'Bofo' Saucedo bucks trend, scores in UNAM debut

Sebastian Saucedo debuted for UNAM with the first goal in Pumas' 2-1 win over Pachuca in Liga MX's Torneo Clausura, which opened this weekend.

Saucedo, 22, cut in from the left wing and fired a shot to the far post in the 25th minute. He was subbed out early in the second half.

This is the start of Saucedo's second stint in Mexico. He played for Veracruz on loan from Real Salt Lake in 2016 before returning to RSL in 2017. He had five goals and 11 assists in 83 games over four seasons with RSL.

Dubbed "El Bofo californiano," Saucedo played for the USA at the 2017 U-20 World Cup and has trained with the U.S. U-23s, who are preparing for Olympic qualifying in March.

Saucedo joins a dwindling group of Americans in Liga MX, which kicked off this weekend with just eight Americans registered by Liga MX on first-team rosters. Two years ago, the Clausura 2018 began with 16 Americans on Liga MX rosters. In 2016, 24 Americans were registered by Liga MX on first-team rosters at the beginning of the year.

Liga MX veterans like Paul Arriola, Jonathan Bornstein, Joe Corona, Omar Gonzalez, Greg Garza, Alejandro Guido and Jorge Villafana are playing MLS while Michael Orozco and Rodrigo Lopez are with clubs in the USL Championship. Edgar Castillo spent 2018 and 2019 in MLS, while Jose Torres has not played first-team ball since 2018. Luis Gil is now in the second division in the Czech Republic.

More opportunities exist for Mexican-Americans coming through academy programs in MLS than in the past while others like Alex Mendez, Richie Ledezma and Uly Llanez have moved to clubs in Europe.

Liga MX's enforcement of the FIFA policy restricting the transfer of minors has cut down on the number of Mexican-Americans in Liga MX youth programs while the league's classification of Mexican-Americans as Mexicans for the purposes of its "regla 10/8" (now 9/9) only if they were registered before they turned 19 further limited opportunities.
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