WOODY BAUM - Thursday, March 18, 2010
Herculez Gomez will shoot for six in a row while Francisco Torres and Pachuca enter the Azteca looking to turn around their season.
Cruz Azul – Tigres
Cruz Azul, fresh off their Concacaf Champions victory, will host Tigres and Edgar Castillo this Saturday in Mexico City.
Tigres will look to rebound from their home loss last weekend to Atlas, but will have their hands full.
Emanuel Villa and Maximiliano Biancuchi, Lionel Messi's cousin, have been terrorizing defenses as of late and Tigres hasn't shown much defense all season.
Edgar Castillo will be needed to help shut down the potent Cruz Azul attack as well as find away to contribute offensively if Tigres are to have any chance.
The Monterrey squad sit in second to last place in their group and will need points to avoid a last place finish. Cruz Azul, on the other hand, are battling first place, as they are currently four points behind group leader Santos.
Tigres will be without Mexican national team member, Jose Antonio Castro is suspended as well and Lucas Lobos, Antonio Sancho and Everton Cardoso are all injured. Cruz Azul will have their entire squad available.
Atlas – Estudiantes
Estudiantes will visit cross town rivals Atlas in what is always an interesting classico on Saturday night.
Estudiantes will be looking to continue their fight into safety as only Indios and Jaguares are behind them in the general table.
Atlas has been strong at home, with a tie against Toluca and victories over Monterrey and America. Only recently, Atlas scored six goals against Indios thanks to recent form of striker Miguel Zepeda.
Sammy Ochoa will look to get off the bench as he hasn't seen minutes recently, but may be called upon if his size and offensive spark are needed.
Eduardo Rergis and Romulo Marques will be out for Atlas due to injury. Jorge Zamogilny is injured and will be unavailable for Estudiantes.
Indios – Gallos Blancos
Both teams will be playing with urgency this Sunday in Ciudad Juarez when the Gallos Blancos visit Indios.
Indios' relegation will be definite this Sunday if they lose. The Gallos Blancos are currently in third place in their group and still have hopes of a liguilla spot.
Marco Vidal will look to start, as he has all season, and can hopefully get Indios going early on. However, they must be careful with their attack, as the Gallos Blancos are strong in the counterattack.
To escape with a point, Indios will have to eliminate the errors and missed opportunities that have plagued them all season, as they will continue to cost Indios against a Queretaro team that knows how to make teams pay.
Hector Altamirano is injured and will be out for Queretaro while Indios will have their entire squad available.
Santos – Puebla
Santos will host Puebla on Sunday in the new Estadio Corona in Torreon.
Santos will hope to continue their streak of eight games without a loss while Puebla will attempt to win for the first time since week six.
Santos has been unstoppable recently, as evidenced by their three to nothing victory over Pachuca in Hidalgo, and will try to continue the momentum.
Herculez Gomez, on a five game scoring streak, might have something to say as he attempts to continue the streak and propel Puebla to victory.
Puebla, whose defense has been shaky at best this season, will have to shut down, or contain, the offensive duo, Darwin Quintero and Edgar Ludueñas, who have been dangerous all season long.
Felipe Baloy, Jose Cardenas and Matias Vuoso are injured and will be unavailable for Santos. Marcelo Palau is in doubt for Puebla.
América – Pachuca
América play host to Pachuca in what is one of the most classic rivalries in the Mexican First Division on Sunday night in the Estadio Azteca.
Pachuca will be fighting for their life as they have disappointed since their loss to Chivas midseason.
They have now lost three games in a row by a score of three to nothing and will need to escape the Azteca with points to salvage their season.
Jose Francisco Torres and the Tuzos will play in familiar territory as both teams and exchanged important victories over the years, but nonetheless any result in the Azteca will be hard to come by as América has played their best at home this season.
Pachuca will have to moderate their attack as America, especially at home, are dangerous on the counterattack, while America will look to continue their patient buildup attack with which they have been successful this season.
Gregorio Torres is suspended and will be unavailable for Pachuca while Jean Beausejour is suspended for America.