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Monday, August 8, 2011
MEXICO: Tijuana is finally a winner

By Scott French

Club Tijuana deserved more than it got from its opening-game loss to Morelia, and the Xolos gave mighty Monterrey a scare in week two, opening a two-goal lead and holding onto a tie until two quick, late goals knocked them down.


Couldn't hope for much more at Santos Laguna, the best team to start the Mexican Primera Division season, after routs of Pachuca and Atlante, right? Hardly. Tijuana's first top-tier triumph was one to remember.

San Diego's Joe Corona, looking more and more like someone who should be in Philadelphia this week, played linkman as the Xoloitzcuintles (1-2-0) overcame a first-half deficit for a 3-1 victory. Jose Sand scored the 54th-minute winner and set up two more: Fernando Arce's fine equalizer just before halftime and Dayro Moreno's finale in the 64th.

The Dogs will be back home Sunday, taking on Puebla at Estadio Caliente.

1. FIRST WINS: There were eight winless sides, out of 18, after the first two rounds of Primera play. All eight, Tijuana included, notched first victories during last week's “doble jornada,” so now there are 13 teams with one win. That's 13 teams with three or four points.

There are 13 rounds remaining (14 and 15 for a few clubs) to sort everything out, but rarely has the race been this close this early. Only the last two champions, Pumas UNAM and Monterrey, have separated themselves from the field (and just by a bit -- only so much separation is possible in four games).

The week's biggest upsets: Tijuana over Santos, to be sure. Atlante over Puebla, not so much, but the 5-1 scoreline was a surprise. Gallos Blancos over Pachuca, perhaps, especially with the decisive goal coming on a 94th-minute penalty kick.

Pumas, which has embraced a youth movement after winning the Clausura title in May, has demolished expectations and is atop the standings with a 3-0-1 mark. The Mexico City club has surrendered just one goal, in a 2-1 midweek win over Monterrey, and held Guadalajara to a scoreless draw Saturday in Zapopan.

2. NO JONNY: Jonathan Bornstein told Major League Soccer's website Sunday that he really wants his time at UANL Tigres to work out, and that it's up to him to “do my part and get out on that pitch. if that happens, there won't be talk about me leaving.”

As it is, there is talk that the former Chivas USA captain could be gone. He played seven times for Tigres during the Clausura but hasn't seen action in four games, nor been on the game roster for the last two, since the Apertura kicked off.

The club from suburban Monterrey is talent-rich and has tremendous attacking depth in midfield, which is where Bornstein, primarily a left back at Chivas and with the U.S. national team, has spent more of his time with Tigres. He played the past two weeks with Tigres' under-20 team.

He's not on new U.S. coach Juergen Klinsmann's roster for Wednesday's friendly against Mexico in Philadelphia, and he's not surprised. “Of course, you have to be playing to earn a spot on the U.S. team,” he said, “so obviously a thought in the back of my mind is how long [do I remain with Tigres if I'm not playing].”

The Portland Timbers hold his Major League Soccer rights, selected from Chivas during last fall's expansion draft.

3. BIG REMATCH: No Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez (concussion), but nearly everybody else responsible for Mexico's romp over the U.S. in the Gold Cup final is part of Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre's roster for Wednesday's rematch.

Included are four of the five players banned from the CONCACAF championship for a failed drug test that was later overturned, including Toluca's Zinha and Atlante's Christian “Hobbit” Bermudez.

With Hernandez and injured Aldo de Nigris out, and Carlos Vela still on the outs, Guadalajara's Omar Arellano and Santos' Oribe Peralta will get a chance to work up front with Giovani Dos Santos, the hero of Mexico's Gold Cup triumph. Both hope to impress as de la Torre builds attacking depth in advance of next year's World Cup qualifiers.

Mexico's roster:

Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa (Ajaccio/France), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca)
Defenders: Paul Aguilar (America), Efrain Juarez (Real Zaragoza/Spain), Rafa Marquez (New York Red Bulls), Hector Moreno (Espanyol/Spain), Francisco Javier Rodriguez (VfB Stuttgart/Germany), Carlos Salcido (Fulham/England), Jorge Torres Nilo (UANL Tigres)
Midfielders: Javier Aquino (Cruz Azul), Pablo Barrera (West Ham), Christian Bermudez (Atlante), Israel Castro (Cruz Azul), Andres Guardado (Deportivo La Coruņa/Spain), Gerardo Torrado (Cruz Azul), Jesus Zavala (Monterrey), Zinha (Toluca)
Forwards: Omar Arellano (Guadalajara), Giovani Dos Santos (Tottenham/England), Oribe Peralta (Santos Laguna)


Klinsmann called in four Mexico-based players: Puebla winger DaMarcus Beasley, America left back Edgar Castillo, Estudiantes Tecos forward Herculez Gomez and Pachuca midfielder Jose Francisco Torres.

No club won twice during the “doble jornada,” and only Puebla -- looking competitive after beating Atlas and tying Pachuca in its first two games -- was twice defeated. Bermudez scored twice for Atlante in a 5-1 midweek romp, and Puebla couldn't hold on after Beasley won a penalty kick at the start of a 2-1 loss to Jaguares. ... Former Chivas USA forward Giancarlo Maldonado scored goals in both Atlante games. ... Veracruz has brought in Guatemalan forward Carlos Ruiz from MLS's team in Philadelphia, and they need instant production. The Tiburones Rojos are the only Liga de Ascenso team without a point after falling, 2-0, at home to Irapuato in week two. ... 2004 MLS MVP (with D.C. United) Luciano Emilio scored both goals for Toros Neza in a 2-2 Liga draw at Dorados.

PRIMERA DIVISION
Last week's results (home teams listed first)
Jornada 3
Wednesday

America 1 (og M. Perez 34), Estudiantes Tecos 2 (Zamogilny 60, Sambueza 70)
Pachuca 1 (J. Ayovi 86), Cruz Azul 0
Atlas 3 (F. Torres 40, 80, M. Romero 88), Gallos Blancos 0
UANL Tigres 2 (H. Mancilla 16, Lobos 61), Toluca 2 (N. Calderon 71, Zinha 79)
Pumas UNAM 2 (E. Velarde 24, E. Herrera 91+), Monterrey 1 (N. Cardozo 32)
Atlante 5 (L. Venegas 23, Maldonado pen. 36, Bermudez 41, 77, J. Cuevas 93+), Puebla 1 (L. Silva 57)
Guadalajara at Tijuana, ppd. to Sept. 2
Santos Laguna at Jagures, ppd. to Sept. 2
Morelia at San Luis, ppd. to Sept. 3

Jornada 4
Saturday
Cruz Azul 2 (E. Villa 45, J. Orozco 48), Atlante 1 (Maldonado 55)
Gallos Blancos de Queretaro 2 (D. Mena 75, R. Vazquez pen. 94), Pachuca 1 (E. Hernandez 14)
Guadalajara 0, Pumas UNAM 0
Santos Laguna 1 (J. Rodriguez pen. 32), Club Tijuana 3 (F. Arce 43, Sand 54, D. Moreno 64)
Monterrey 2 (Suazo 85, Carreņo 91+), Morelia 0
Sunday
Puebla 1 (L. Garcia pen. 5), Jaguares de Chiapas 2 (Arizala 31, J. Martinez 73)
Toluca 0, Atlas 0
Estudiantes Tecos 0, UANL Tigres (I. Jimenez 62)
San Luis at America, ppd. to Sept. 14

Standings: 1. Pumas UNAM 10 points; 2. Monterrey 9; 3. Guadalajara 7; 4. Cruz Azul 7; 5. Santos Laguna 6; 6. Toluca 6; 7. UANL Tigres 6; 8. Atlas 4; 9. America 4; 10. Pachuca 4; 11. Gallos Blancos 4; 12. Puebla 4; 13. Tijuana 3; 14. San Luis 3; 15. Atlante 3; 16. Estudiantes Tecos 3; 17. Morelia 3; 18. Jaguares 3

Relegation percentage: 1. Tijuana (3 games/3 points) 1.0000; 2. Estudiantes Tecos (72/74) 1.0278; 3. Gallos Blancos (72/78) 1.0833; 4. Jaguares (71/80) 1.1268; 5. Atlas (72/82) 1.1389.

This week's games (all times Pacific)
Jornada 5
Friday
Guadalajara at Morelia, 6:10 p.m.
Saturday
Cruz Azul at Jaguares, 3 p.m.
Toluca at Pachuca, 5 p.m.
America at Tigres, 5 p.m.
Estudiantes Tecos at Atlas, 6:45 p.m.
Monterrey at San Luis, 7 p.m.
Gallos Blancos at Atlante, 7 p.m.
Sunday
Santos Laguna at Pumas, 10 a.m.
Puebla at Tijuana, 2 p.m.

LIGA DE ASCENSO
Last week's results (home teams listed first)
Jornada 2
Friday
Altamira 0, Lobos BUAP 0
Saturday
Veracruz 0, Irapuato 2 (E. Gonzalez 50, Arriaga 91+)
Merida 1 (E. Guzman 10), Indios de Ciudad Juarez 1 (Maņon 61)
Leon 2 (E. Cruz 62, N. Maz pen. 89), Necaxa 0
Dorados de Sinaloa 2 (Figoli 60, H. Velazquez 91+), Toros Neza 2 (Luciano Emilio 82, 87)
Celaya 0, Pumas Morelos 1 (H. Gonzalez 28)
Sunday
Cruz Azul Hidalgo 2 (V. Garcia 9, E. Martini 92+), Leones Negros 2 (F. Silva 11, M. Zepeda 71)
La Piedad 2 (E. Dos Santos 21, 46), Correcaminos 1 (Olsina 77)

Standings: 1. Pumas Morelos 6; 2. La Piedad 6; 3. Toros Neza 4; 4. Leon 4; 5. Indios 4; 6. Lobos BUAP 4; 7. Irapuato 3; 8. Necaxa 3; 9. Leones Negros 2; 10. Correcaminos 1; 11. Cruz Azul Hidalgo and Dorados 1; 13. Celaya and Merida 1; 15. Altamira 1; 16. Veracruz 0.

This week's games (all times Pacific)
Jornada 3
Friday
Necaxa at Correcaminos, 6:30 p.m.
Altamira at Leones Negros, 6:45 p.m.
Saturday
Cruz Azul Hidalgo at Pumas Morelos, 2 p.m.
Celaya at Irapuato, 5 p.m.
Leon at Indios, 5 p.m.
Sunday
Merida at Toros Neza, 10 a.m.
Dorados at Lobos, 10 a.m.
Veracruz at La Piedad, 10 a.m.

CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Last week's results (home teams listed first)
Preliminary round, second leg
Wednesday
Tempęte (Haiti) 0, Morelia 2 (Sepulveda 31, Sansores 78)
+ Morelia advances on aggregate, 7-0
Olimpia (Honduras) 2 (R. Rojas 16, Beckeles 86), Santos Laguna 1 (C. Suarez 14)
+ Santos Laguna advances on aggregate, 4-3