As it has in the past years, Liga MX’s second season takes a while to hold root. Hardly a surprise, given the short turnaround, and the propensity for the majority of teams to make over its rosters. Teams have little time to get back into form, so listless uninspired matches litter the first couple of weeks.
Nevertheless, some teams manage to get the WD-40 in the right places sooner than others. Let that be a lesson to those who throw the little straw away after purchasing the can.
Team of the week – Leon
No Gullit – no matter. The Beast went into one of the more underrated atmospheres in Liga MX – the always full, and always steamy Luis Pirata Fuente stadium in Veracruz. The green bellies are one of 2 undefeated teams in Liga MX, along with Monterrey. Luis Montes has started off the season on a hot streak, and is positioning himself nicely for not only a call-up for the February friendly vs Senegal, he would be a fine addition to the Olympic team as one of the 3 overage players. The one downer for the emeralds was the loss of the oft-injured Chaton Enriquez, who left the game with his ankle the size of a cantaloupe. Luckily for him, he will only miss a couple of weeks.
Goal of the week – Javier Aquino
We could have just as easily picked Hobbit Bermudez’ scissor kick against Monterrey, but Puebla ended up wasting his glorious strike by losing 3-1. To that end, Javier Aquino scored the goal of his life in Tigres’ home opener against Morelia, a 2-0 win.
It is no surprise that Tigres had a slow start to the season, given their lack of pre-season after winning the A15. They went nearly 2 games without scoring before Aquino, whose career has been resurrected in Monterrey, gave the champs the shot of adrenaline they needed to get things in gear.
Runner up: Hobbit Bermudez vs Puebla.
If he was 4 inches taller and had about 10 more pounds of muscle, he might well be Mexico’s best player, given his sensational ball skills and vision. With a body better suited for a jockey than a midfielder, he keeps plugging along. This scissor kick opened the scoring in Puebla’s newly refurbished Estadio Cuauhtemoc.
Honorable mention – Orbelin Pineda vs Cruz Azul.
The view from the bottom
Dorados did what they absolutely could not do: lose at home. They needed 20 points from the A15 to have a realistic chance at avoiding the ignominious “one & done” in the top flight. They only collected 15 after falling into the most common of all traps – complete roster make-over. Instead of relying on the players that earned promotion, the front office spent like a college freshman with daddy’s credit card. A whole new roster takes time to gel, and Dorados has yet to firm up, and they may not this season. They need to collect at least 25 points this season to avoid the plunge. Ain’t gonna happen. One would think that the Leon Lesson of dancing with who brung ya would be the blueprint. A Dorados drop will make it two in a row of the “one & done” along with UdG’s cup of coffee last year.
Hello, win column
Club America gave Atlas a triple dose of reality with a 3-0 win at the Jalisco. Rafa Marquez’ body only lasted a half, and Atlas fell apart in 2nd stanza. Barra 51’s name will survive another year.
Miguel Herrera got his first win for Xolos. He will get the most out of them, but no one knows haw far that will take them.
Pumas gave a little nod to yesteryear with a quasi throwback uni, and then held on to beat Toluca 3-2. Was last season an aberration? We’ll see.
Perpetual weed lurkers Santos and Pachuca also locked up their first wins of the season. They both have rosters that should be competitive throughout the season.
Idiotic Fans of the Week
Where to begin.
We’ll start in Veracruz. Upset that a very iffy red card was handed out to one of his players in Veracruz’ 3-1 loss to Leon Friday night, Red Sharks owner, Fidel Kuri, decided to take out his frustration on the FMF head of refereeing, Edgardo Codesal.
“I told him he has got to go. He does not work for Mexican futbol” The Head Shark said after the loss. “They can punish me if they want, but he (Codesal) has to go.” Kuri even went to look for him in the parking lot after the match.
We all know that there is a lot of passion involved. But it is not as if Kuri is a repeat offender. Frankly, I always thought Veracruz was a Televisa shell company. The reaction, and overreaction has been great theater. He will be sanctioned, and that’s it. As it should be.
Idiotic fans of the week part II
Puebla opened its doors to their shiny new baby over the weekend. After the game, the Estadio Cuauhtemoc looked like the Delta Tao Chi house after a toga party. The reason? Monterrey fans traveling in support of the Rayados set fire to the stadium, and then tried unsuccessfully to put it out by draining their lizards on the blaze. Justice was swift. The FMF did not waste time in punishing the Monterrey side: they received a fine, will have to pay for all the repairs, and their registered fan support clubs are not allowed to travel to away games for the rest of the season.
Monterrey took it one step further by announcing that if any of the accused were season ticket holders, the tix would be revoked immediately and they would have to wait until next year to apply for them again. The real losers are the Monterrey fans, where 99% are loyal, passionate, loud, and respectful. All it takes is a few to ruin it for everybody.
There are a few certainties in this world: death, taxes, and coaches heads rolling after a month in Liga MX.
It is no mystery who the leading contenders are to walk the plank, just look at the bottom of the table.
Luis Fernando Suarez will not last long at Dorados if he does not string a few wins together and fast. It might be time to find a fixer in Culiacan.
Victor Vucetich’s Queretaro has yet to win, but given King Midas’ history, he has earned a rather large benefit of the doubt.
Puebla and Veracruz have not had the best starts, and a precipitous slide into the drop zonecould well mean curtains for Pablo Marini and Liga MX living legend, Carlos Reinoso.