Friday, August 15, 2008

Sangre americana J4 preview

It's nearly one quarter of the way into the Apertura 2008 campaign for our beloved Mexican-Americans down south. While some players have done well for themselves, others are still awaiting to debut for their clubs this season while still others are hoping for increased playing times.

Also, thanks to our trusty, eagle-eyed readers we have a new member of this elite group to keep tabs on. Okay, maybe it's not quite elite but it's special nonetheless. At least to me.

Primera Division
Edgar Castillo, Santos vs Indios, Sunday 4 p.m. Castillo has had an eventful season thus far. He's played every minute of every game, something he did not do a season ago, and has caught the attention of national team boss Sven Goran Eriksson. Castillo was part of the first group of callups to El Tri and is on the most recent list as well, the one that included a dozen players based abroad. It will be interesting how Sven sorts out the left side with Castillo and Andres Guardado. But for now, Castillo will have Indios on his mind. Indios are a rather sad sack of a club so Castillo should do well to find space and create chances and, of course, outrun the opponents to ever ball.

Michael Orozco, San Luis at Atlas, Saturday 6:45 p.m. It remains to be seen whether Orozco will have jet lag and not be in conditions to play or if he will step right into this match with San Luis. I actually think he might not play much this weekend in order to give his body a chance to recover from the time change. He wont be fatigued, at least not as much as some of his Olympic teammates. After all, Orozco only played three minutes in the third and decisive US match. Without Orozco, San Luis has allowed five goals in four games and have the most points in the league with 10.

Jose Francisco Torres, Pachuca vs America, Saturday 5 p.m. Torres has played twice in three games and has just one start. He's logged a total of 95 minutes this season as Pachuca has stumbled to an 0-2-1 start. Coincidence? Well, probably not. Probably, it just reflects a possible reason for Pachuca's slide - inconsistency. Six players have started each game so that leaves five spots where coach Enrique Meza has juggled starters. This may be a decisive week for Torres though. If he starts and Pachuca wins, perhaps it could lead to more playing time for the Longview product. TV: Azteca America.

Daniel Hernandez, Jaguares vs Atlante, Saturday 3 p.m. Hernandez made his season debut a week ago after serving a two-match ban from a playoff brawl last spring. Hernandez, though, was partly responsible for giving up a pair of goals against San Luis. The ball seemed to go right past him on both occasions as San Luis won 2-0. Jaguares made the playoffs a year ago but it will take time for the club to regain the form that helped lead the club to the postseason. It should start now, if it's going to start, as Hernandez is among the players who missed time due to the brawl against Cruz Azul. TV: Azteca America.

Sonny Guadarrama, Morelia vs Pumas, Sunday 6 p.m. Guadarrama has been part of the first team since the start of the year but has yet to see any action. It's doubtful that he will start, well, highly unlikely would be more accurate. Again, we'll wait for him to get himself some playing time before we start to think about him starting or even playing any significant minutes.

Primera Division A

Jesus Padilla and Carlos Borja, Tapatio. Thursday night futbol isn't just for Major League Soccer. Tapatio played a match on Thursday. Jesus Padilla went the distance and picked up a yellow while Carlos Borja was an unused sub as Tapatio lost to Dorados of Sinaloa by 1-0. Borja had played in each game this season but missed the match altogether. Padilla meanwhile was on the bench for Chivas against Monterrey a week ago but did not play.

Marco Antonio Vidal and Noel Castillo, Indios Chihuahua vs Santos Laguna, Sunday 7 p.m. Vidal played all of one match for the senior club before he was shipped off to the Primera A side again. Castillo is on the opposite side as he is trying to become a Primera A regular. Indios' first-league team is struggling mightily in the top flight and their stay up top might only last one year but Vidal's opportunity may have already passed as the club could use as much experience as possible and Vidal wouldn't have much to offer.

Miguel Gonzalez, Chetumal vs Merida, Sunday 4 p.m. The latest addition to our Sangre americana family, Gonzalez is plying his trade with Chetumal. A bit of background on Gonzalez: He was born in Miami and was with New England for a spell. While with the Revs, Gonzalez played in some reserve games but not with the first team. Gonzalez, a midfielder by trade, also made some appearances with the U.S. Under-20 national team and played in a tournament in South Korea. He scored a few goals as well. Not sure how he ended up with Chetumal but he's there and playing.

Sammy Ochoa, Tecos. Ochoa served his three-match ban and promptly returned to inactivity. Tecos have a bye this week.

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