EDGAR ZUNIGA - Friday, March 8, 2013
Several Yanks return to action after international tournament matches, while DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco can help Puebla get one step closer to success.
Santos Laguna - Atlante
Herculez Gomez and Santos Laguna will look to bounce back from a disappointing, midweek loss to Houston Dynamo in the CONCACAF Champions League as they face Atlante on Saturday night.
Powered by a pair Gomez goals, Santos Laguna defeated Jaguares last week, 3-1. A victory over Atlante could propel them into the upper half of the playoff race, while a loss could see them fall out altogether, with Puebla nipping at their heels.
Atlante is suffering through an awful season and might seem like fodder since Santos Laguna has won the last seven encounters, with the last Atlante victory coming in the Clausura 2009 season.
Neither team reports injuries or suspensions.
Club Tijuana - Queretaro
It seems that the strain of dealing with Copa Libertadores is beginning to take its toll on defending Liga MX champions Club Tijuana.
While the Xoloitzcuintles have won their first three Copa Libertadores matches (two of them at home), they have lost three of their last four in Liga MX, with their only victory in that stretch coming against woeful Atlante.
Although Queretaro isn't exactly a heavyweight team, they won last week and haven't lost in their last four matches, losing only twice all season long.
After suffering fractures to his face in the Xolos' loss to Atlas, Edgar Castillo will spend at least a month on the disabled list. That means that Greg Garza, who has seen absolutely no action at all this season, might be tapped to step in for Castillo, as he did very well last season.
Meanwhile, Joe Corona has been in and out of the starting lineup but might get the start on Saturday night.
Queretaro reports no injuries or suspensions, however, Club Tijuana will be missing Joshua Ábrego, Fidel Martínez and Cristian Pellerano due to suspension.
A shorthanded Xolos squad might be vulnerable against feisty Queretaro.
San Luis - Tigres
So what happens when the worst team in Liga MX gets a visit from the undefeated, first-place squad?
Fresh off a late victory over Seattle Sounders FC in a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal, Tigres continues to play with aplomb and confidence. Notable in his play, José Francisco Torres has looked terrific of late and has been a main contributor all season long.
Tigres just looks too formidable. The only way they will lose this game is if they overlook San Luis and beat themselves in the process.
Simply put, San Luis is a disaster. They have yet to win a game this season and have been dealt seven losses in nine games, scoring eight goals while allowing 18 in that span.
Interestingly enough, the last time these two played, in late September, it ended in a scoreless draw. So, maybe-it's in the realm of possibility-San Luis can pull off an upset.
Neither team reports injuries; however, César Villaluz (San Luis) and Emanuel Villa (Tigres) will miss the game due to injury.
Puebla - Pumas
DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco should both be in the starting lineup as Puebla gets a visit from Pumas.
This should be an entertaining match. Puebla ha only lost once in their last five matches and are jockeying for a playoff spot in the upper half of the bracket. Pumas is right behind them and are undefeated in their last six matches, winning three of those.
Don't expect this game to end in a draw. The series between these two has gone back and forth over the last few seasons, and with a good playoff spot on their minds, both teams will hit the field looking for an important win.
Neither team reports injuries, but Puebla's Jamie Durán is currently suspended. Pumas has no suspensions.