22013_edgarcastillo_isi_usamnttq081512061 Tony Quinn/isiphotos.com

Edgar Castillo Returns but Tijuanamerica Struggles

We’ll tie the bow on this round of the Hex, review the weekend’s domestic action including some excelling Americans, and look forward to this week’s CCL and Copa Libertadores matches.
BY Jon Arnold Posted
April 01, 2013
6:21 PM
Panama tops the heap after home win
If you had Panama as the leader of the Hex after three matches, collect your prize! Los Caneleros got draws against Costa Rica and Jamaica and hosted Honduras on Tuesday. They jumped out and surprised the visitors early when Leonel Parris slipped behind the defense and set up a Luis Tejada goal in the second minute. FC Dallas striker Blas Pérez got the second and Panama nabbed what could be a crucial home victory over the favored Catrachos. That takes them to five points, one clear of Costa Rica, the U.S., and Honduras.
Ticos back on track
After experiencing extreme frustration in Denver against the United States, Costa Rica was able to right the ship against Jamaica. The Ticos were the better team throughout the match and broke through in the 28th minute when an Alvaro Saborio shot was deflected and fell to Michael Umaña who easily slotted it past Donovan Ricketts. Diego Calvo, a 20-year-old midfielder who plays in Norway, put the match on ice (too soon?) with his first international goal.

This video has the highlights but also shows fans protesting the FIFA Fair Play pageantry going on at the start of the match, a move made after FIFA denied the Costa Rican federation’s protest of the Americans’ 1-0 win in Colorado.
América tops rival Chivas in controversial match
The big story in Liga MX this weekend was the Clásico between the country’s two largest clubs, Club América and Chivas. The Estadio Omnilife, a beautiful structure opened in 2010 that sadly sits empty for most Chivas matches because of high ticket prices and bad location, was full and rocking.

The Goats had the run of play in the opening moments but lost Jose Enriquez to injury in the 12th minute and Hector Reynoso in the 22nd. Marco Fabian also was injured in the first half. He tried to return in the second but had to come off in the 54th minute. If that wasn’t bad enough, Chivas was reduced to 10 men in the 35th because of a soft second yellow to Sergio Perez. A man down and unable to make any tactical substitutions, Chivas couldn’t withstand the Águilas attacks, as Raul Jiménez took advantage of the depleted team to score a brace.
Tijuanamerica (and Toluca…tadores?)
El Homie, Edgar Castillo, is El Homie Enmascarado for a few weeks. He returned from facial injures, but Xolos weren’t able to get off the ground against Toluca. The Red Devils undid Tijuana in the 7th minute and Fidel Martinez was sent off. Joe Corona also started and went 63 minutes in the losing effort. The defeat puts Tijuana on a four-match winless skid in league play and sees the Apertura champions slide out of the Liguilla places. Both these teams now turn to this week’s Copa Libertadores matches. Tijuana travels to Bolivia to face San José. A win at altitude—12,159 feet in Oruro—puts los Xolos through to the knock out stages.

Toluca has a bit more to do, heading to Montevideo to face Group 1 leaders Nacional. The hosts are on seven points with Boca Juniors second on six and the Mexicans third with five points. Top two in the group advance, so a road win this week would go a long way toward reaching the next round.

Americans in Liga MX
DaMarcus Beasley returned back to his spot in midfield for Puebla after subbing in at left back for the national team. He came on at halftime and made his impact known by scoring in the 58th minute. His teammate Michael Orozco Fiscal, a late addition to the national team in Mexico, went the full 90 at right back. It was, however, Jose Torres who got the last laugh. He started and went 68 minutes in a 2-1 victory for Tigres. Jonathan Bornstein was on the bench but did not play.

Herc Gomez tried to pull an April Fools’ Day joke by tweeting he’d be joining Chivas USA. I’m not really sure how many people believed him. Either way, he played the full 90 for Santos in a 1-1 draw with Querétaro on Saturday.

CONCACAF Champions League
The first legs of the semifinals kick off this week. Both feature an MLS team and a Liga MX squad. Gomez and Santos head for Seattle for a Tuesday rematch of last year’s quarterfinal meeting. In that tie, the Sounders won the home leg, 2-1, but were taken apart in Torreon and lost 6-1. It’s probably not the best timing in the world for the Cascadians, who haven’t found success yet in league play. Marcus Hahnemann, the Premier League veteran, will be in net for the home side with Michael Gspurning out because of yellow card accumulation. He says there is added emphasis in the first leg since away goals are a tiebreaker.

The other semi features title holders Monterrey against MLS champion LA Galaxy. Los Rayados traveled to LA today and say they’re aware they’ll face a tall task to get to the final. They come in on a five-match unbeaten streak after a slow start to the Clausura. The home team is on an unbeaten run of its own—it hasn’t lost yet this season—but had to fight back for a draw in Toronto on Saturday. The Galaxy also feel confident heading into the tie.

Teams draw, but Compeán and Gulati won’t
Medio Tiempo takes a look at the empty FIFA Executive Committee seat vacated by Chuck Blazer. It’s an interesting read if you speak Spanish or just want to run it through the ol’ Google machine. The vote will take place at the CONCACAF Congress on April 19. Most other elections are unopposed.

Video of the week
Here’s Joel Campbell and Celso Borges doing this little juggling-dance number before their match against Jamaica. It’s pretty awesome and also includes Ariel Rodriguez attempting to join the party with a Ronaldinho style flick, failing, and completely giving up. Why didn’t they just try to do this during the snow match?

Jon Arnold (@ArnoldcommaJon) is a writer based in Arizona and is ASN's CONCACAF correspondent.

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