CHRISTOPHER MCCOLLUM - Monday, March 12, 2012
It was another big week for Herculez Gomez as he took Santos back to the top of the Mexican standings.
Santos Laguna 3-1 Puebla
Herculez Gomez started and played 90 minutes for Santos Laguna and DaMarcus Beasley went 78 minutes for Puebla in the meeting between giants and minnows of the Primera Division.
The majority of the first half was eventful but fruitless that saw Beasley take an MMA quality foul from Cristian Saurez, being shouldered to the ground and then stomped on the stomach. Beasley got up without injury, and Saurez received a yellow card for the action.
Six minutes later, in the 43rd minute, Santos goalkeeper and legendary, retired Mexican international Oswaldo Sanchez played a bad ball out of the back that was picked up by Beasley before it could be cleared. Beasley needed only one touch into the box to set himself up to slot the ball past Sanchez to the near post.
Just on the other side of half time in the 48th minute, Santos pushed into the offensive third and midfielder Marc Crosas played a ball over the top to Gomez into the right side of the box. Gomez ran onto the ball and struck the half volley on his first touch, sending it over Alexandro Olivares to the far post for a spectacular goal.
In the 71st minute Gomez would do his part to send Santos into the lead. Daniel Luduena played a corner kick into the box, and after taking a brief melee in the box, the ball fell to Gomez who struck it on goal. A reflex save from Olivares sent it right back to Gomez, who then sent it across the goal to a wide open Oribe Morones who would finally finish the play.
Gomez would finish off his incredible day in the 90th minute, as Morones returned the favor for Gomez's earlier assist. Morones took a through ball that exploited a failed offside trap from Puebla, leaving Morones and Gomez by themselves with no one nearby as they walked in on goal from 30 yards out. Morones took the ball to the left of the goal while Gomez spread out to the right. Morones drew Olivares to him and then squared the ball into Gomez's path, allowing him to score on a wide open goal.
The victory kept Santos Laguna in a tie for first place in the standings, with Morelia. They will next visit Cruz Azul on March 17. Puebla's loss kept them mired in the bottom four, and they will host the ever-worsening San Luis on March 18.
Tijuana 1-1 America
Edgar Castillo started and played 82 minutes, being subbed out for only the second time this season. Greg Garza came in for Castillo and finished the game, while Joe Corona started and went 67 minutes.
The scoring didn't start until the second half, despite several opportunities in the first, including the cross bar denying America a goal. Cristian Benitez led an attack into Tijuana's end, dribbling the ball from half field to close to the 18, before dishing the ball to his right, finding Raul Jiminez streaking into the box unopposed. Jiminez fired the ball low and to his left, beating goalkeeper Cirilo Saucedo.
Tijuana would respond only two minutes later, when Corona found an opportunity in the box during a bouncing ball scrum. Reacting quickly, he jumped on the ball towards the left of the goal, about eight yards out, and shot the ball out of reflex, forcing a great save from Moises Rodriguez. Despite the fine save, the ball rebounded across the goal and right into the path of Duvier Riascos, who headed the rebound home for his third goal of the season.
The score would stand, keeping Tijuana in sixth place, three points out of first. They will next play away at Tigres on March 17.
Pachuca 0-0 San Luis
Jose Torres returned from injury and played 90 minutes, but couldn't push Pachuca past the slumping San Luis. Michael Orozco also managed to work his way back into the lineup after several weeks of sitting on the bench, being seen as part of the problem as San Luis began their eight game stretch without a win. Orozco would play the full 90 minutes.
The second straight scoreless tie leaves Pachuca struggling in the middle of the table, missing out on two opportunities to gain points on their rivals. They are now five points out of first place, and will hope to get back on track as they host Atlante on March 17.
Jonathan Bornstein was on the bench for Tigres' 2-2 tie with Chiapas.
Victor Garza did not dress for Tigres.
Marco Vidal did not dress for Club Leon in their 5-2 win over Veracruz.