Mexican-Americans have made great strides in Mexico. Some time ago, it seemed Americans' only chance of playing top-flight soccer was in MLS. But a young resurgence has opened the doors to more and more American-born players south of the border.
I'll be following the exploits of our boys in Mexico here. For now, I wanted to get you up to speed on what's been going on with the American contingent in Mexico.
Jose Francisco Torres: Torres has played in 11 games this season and has six starts and has played in 653 minutes overall. A week ago he went the distance in a 1-1 draw with Morelia. Torres is not quite a key player for Pachuca this season - eight players have started 10 or more games - but he's still a valuable player nonetheless. A tough match against Cruz Azul awaits Torres and Pachuca on Saturday as los Tuzos are in third place in Group 1 on 16 points, three back of Santos.
Michael Orozco: Leaving his club team to represent the United States Olympic team didn't exactly sit well with club officials and Orozco had to earn his way back onto the squad. It also didn't help that San Luis started off the season playing very well. But Orozco worked his way back into the squad and has regained his starting spot. He's played in four of the last six games for San Luis and has played 90 minutes in all. Orozco will likely once again man the backline for
San Luis against Necaxa.
Edgar Castillo: Inactivity for the national team means Castillo has been quite active for Santos Laguna. Castillo has played in all 14 of the club's games and has started all but three. He hasn't quite yet caught Sven Goran Eriksson's eye, at least not enough to play in a World Cup qualifier, but Castillo's play may eventually get him back into the national team. Santos play Tigres, which will be anything but a simple task for Castillo and his side.
Daniel Hernandez: Jaguares are a terrible club but it's not for lack of effort from Hernandez. The Texas native has played in 10 games for Jaguares and has in fact only missed time due to suspension. He missed the first two games of the season for his involvement in last year's playoff brawl with Cruz Azul and missed another game after he was sent off in Week 7. Jaguares need a minor miracle to reach the playoffs. The club visits Morelia on Sunday.
Marco Antonio Vidal: The Dallas native seemed to have re-established himself in the middle of the season as he appeared in five consecutive games. But since then he has not played a match in the First Division. Overall, Vidal has played in six games for 353 minutes. Indios will try and keep ahead of Puebla as the two teams are last and second-to-last in Group 1.
Jesus Padilla: So much for Padilla's breakthrough season. Padilla scored a goal against Morelia on Aug. 30. The goal was his first in the First Division and came in the third of four games he'd played. Since then, he's played in exactly two minutes in the top flight. He's back as a starter for Tapatio, languishing in the second division while youngster Omar Arellano enjoys a bit of a breakthrough campaign.
Sammy Ochoa: The Michoacan-born, Riverside, Calif.-raised Ochoa has been his usual stellar self in the second division. A week ago, Ochoa scored the lone goal for Tecos in a 3-1 loss to Irapuato. Ochoa has four goals in nine games this season for Tecos' Primera A side but has not yet played in the First Division.
Carlos Borja: The Orange, Calif., native has played in 11 games for Tapatio, 10 as a starter, and is a reliable part of the team. While First Division time may be a ways away, he's secured his status as a decent prospect with the solid season he's piecing together.
Miguel Gonzalez: The former Revs prospect has played in four games this season but much of that was early on.
Noel Castillo: Edgar's younger brother has played only twice for second-division side Indios but is at least still getting a chance. He was an unused substitute in last week's match.