With Liga MX entering the final stretch, the American talent who display their skills in Mexican football stadiums are in-need of standout performances if they are to earn a potential call-up to the US National Team. While Tijuana managed to secure victories in both Liga MX and CONCACAF Champions League, Puebla and Atlas earned a point in their vital relegation battle. Here is a round up of the Yanks who play in Mexico after the completion of Week 14 of Liga MX.
Xolos 1-0 Cruz Azul & Xolos 3-1 Toluca
The New Mexico-born player had perhaps the busiest schedule out of all the American exports, with a solid ninety minute performance in the midweek CONCACAF Champions League match against Cruz Azul and Friday’s league game against Toluca.
Slotting in at his usual left-back position, Castillo admirably completed both his defensive and offensive duties against an alternative Toluca side that rested most of its starters due to an excessive workload. The former Santos man, was the clear winner in his match-up against Carlos Orrantia, although fatigue might have been a reason for the limited runs into the opposing rival’s area.
Like Castillo, Corona started out both week matches for Tijuana against Cruz Azul and Toluca. Playing in a central-attacking-midfield role, Corona demonstrated why manager Cesar Farias has so much confidence in him.
Having generated plenty of chances for his teammates during the midweek match against Cruz Azul before being taken off in the 65th minute, the San Diego native continued his fine form against Toluca, constantly opening up the game and feeding goal opportunities for the strikers in front of him.
He capped off a fine performance as the creative spark for his side by winning a penalty in the 74th minute that would result in the third goal of the match for Xolos.
Was left as an unused substitute on the bench midweek against Cruz Azul, and was brought into the match against Toluca in the 89th minute for the injured Cristian Pellerano. He was unable to do much with such limited time.
As usual since the arrival of Farias to the club, Gomez was used as a time-consuming substitute, being brought in the 87th minute of the match against Cruz Azul, unable to leave his mark or even get a touch on the ball for that matter.
Things didn’t get any better for the former Santos Laguna forward on Friday as he was left on the bench as an unused substitute against Toluca.
ATLAS 0-0 PUEBLA
The usually reliable center back started the match in his usual central position against Atlas in a vital relegation duel however, the California native was forced out 20 minutes into the match with what appears to be a muscle injury although recent reports state it was a hamstring injury.
The former Manchester City player started the match in the left wing behind midfield and went the entire ninety minutes of the match in a productive performance.
Beasley came close to opening the score in the 17th minute after an impressive run towards the edge of the penalty area before shooting just wide of the Atlas’ goal. The US International continued to work hard for his team and should have gotten an assist after generating a cross from the left side of the field for midfielder Carlos Sanchez, who failed to produce a proper shot in front of the rival’s goal.
The US veteran was unable to continue to work his offensive magic in the second half of the match and was instead forced to help out on defense as Atlas drove forward looking to earn a match winning goal. Beasley had to deal with most of the host’s attempts to breakthrough.
PUMAS 2-1 CHIAPAS
Gabriel Farfan was left out of the 18-man squad for their 2-1 away loss against Pumas.
ATLANTE 0-2 TIGRES
The former Pachuca midfielder’s solid performance against Atlante ended up on a low note after being sent-off for throwing a punch.
Starting in the left side of the Tigres midfield, the Texas born player helped control the pace of the match for the visitors, while also providing assurance for his team’s backline by helping clear out most of Atlante’s attacking threats.
However, Torres ended up being shown a red card after a scuffle between him and Atlante midfielder Alberto Garcia, which ended up with Torres throwing a punch after being pushed by defender Luis Venegas.
M'Baye Niang put the nightmare of the Paris terror attacks firmly behind him with two goals and an assist as AC Milan crushed a sorry Sampdoria 4-1 at the San Siro on Saturday.
Niang admitted last week the events of the past fortnight had left him worried for the safety of family and friends in and around the French capital.
But the 20-year-old from the Paris suburbs produced a confident performance for the Rossoneri, first delivering for Giacomo Bonaventura's opener on 16 minutes and then beating Emiliano Viviano from the spot after the Milan winger had been hauled down in the area seven minutes before the interval.
Niang secured Milan's seventh win of the campaign when he fired under Viviano four minutes after the restart after the 'keeper's fluffed clearance.
When he was replaced by Luiz Adriano 15 minutes from the whistle it took the Brazilian just four minutes to find the net after volleying Alessio Cerci's intelligent cross past Viviano.
The only blot on Milan's copybook was Gianluigi Donnarumma's failure to stop Luis Muriel from the spot after Andrea Pioli had tugged on Eder in the area in the closing minutes.
Milan moved up to fifth place at seven points behind leaders Inter ahead of the remainder of the weekend matches, with Sampdoria's second successive defeat under new coach Vincenzo Montella leaving them 14 points adrift.
"It was an almost perfect performance," said Milan coach Sinisa Mihajlovic, who gave a special mention to Niang.
"He's a big player for us, he was doing really well in pre-season then he got injured. Now he's back in form and he's doing well, but he already showed at Genoa (loan) what he was made of."
For the fifth consecutive match Mihajlovic opted for teenage goalkeeper Donnarumma over the more experienced Diego Lopez but the 16-year-old had to dive low to parry after his messy clearance fell to Roberto
Soriano 30 yards out in the opening minute.
From then on, it was all Milan with Niang the main protagonist before making way for Adriano on 74 minutes.
Having spent the last half of last season on loan at Genoa, the striker said he in enjoying playing in a pure
striker's role under Mihajlovic.
"I'm really happy because I've been waiting for this for a longtime, the hard work's paying off and I hope it continues like this," said Niang.
"I played as a centre-forward, the position I prefer and I think that along with our win over Lazio this was our best display this season."
Milan broke the deadlock on 16 minutes with Alessio Cerci, whose eighth minute goal was ruled offside, involved before Niang burst down the right to fire in a weighted delivery that Bonaventura slid in to meet at the back post.
Milan built on their momentum and Niang almost doubled the lead when he collected Juraj Kucka's short delivery on the right to drag his angled shot inches wide of Viviano's far post.
Sampdoria were struggling to find any rhythm and Milan's movement in the final third of the pitch was causing huge problems for the visitors.
Niang left Edgar Barreto behind to burst down the right and fire across the bows, but Bonaventura's first-timer from the six-yard line blasted over.
Samp's only real chance came when Luis Muriel dribbled his way into the area but despite turning Milan's defence his promising strike was blocked by Alessio Romagnoli.
Niang came close twice with flicks that inched wide of Viviano's post just after the restart.
But when the 'keeper fluffed a clearance, Niang collected and strode confidently into the area to fire under his body and secure the second brace of his Serie A career, after hitting a double for Genoa against Verona last season.
A tiring Niang soon made way for Adriano and only four minutes later Cerci was given time and space to the right of the area to pick out the Brazilian with a pinpoint pass which he controlled before firing past a helpless Viviano.
Earlier, Torino moved up to seventh place with a 2-0 home win over Bologna thanks to second-half goals from Andrea Belotti and Giuseppe Vives.