RECAP: MIDWEEK MEXICAN ACTION
The return of Mexico's national cup, branded as Copa MX to coincide with the new Liga MX, saw several young Americans get playing time during the week.
Tijuana 0 - 0 Merida
In a game lacking highlights, second division team Merida visited el Estadio Caliente, as Tijuana fielded a mostly reserve squad on Tuesday.
Greg Garza started and played 90 minutes, while Alejandro Guido made the bench for the hosts, while Edgar Castillo, Joe Corona and Stevie Rodriguez did not dress.
Xolos defender Jose Gonzalez received a red card for a reckless tackle in the 36th minute, leaving the home defense short handed. This impacted the rest of the game greatly as the red and blacks shifted more to a defensive formation.
Merida pressed the attack in the second half and Garza was called into action, likely saving the game for Tijuana on a goal line clearance as a low shot trickled past goalkeeper Eder Patino.
The opening game tie was matched on Wednesday by the other Group 6 teams, Celaya and Pumas. All four teams stand equal with one point and zero goals.
Tijuana will visit Merida for their next cup match on Tuesday.
Toluca 1 - 3 Lobos BUAP
Marco Vidal started and played 90 minutes for Lobos as they visited Toluca on Tuesday.
Edgar Benitez opened up the scoring for Toluca in the 28th minute, finding himself in an opportunistic position to finish off a nice run by Francisco Gamboa.
The Toluca defender started with the ball in the middle of the field about 40 yards out from goal, intercepting a Lobos clearance. He dribbled the ball towards the box and drew a defender to him before laying off a quick wall pass that set him free at the top of the 18. Gamboa's shot was partially saved by goalkeeper Oscar Mejia, but the ball slipped past him and into the path of Benitez who finished it cleanly.
Lobos answered in the 43rd minute as newly acquired Brazilian striker Lima took a long ball at the top of the 18, spun away from his defender to the inside and ripped a shot to the right team upper 90, beating goalkeeper Miguel Centeno.
Juan Cacho had the first opportunity to break the deadlock in the 50th minute, as he stepped up to take a penalty kick. His shot was weak, low, and too close to Mejia, allowing for an easy save and a huge morale boost to the second division squad.
Lima netted his second of the night in the 54th minute ollowing a beautiful counter attack that went from touch line to touch line in 14 touches. Good team defense from Lobos led to acquisition of the ball, where it quickly went up field to Diego Souza in the middle third.
Souza played a give-and-go with Lima who then played Omar Tejeda down the left flank who took two touches to get inside the box beforing squarnig across to Lima who scooped the ball over a diving Centeno.
Lima's hat trick was completed ten minutes later, once again on a pass from Tejeda. The 23-year old left midfielder took a cross field pass on the left flank again, and drew the ball back to his right foot about 20 yards off the end line. His cross curved in over the defense and found Lima at the back post who leaped at the ball with a diving header, putting it easily past Centeno.
Joining Lobos in an opening game upset was Irapuato, who beat Puebla 3-2. The two second division teams find themselves tied for a nearly lead in Group 7.
Lobos will play their second leg against Toluca in seven days.
Veracruz 2 - 1 Club America
Ventura Alvarado, a 19-year old defender from Phoenix, Arizona started and played 90 minutes for Club America in their opening game against Veracruz.
After a scoreless first half, fireworks started in the 51st minute when Christian Bermudez swung a cross into the box from the left flank, finding the head of Antonio Lopez who was able to power past goalkeeper Jesus Urbina. Lopez then took his right cleat off and hoisted it towards the crowd like a trophy. This inexplicable celebration did not result in a yellow card, but may have worked to galvanize America's second division opponents.
Pablo Torres answered for Veracruz in the 66th minute, getting on the end of a long cross from the right flank, and heading the ball over goalkeeper Hugo Gonzalez, who was caught out of position as he considered cutting off the cross.
Luis Orozco put Veracruz ahead in the 85th minute, putting his head to an in - swinging corner kick and past Gonzalez.
America joins fellow Liga MX team Queretaro at the bottom of Group 5, and will face Veracruz again on Thursday.
Adrian Ruelas made the bench for Veracruz.
Michael Orozco did not dress for San Luis in their 2-1 victory over Pumas Morelos.
Jose Francisco Torres did not dress for Pachuca in their 1-0 loss to CD Tapatio.
DaMarcus Beasley did not dress for Puebla in their 3-2 loss to Irapuato.