The leagues in Europe are starting to wind down and the last-minute jockeying for positioning is in full swing. Teams all over are doing their best to finish their seasons in the best possible way. For Mexicans abroad, it was a mixed week; some reached the pinnacle of glory, and for others, their goal scoring streak continued. Playing time continued to be an issue for some, and most remained somewhere in the middle. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights and lowlights of the week.
Hirving “Chucky” Lozano-PSV Eindhoven
The two most popular and most successful clubs clashed in the Netherlands this week. With a win, PSV would win the league, but with a defeat, Ajax still had a chance. Chucky played all 90 minutes of the game. He started on the right wing but rotated to the left and up the middle throughout the game. He created trouble for the Ajax defense on several occasions but was not rewarded with a goal or an assist, although he did provoke Ajax’s sending off and was involved in the first goal. PSV won the game 3-0, clinched the league, and secured a spot in the Champions League for next season. Chucky’s first year in Europe has been a total success. Let’s hope his good form carries on to the World Cup this summer.
Marco Fabian-Eintracht Frankfurt
Marco was the only bright spot for his club this past week, as he played all 90 minutes in the 4-1 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen. He scored a great goal in the 23rd minute, off of a pass from Marius Wolf. Marco played well, distributing the ball and making runs at the opposing defense. But Frankfurt was outclassed on the field, and with the defeat, they drop to 7th place and are out of the Europa League positions for the time being.
Raul Jimenez-Benfica Hector Herrera, Jesus Corona, and Diego Reyes-Porto
In Portugal, two of “Os Três Grandes” met in the Estádio da Luz, the home of Benfica. Porto came into the game one point behind the leader and eternal rivals, Benfica. Raul Jimenez earned another start and played all 90 minutes, but his team could not get anything going. He got very few opportunities to shine. On the Porto side, Herrera got the start and was wearing the captains arm band. Most of the game was bogged down in the midfield, and Herrera did his best to distribute the ball and drop down to help defend, producing very little until the very end. Just passed the 90th minute mark, Herrera got a pass and drilled the ball passed the keeper to give Porto the win and the lead in Primeira Liga. He took off his shirt and pounded his chest as he celebrated with the away fans. The referee gave him a yellow card for the celebration. Corona came on and played the last 10 minutes but still showed rust from being injured and benched for so long. Diego Reyes remained on the bench the whole game.
GOLO! FC Porto, Herrera aos 90', SL Benfica 0-1 FC Porto pic.twitter.com/jtnGOMz9J6— VSPORTS (@vsports_pt) April 15, 2018
Andres Guardado-Real Betis
La Liga is pretty much settled, with only a few relegation battles and European spots left to claim. Guardado once again featured in the starting lineup for Betis and once again played all 90 minutes in the central midfield. Guardado had a mediocre game by his standards, but so did his team. However, they were able to eek out a 1-0 victory that kept them in 5th place. If the team can hold on to their spot, they will earn a place in the Europa League.
In a battle for relegation, Feirense met Aves in Portugal. Antonio Briseño was on the bench for most of the game, and only came on at the 89th minute and played a total of 4 minutes. His team lost the game and remains in last place. The future for Feirense and Briseño is very unclear and does not look promising.
Hector Moreno-Real Sociedad
In a rare occurrence, Moreno was left on the bench the whole game in his team’s match against las Palmas. Real Sociedad did not play well but got the win, keeping them in 11th place in La Liga. Their mediocre season continues with no signs of worsening or getting better. Hopefully, Moreno is not left on the bench too many more times so that he can maintain his fitness and high level of play.
Guillermo Ochoa-Standard Liege
Ochoa extended his streak of starting and playing all 90 minutes this week. In Belgium, the playoffs have begun and Standard Liege got off to the best start possible. They played well against Genk, by earning a difficult 1-0 victory. Memo was not tested very much, and for once, his defense did not let him down. He kept out the few shots that came at him, controlled his area well, and was able to keep a clean sheet. Standard Liege are in 4th place with 28 points and are closing in on a Europa League spot.
Omar Govea-Royal Excel Mouscron
Omar Govea’s team also played this week in the Belgium League’s playoffs. Govea started on the left side of the midfield and played the whole game. He, along with his team, could not get anything going and were thrashed 5-1 by Zulte-Waregem. The former America player and his team are 1 point behind the leaders, and with some luck, could squeeze into the last available Europa League spot.
Carlos Vela-Los Angeles FC
Vela continues to show that his skill and effort level are more than enough to make him one of the top players in MLS. LAFC were able to stop their 2 game skid and got the 2-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps. Vela had a great game, as usual, and contributed with his now typical curling shot across the goal and out of reach of the keeper. MLS may not be a top league, but if Vela continues this run of form, it can only be good for Mexico and their chances in Russia this summer.