52313_coronajose_isi_106060213di_mex_jam_corona Adrian Macias/isiphotos.com

A Win for El Tri Pushes Jamaica to the Brink

Jesus Corona saves the day for Mexico as the Reggae Boyz suffer a late defeat; everyone is moving around Mexico, which is fun; Giovanni dos Santos to MLS? And for how much?
BY Jon Arnold Posted
June 06, 2013
2:00 PM
El Tri get first Hex win
Carlos Salcido’s cross set up Aldo de Nigris who scored the 48th-minute header that gave Mexico a 1-0 victory against Jamaica on Tuesday night. Both goalkeepers, Donovan Ricketts for the home team and Jesus Corona for Mexico, put on shows, stopping several clear opportunities for the opposing sides.

The match snaps a streak of six-straight draws across all competitions for Mexico and is the first victory of the Hex for Mexico. Corona’s heroics mean Guillermo Ochoa, named Ajaccio’s Player of the Year on Wednesday, will remain on the bench against Panama and Costa Rica.

It’s a quick turnaround to those contests since the Jamaica match was moved to accommodate El Tri’s participation in the Confederations Cup. The team is already in Panama preparing for Friday’s qualifier. It's a strange atmosphere as one of the stories several media outlets picked up on is that the Mexican team has more security surrounding it than the Panama team, which seems logical but must be novel. Some fans have been making light of Carlos Hermosillo, a former player who now commentates for the Mexican Fox Sports, sweating through a shirt in humid Panama City. I don’t know why, but I think it’s hilarious when people sweat through shirts. I fully expect to see that Pandini video in the comments.

Central American Rivalry
The other Hex match involves Costa Rica hosting Honduras. Marvin Chavez compared it to el clásico, which may be laying it on a bit thick. Either way, it’s a contest both teams think they can win. Both teams are on four points after three matches, and each will be eager to edge ahead of its Central American foe.

Club Tijuana let an early advantage slip away in the first leg of its Copa Libertadores quarterfinal with Atletico Mineiro, drawing 2-2. It needed a goal in Brazil and got one in the 26th minute through Duvier Riascos’s nice strike after an excellent counter attack. But Ronaldinho set up a goal at the end of the first half to make the score 1-1, which would see Galo through on away goals. It looked as though it wouldn’t end that way when Pablo Aguilar won Xolos a penalty in stoppage time. Up stepped Riascos with the semifinals on his foot. The Colombian shot to his left, but keeper Victor was able to lift his legs after diving to his left and made an incredible save with his feet. It would be the last action Riascos would make as a Tijuana player. He was sold to Pachuca in Wednesday’s draft. Also making a departure from the club is manager Antonio Mohamed, who is returning to Argentina to be closer to his family. Presumably, he’ll be able to find a job there without too much trouble. Mohamed took a newly promoted team to a championship after just three seasons and made a remarkable run in the premier South American club competition. Midfielder Leandro Augusto and forward Alfredo Moreno also say goodbye.

Tijuana will look different next season, but it won’t lose its American spice. Herculez Gomez is headed to the border from Santos. The forward, who was born in Southern California, will be expected to fill the scoring gap created by Raiscos’ and Moreno’s departures.

Joe Corona and a pack of Americans who don’t regularly see first-team action will still be at the club, but what about left back Edgar Castillo? His showing in Libertadores has some Brazilian clubs wondering if they could acquire the New Mexico native.

CCL Draw
When CONCACAF streamlined the Champions League prior to the 2012-13 competition, it added a rule preventing MLS and Liga MX teams from being drawn into the same group. What it didn’t add was a procedure to make sure that didn’t happen. Monday night’s draw took place in Miami during a NBA game 7 in the same city and wasn’t televised in English, so the federation largely escaped ridicule in the U.S. Still, come on guys. Nobody saw that coming? At the end of the day everything was properly sorted out and the results shook out like this:

Group 1:  Arabe Unido (Panama), Houston Dynamo, W Connection (Trinidad & Tobago)
Group 2:  Olimpia (Honduras), Sporting Kansas City, Real Esteli (Nicaragua)
Group 3:  Herediano (Costa Rica), Cruz Azul (Mexico), Valencia FC (Haiti)
Group 4:  Club America (Mexico), Alajuelense (Costa Rica), Sporting San Miguelito (Panama)
Group 5:  San Jose Earthquakes, Montreal Impact, Guatemalan Clausura champion
Group 6:  Comunicaciones (Guatemala), Toluca (Mexico), Caledonia AIA (Trinidad & Tobago)
Group 7:  Tijuana (Mexico), Victoria (Honduras), Firpo (El Salvador)
Group 8:  LA Galaxy, Isidro Metapan (El Salvador), Cartagines (Costa Rica)

I’m very excited to see the four-time Honduran champion, Olimpia, match up against Sporting Kansas City. I can see SKC taking the tournament seriously, which they’ll have to do to get by the Lions and their fearsome crowd at Estadio Nacional. Really both legs should have vibrant atmospheres. I also think Cruz Azul will have its hands full with Herediano if the Costa Rican Clausura winners continue in the same form with which they closed the season. Earthquakes-Impact could be fun as well, but we already see that in league play. Let me know in the comments which CCL group you’re looking forward to most.

Speaking of draws, the beach soccer draw took place late Wednesday night. The United States is in Group A along with host Tahiti, Spain, and the United Arab Emirates.

Liga MX Draft
Liga MX is weird. We know this. One of the stranger things is that all domestic transfers take place on the same day through something that’s more like the winter meetings than an actual draft. Either way, 104 transfers went through Wednesday.

Michael Orozco will stay with Puebla, which bought his contract from Jaguares after having him on loan last season. DaMarcus Beasley was listed for transfer prior to the draft but didn’t make a move. That’s the same situation as Jonathan Bornstein’s. The fullback has been transfer-listed multiple times since being owned by Tigres and a move lined up last year but it fell through.

The biggest non-American move was unquestionably De Nigris to Chivas. The Goats are bringing in the forward, who is nearing 100 goals in his career, hoping he can boost a struggling team at a time when its owner, Jorge Vegara, is under pressure to produce results or sell the club. This move came after Chivas attempted to sign veteran and former MLS player Omar Bravo. The president of his current club, Atlas, blocked that move.

Other notable moves include forward Luis Gabriel Rey joining champions América from Jaguares, Efrain Juarez leaving the capital to play for Monterrey, and Javier Orozco leaving Cruz Azul for Santos.

Gio to MLS?
One of the members of Jorge Ramos’ banda reported Wednesday that Giovanni dos Santos, the vaunted Mexican midfielder, has an $8 million offer on the table from the LA Galaxy. Dos Santos previously said he’d like to stay in Spain where Valencia seemed a likely landing spot after Mallorca was relegated. He also has at least one offer at home with Queretaro confirmed to be seeking his signature.

That’s a lot of money, but dos Santos could provide a big boost in the midfield and in the stands. He’s immensely popular among El Tri fans and why not? His performances when wearing green have made him a nemesis for the United States and several other CONCACAF teams. Dos Santos was Mallorca’s best player this season, perhaps quelling fears about his frequently fluid club situation. And while ASN's target audience won’t like to hear this, he turned 24 last month meaning we’ll probably be seeing Gio around for some time.

This isn’t the first time a MLS team has made a go for the Monterrey native. Sporting Kansas City tried to bring him in last year. It is, however, likely the only time he’s been offered that massive sum of money, if that number is accurate.

Whether or not it’s true will be parsed out in the coming weeks. I’ve always said I only believe off-season transfer stories when I see the player holding up a jersey and grinning.

Video of the Week
If you’re reading this feature, you probably enjoy grainy videos of goals from Central American leagues. Well, we’ve got a treat this week. Costa Rica’s Everardo Herrera gives us 15 minutes of the best goals from this season. Jon Arnold (@ArnoldcommaJon) is a writer based in Arizona and is ASN's CONCACAF correspondent.

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