball away.
Pachuca's win moved them six points clear of danger with three games remaining, requiring a total meltdown and unfathomable good fortune from the teams behind them to catch up and take their spot in the playoffs.
Pachuca will host Morelia on Saturday, April 14.
Chiapas 3 - 2 San Luis
Michael Orozco had the lone losing effort of the Americans who played over the weekend, as he went 90 minutes for hapless San Luis, losing their third in a row, and ninth of the campaign.
Orozco played 90 minutes and committed one foul in their losing effort to Chiapas.
The scoring was opened in the third minute with an own goal from San Luis defender Daniel Alcantar. The ball came across the goal and was going clear with nobody in a threatening position, when Alcantar came sliding in to clear the ball out for a corner kick. His clearing ball instead went into the goal.
San Luis would even the score up in the 29th minute with a penalty kick from Alfredo Moreno, after a hard slide tackle from Miguel Martinez on Ignacio Torres resulted in a penalty and yellow card. Moreno converted the shot to bring some hope back to the squad.
Chiapas would grab the lead back in the 56th minute when Orozco committed a foul on Jackson Martinez, resulting in a dangerous free kick about 24 yards back and slightly to the left of goal.
Edgar Andrade stepped up to take the free kick, and he curled the ball over the wall and tucked into the near post, to put the Jaguares back up.
San Luis would pull even for a second time in the 76th minute, again from a Moreno penalty kick. Defender Miguel Martinez dragged down Moreno in the box, resulting in his second yellow card and an ensuing red.
Moreno was correct in his penalty for the second time, and leveled the game at two.
Luis Rey would finally put the troublesome San Luis away in the 82nd minute, taking a chip pass over the top from Jackson Martinez, that put him in on goal and free to shoot past goalkeeper Oscar Perez.
San Luis now sit two points clear of last place, with the worst defense and second worst goal differential in the league. The woes will likely result in wholesale changes during the off season, as the once strong defensive team tries to get back in the swing of things.
San Luis will next host Tijuana on Saturday, April 14.
Herculez Gomez had a rest day following Santos Laguna's 6-2 win over Toronto FC on Wednesday. It should have been a smart tactical move, as they were playing last place Tecos, but surprisingly the result was a 1-1 tie, with Santos missing out on the opportunity to extend their lead in the standings.
Jonathan Bornstein did not dress for Tigres in their 2-0 loss to Monterrey.
Greg Garza did not dress for Tijuana in their 2-1 victory over Atlante.
Marco Vidal did not dress for Club Leon in their 3-0 victory over Dorados in the second division.