Corona, Tijuana climb atop Mexican top flight, more Americans Abroad
Joe Corona's list of accomplishments with Club Tijuana keeps growing.
It was Corona who scored in the club's promotion-battle win over Irapuato in May 2011, as the then-relative unknown attacker helped lead his relatively unknown club to the Mexican top flight. Upon arrival, the U.S. national team midfielder scored Tijuana's first goal as a top-tier side and turned in a productive year that helped Los Xolos remain in the first division. It's no surprise, then, that with Tijuana remarkably climbing the league mountain in little time that Corona was a vital participant as Los Xolos were crowned Mexican champions.
Corona, in addition to U.S. internationals Edgar Castillo and Greg Garza, raised the Mexican Apertura championship trophy and helped bring an unlikely title to Estadio Caliente in Tijuana after the club's triumph over Toluca in this past week's two-legged Liga MX final. Corona, who assisted on a goal in Thursday's 2-1, first-leg triumph, now has a winner's medal to take with him to Tijuana's next momentous occasions: appearances in the Copa Libertadores and CONCACAF Champions League in a World Cup qualifying-heavy 2013 that is shaping up to be the year of Corona's life.
What his club has been able to do, both in the scope of Mexican soccer and in terms of Americans abroad, is pretty mind-boggling. In just 18 months, Club Tijuana went from Liga de Ascenso afterthought to Liga MX champion and is becoming the breeding ground for a whole host of U.S. eligible prospects. U.S youth internationals Alejandro Guido, Esteban Rodriguez and Bryan de la Fuente are all part of the Tijuana setup in addition to the three first-team stalwarts, and with the club situated about five miles from the Southern California-Mexico border, it becomes even more of an enticing option for the hotbed of rising talent in that region now that Los Xolos can rightfully be called Los Campeones.
While the Tijuana Trio were basking in the sweetness of a championship, Clint Dempsey was basking in the sweetness of revenge, as Tottenham topped both Liverpool and Fulham over the past week. Dempsey made good on his return to Craven Cottage for the first time as an opponent, assisting on the final goal in Tottenham's romp over his former side, capping off a week in which Spurs also thwarted the Reds, the team that spurned a transfer move for Dempsey over the summer.
In Eastern Europe, it was a good week to be a rising U.S. forward prospect, as Andrew Wooten bagged two goals for Sandhausen and Bobby Wood continued his comeback from a knee injury with his first goal for TSV 1860 Munich, with both beginning to see regular minutes in Germany's second division. Terrence Boyd continued his standout first season as a first-team professional with his 12th goal of the campaign for Austria's Rapid Vienna.
Veteran center back Zak Whitbread also got on the scoreboard at Leicester City, helping cap a rather prolific week for Americans playing abroad. Here is how the contingent fared (season statistics encompass all competitions):