42513_coronajoe_isi_usmntjt0526122530 John Todd/isiphotos.com

The American Contingent Struggles in Mexico

Joe Corona and Edgar Castillo see red for Tijuana, while DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco Fiscal lose with Puebla. Jon Arnold has those stories and more in his latest from the wide world of CONCACAF.
BY Jon Arnold Posted
April 25, 2013
9:10 AM
Yikes. A week after taking the worst defeat in the club’s short history, Tijuana compounded its issues, dropping a 2-1 result to Morelia after taking a first half lead through Daniel Marquez.

What’s more, American duo Joe Corona and Edgar Castillo were both sent off and will miss the next match. Corona came on in the 70th minute and left 18 minutes later, while Castillo played the whole match until he lost his head in stoppage time and got two quick yellows. Additionally, Duvier Riascos was booked and will also miss Tijuana’s match at San Luis because of yellow card accumulation. On the bright side for U.S. fans, Greg Garza could get some time with all the players missing. But the team will almost certainly miss out on the playoffs in the tournament directly after its championship. Some blame the struggles on the squad's focus on Copa Libertadores—a competition in which it has outperformed expectations and made it to the knockout Round of 16.

The news isn’t rosy there either with Brazilian power Palmeiras visiting Estadio Caliente April 30 and Tijuana making the return trip for a May 14 fixture. Palmeiras actually was relegated last season but made it to the Libertadores by winning the cup. It won its Libertadores group, beating out Tigre, Libertad, and Sporting Cristal, and also showed well in Sau Paulo’s recently concluded regional tournament regular season finishing sixth—a spot behind Corinthians. The knockout stage of that tournament begins this weekend. All that to say, Tijuana won’t have easy passage to the quarterfinals.

Other Americans in Liga MX
Jose Torres started and played 83 minutes in a win against Pachuca. Carlos Salcido, the Mexican midfielder, had a brace in the 3-1 result. The club is still topping the table with two weeks to go before the regular season ends.

Puebla’s bad spell continues, and it still isn’t clear of relegation in Mexico’s very odd system. One point means safety, but it didn’t come this week. Michael Orozco Fiscal went the full 90 and DaMarcus Beasley played the second half in a 2-0 loss to Atlante.

Herc Gomez started but made way in the 74th minute of Santos’ 1-0 defeat of Monterrey. Also in that match, Alonso Hernandez (full name Joaquin Alonso Hernandez Garcia) made his league debut. Hernandez is a 19-year-old from El Paso who previously played just over the border of his hometown for Indios of Juarez after the club’s relegation from the first division but before it folded.

CONCACAF Champions League Final
With a playoff fight in progress and a derby match against Tigres looming, there was talk of Monterrey playing a weakened lineup. It didn’t but still couldn’t score at the TSM. Santos was unable to take advantage of its home advantage and the sending off of César Delgado in the 65th minute, and the first leg ended scoreless.

Now, it’s los Rayados to lose with only the home match left, but Santos go through with a draw because of the away goals rule. That is, unless the match goes to extra time when everything goes level again.

Gomez entered the match in the 53rd minute after Oribe Peralta injured his knee. If he doesn’t recover before the next match, Gomez could be los Guerreros most dangerous scoring threat.

CCL 2013-14 qualifying
With the 2012-13 edition coming to a close, qualifying continues for the next version of the tournament. Canada’s lone spot is decided by the Canadian Championship, also known as the Voyagers Cup. The first legs of the semifinals took place Tuesday with Toronto FC getting a relatively stress-free home win against Montreal, 2-0. It wasn’t as easy for Vancouver against NASL’s FC Edmonton. Though the Whitecaps took an early lead, they trailed 2-1 at the break and mounted a furious comeback to win 3-2 and take the advantage home for the second leg.

Things also get started in the Caribbean on Friday. The situation there is bit more fluid, and last year’s Jamaican champion, Portmore United, announced its entry Wednesday with second-place Jamaican finishers Boys’ Town hosting one of the two regional sites. That knocked Inter Moengotapoe of Suriname out of the competition. Haitian champions Valencia and Puerto Rican winners Bayamón join the Jamaicans in Group 2. Over in the first group, last year’s Trinidad and Tobago Pro League champions W Connection host. T&T runners-up Caledonia AIA, Haitian second place finishers Baltimore, and USL PRO’s Antigua Barracuda round out that group. Win the group, and you’re in. Finish second and you play the other group’s runner-up for the third CFU spot.

Windward Islands Tournament
With none of the four nations making the Gold Cup, the FAs of the Windward Islands decided to resurrect a tournament that hadn’t been played since 2001 to get a few matches in.

Sadly, Dominica was forced to withdraw from the tournament after a car carrying the national coach, Kurt Hector, and two players drove into a massive ditch caused by recent storms on the way to the airport from La Plaine where they worked with Sagicor South East. Hector and defender Noran Jno Hope were killed in the accident.

The tournament organizers decided to go ahead with the tournament and replaced Dominica with a “President’s Select” XI comprised of players from host St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ domestic league. After two matches, all four sides are level on three points.

Quickly taken
  • Among other things that emerged from the federation congress is confirmation from Sepp Blatter that FIFA is considering giving CONCACAF a fourth guaranteed World Cup qualifying spot for the 2018 competition.
  • Also at the congress five countries were given full membership: Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint-Martin, French Guiana, and Sint Maarten. Bonaire, formerly part of the Dutch Antilles, is now an associate member.
  • Remember that Mexico friendly with Peru we discussed last week? The one nobody was excited about? It ended scoreless.
  • Despite his denials, rumors persist that Jorge Vergara is planning to sell Chivas to the world’s richest man, Carlos Slim.
  • The Mexican second division playoffs are underway. Marco Vidal and Lobos BUAP dropped a 2-1 result to Toros Neza in the first leg of a quarterfinal.
  • Honduras coach Luis Fernado Suarez is in the United States to keep tabs on the Honduran contingent in MLS. Oscar Boniek Garcia, Victor Bernardez, Mario Martinez, and Jerry Bengston are all regular starters.
  • Let the Hendecagon begin! Eleven CONCACAF teams are vying for two spots at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. The United States is in a group with host Bahamas, Guatemala, and Puerto Rico . With the high reader demand, here’s hoping ASN will send your humble correspondent to Nassau for the tournament May 8-12. I’m even willing to stay until May 23 for the Jamaica-Tottenham friendly.
  • Don’t forget you can keep tabs on America’s Hex foes who play out side CONCACAF each week with our Hex Foes Abroad feature.

    Video of the Week
    Salvadoran legend Jorge “Mágico” Gonzalez was named to the Soccer Hall of Fame, which apparently exists and is in Mexico. That’s all the reason needed to make this highlight video our video of the week. Jon Arnold (@ArnoldcommaJon) is a writer based in Arizona and is ASN's CONCACAF correspondent.

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