By FRANCO PANIZO
Club Tijuana has gone 11 straight games across all competitions without tasting defeat, and will likely need to extend that streak to 12 if it wishes to keep its stranglehold on the top spot in Liga MX.
With Club America and Cruz Azul hot on their tails, the Xolos will be aiming to pick up maximum points at home when they host Pachuca on Friday night. Greg Garza should fill in at his regular starting spot for a Tijuana side that has not lost since the Clausura season opener, and will try to help his defense post a third straight league cleansheet against a Pachuca attack that has scored five goals in its last two games. The Xolos lead America and Cruz Azul by just two points in the standings, so anything less than a win could see them end up tied on points for the league lead after the weekend.
While Garza and Corona are hoping to earn another victory this weekend, Tim Ream will look to get back on the field. Ream sustained a back injury in Bolton Wanderers’ game last Saturday, and missed the club’s midweek clash with Middlesborough as a result. If Ream returns to the fold this Saturday, he will attempt to help Bolton snap a three-game losing streak against a Brighton & Hove Albion team that is just above it in the Championship standings.
Another player in one of Europe’s second divisions that could use a win is Alfredo Morales. The 24-year-old Morales and 2. Bundesliga leaders Ingolstadt have hit a minor bump in their season after failing to win either of their past two matches, but will try and get back on track in Monday’s home game against 1860 Munich on Monday. Ingolstadt is six points clear of second place, but will still want to come out victorious as it attempts to move one step closer to gaining automatic promotion.
Here is who the Americans Abroad tango with this weekend:
Jann George and SpVgg Greuther Furth play Kaiserslautern.
Greg Garza, Joe Corona, Paul Arriola, Alejandro Guido and Club Tijuana play Pachuca.
Brad Guzan and Aston Villa play Newcastle United.
Geoff Cameron and Stoke City play Hull City.
Jonathan Spector, Will Packwood and Birmingham City play Brentford. (Packwood is out injured.)
Tim Ream and Bolton Wanderers play Brighton & Hove Albion.
Oguchi Onyewu and Charlton Athletic play Huddersfield Town.
Emerson Hyndman and Fulham play Zak Whitbread and Derby County. (Hyndman and Whitbread are out injured.)
Danny Williams and Reading play Eric Lichaj and Nottingham Forest.
Joe Gyau and Borussia Dortmund play Schalke 04. (Gyau is out injured.)
John Brooks and Hertha Berlin play FC Augsburg.
Timmy Chandler and Eintracht Frankfurt play Julian Green and Hamburg SV.
Andrew Wooten and SV Sanhausen play VfR Aalen.
Aron Johannsson and AZ Alkmaar play Willem II Tilburg.
Conor O’Brien and FC Magna Wiener Neustadt play Austria Vienna.
Ventura Alvarado and Club America play Universidad de Guadalajara.
Michael Orozco, Herculez Gomez and Puebla play Jonathan Bornstein and Queretaro.
Jose Torres and Tigres UANL play Pumas UNAM. (Torres is out injured.)
Edgar Castillo and Atlas play Veracruz.
DeAndre Yedlin, Brad Friedel and Tottenham Hotspur play Chelsea in the Capital One Cup.
Gedion Zelalem and Arsenal play Tim Howard and Everton.
Fabian Johnson and Borussia Moenchengladbach play SC Paderborn 07.
Terrence Boyd and RB Leipzig play FC Union Berlin. (Boyd is out injured.)
Bobby Wood and FC Erzgebirge Aue play St Pauli. (Wood is out injured.)
Alejandro Bedoya and FC Nantes play Guingamp.
Rubio Rubin and FC Utrecht play Feyenoord Rotterdam.
Alfredo Morales and FC Ingolstadt 04 play TSV 1860 Munich.
Which of these matches are you most anticipating? Do you see Tijuana picking up three points and fending off top-spot chasers Club America and Cruz Azul? Expecting Ream to be back in action for Bolton?
Share your thoughts below.