The Mexican forward picks up a knee injury that will keep him out of the upcoming qualifiers; the Seattle Sounders stage an epic comeback; and more from the wild world of CONCACAF.
March 15, 2013
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Hex match number two is only a week away. Here’s who Costa Rica will have in Denver on March 22 along with some thoughts and the same for Mexico ahead of the Americans’ visit to the Azteca.
If you’re curious how most of those players are currently performing, we’ve got you covered. The latest roster news is Santos striker Oribe Peralta will be out for Mexico after sustaining a knee injury against Houston in CONCACAF Champions League play.
CONCACAF Champions League
The semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League are set, and only teams from the U.S. and Mexico remain after LA Galaxy knocked out Costa Rican side Herediano. The Team, as it’s known, has struggled domestically this season and the Galaxy made quick work of it, winning the home leg 4-1 after earning a scoreless draw away.
The Seattle Sounders are also through after a wave of goals in the home leg. Tigres took a 1-0 lead to Century Link Field and added another early in the second, but the hosts scored a trio of spectacular goals to advance.
Monterrey did what Chivas couldn’t and easily got past Xelajú. The Guatemalans were the surprise entrants into the quarterfinals but went down 2-0 in the first half of the first leg, which was hosted in Quetzaltenago, Guatemala, and couldn’t recover against the defending champions.
It took a bit of work but Santos is a step closer to returning to the final. The club lost its opening match in Houston, 1-0, but remained confident it’d advance even with the potential of a Dynamo away goal gumming up the works. It was a moot point when los Guerreros rolled to a 3-0 victory in Estadio Corona.
That sets up a rematch of last year’s quarterfinal against Seattle, which Santos won 7-3 on aggregate after dropping the first leg, 2-1. LA will square off with Monterrey. The semifinals will take place the first week of April.
Club Tijuana suffered its first Copa Libertadores loss Wednesday, dropping a 3-0 result against Corinthians. With American Edgar Castillo unavailable to play left back as he recovers from facial injuries, coach Antonio Mohamed elected to stick with the man who helped the team to a home victory against the champions of the world just a week earlier, playing Joshua Abrego instead of Greg Garza. The Texan did play all of the club’s 1-0 loss to Querétaro, who are seeking to avoid relegation. Joe Corona played the first half of the Libertadores loss but gave away possession too frequently and was substituted at the break.
The Mexican side is still in an excellent position to advance as the points are the first it's dropped during this round. San Jose, the Bolivian squad, beat Millonarios 2-0 Thursday night, meaning Tijuana will advance to the next stage with a point from its two remaining matches. There’s a bit of a break before then that allows Xolos to focus on the league, which is necessary since Monterrey is the next opponent. The two teams square off Saturday night.
Toluca in Libertadores
The region’s other representative has a taller task if it wants to get to the knockout stage of South America’s premier tournament. Toluca sits third in Group 1 after a scoreless draw with Barcelona Sporting, an Ecuadorian club, on Tuesday. The group is among the most competitive in the competition with all teams still having a decent chance at advancing.
Americans in Liga MX update
Herculez Gomez has a goal in each the past two Santos matches, one in the aforementioned win against Houston, the other in a 2-1 league win against Atlante on Friday. Saturday, the team heads to Guadalajara to take on Atlas.
Jose Torres put in his longest stint of the season for Tigres, going 82 minutes in a 2-1 win against San Luis. Tigres host Chivas this weekend.
Lots of activity for the Americans at Puebla. DaMarcus Beasley got on the board in Puebla’s 1-1 cup draw with Pachuca. Puebla won the match in penalty kicks to go through to the semifinals of the Clausura Copa MX. This is still the best video available, and it’s mostly of the shootout. Catch Beasley’s goal at the very start if you can.
Michael Orozco Fiscal got his second yellow in the 89th minute of that match and was sent off. Previously, the duo went the full 90 in a 1-0 loss to Pumas. This weekend in league action, Puebla travel to Pachuca. Actually, they probably just stayed there after the cup match.
Central American Games
Soccer made its return to the Central American Games (which are happening right now in San Jose, Costa Rica) after the competition was cancelled in both 2006 and 2010. This year, the seven Central American countries sent U-21 teams to contest the prize. It worked out a lot like Copa Centroamericana with Costa Rica and Honduras in Friday’s final.
Rafa Marquez Watch
Rafa Marquez started and went 79 minutes for León in a 2-1 loss to Monterrey on Saturday. He was booked in the 50th minute. Meanwhile, Rafa Marquez Lugo, the Chivas forward, is a potential replacement for Peralta on the Mexican national team roster.
Gold Cup Draw
Pretty much everyone seems happy with the Gold Cup draw. Group A looks to be the toughest with Mexico, Panama, and Canada all having the potential to move to the knockout stages. Group B features Honduras, El Salvador, Trinidad and Tobago, and Haiti. The Trinidadian press calls it the best Gold Cup draw the Soca Warriors have ever had. The Salvadorians concede they’re not favorites, while Honduras’ papers focused on the rivalry match the Catrachos will contest in group play. And, as you know, Jurgen Klinsmann said the goal for the U.S. is to win the competition. His side and the Costa Ricans should be able to keep Belize at bay in its first Gold Cup and outclass Cuba to advance out of the third group.
Jon Arnold (@ArnoldcommaJon) is a writer based in Arizona and is ASN's CONCACAF correspondent.