SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 2: Landon Donovan #10 of the Los Angeles Galaxy is challenged for the ball by Javier Yacuzzi #3 of Club Tijuana during the second half at the exhibition game at Torero Stadium on March 2, 2011 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images)

American Joey Corona Leads Club Tijuana Xolos To Mexican Primera

It is the first time a team from the border city will have played in the Mexican Primera.

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American Joey Corona Leads Club Tijuana Xolos To Mexican Primera

Tijuana may be one of the biggest cities in Mexico, but their club soccer history is almost non-existant. That may have finally all changed this weekend, when Tijuana-based Xoloscuintles De Caliente ascended to the Mexican Primera with a victory over Irapuato. Leading the way for Xolos was American Joey Corona, who scored a goal and picked up an assist in the decisive match. It is the first time that a team from Tijuana has advanced to the top level of Mexican soccer.

FMF State of Mind, SB Nation's Mexican soccer blog, detailed the journey:

Xolos endured a difficult journey to promotion, winning the 2010 Apertura and nearly winning the 2011 Clausura, which would have ensured them automatic promotion to the first division. However, after narrowly losing the Apertura final 1-0 on aggregate to a Cuauhtemoc Blanco-inspired Irapuato, Xolos would have to face one more playoff against the side known as los freseros in order to clinch their historic promotion. After a tight 0-0 draw in the first leg, it looked like the beginning of a long afternoon after Xolos had a legitimate goal disallowed. A shot from distance bounced in off the crossbar, and the sideline referee ruled that it had not entered the goal, despite video replays showing the ball landed about a foot over the goal line.

The story of Corona seems to mesh wonderfully with that of his team. After growing up in San Diego and playing for the San Diego State soccer team before leaving to try his luck in Mexico. The 20-year-old emerged as somewhat of a folk hero in Tijuana, a city that is known for its overwhelming poverty more than its soccer glory.

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