Club Tijuana, the most “Americanized” club yet to play south of the U.S. border, has started its fall campaign well enough. Not spectacularly, but OK – and a road draw last night in El Salvador to open CONCACAF Champions League play helps a lot.
More to the point, Edgar Castillo, Greg Garza, Joe Corona and Paul Arriola are playing regularly for the Xolos.
Castillo, Garza and Corona all started in the weekend’s 2-1 loss to Morelia at Estadio Morelos. Arriola, a U.S. teenager who recently debuted for the club, did not make the game-day roster, but he was on the field for last night’s scoreless draw at Firpo.
Arriola started at forward but, like the rest of the Xolos, were mostly blunted in a physical match that suited the Salvadorans.
Herculez Gomez, the most prominent of the U.S. contingent playing in Tijuana, remains out with a knee injury.
Amid a ridiculously busy news week in domestic soccer last week (the busiest in history, I say), there was grim news that Gomez’s knee troubles may be worse than club and U.S. officials originally believed. Surgery may even be needed for the man who had settled in around No. 2 or 3 in the ordering of U.S. strikers in the national team pool, behind Jozy Altidore and alongside or just slightly ahead of Eddie Johnson.
Tijuana travels to Monterrey this weekend, then hosts Honduras club Victoria three nights later in a Champions League contest.