CantinaMX Futbol newsletter #8

Greetings Cantina patrons, we hope you are excited for the Liga MX Clausura 2017 final as much as we are. The final promises to be a good one with an on fire Tigres taking on a Chivas squad hungry for glory. And there will be a Liguilla first as both TV Azteca and Televisa will share coverage of the games. This new alliance, which also shared the Canelo-Chavez fight, is said to be an effort to retain League and National team TV rights from foreign competitors. While the Liga MX season comes to an end the Mexican national team begins preparing for back to back summer tourneys: FIFA Confederations Cup and CONCACAF Gold Cup and World Cup Qualifiers.

La Gran Final Preview

Chivas and Tigres road to the final could not have been more different as is what is on the line for both clubs. Chivas, which had not reached a league final in 11 years, benefited from their 3rd place league finish which served as tie braker in their draws with both Atlas and Toluca to reach the final. Tigres on the other hand outscored their opponents Monterrey and Tijuana 10-1 with a dominating performance. Tigres are the favorites to take the series and join the select list of clubs that have won back to back league titles. As for Chivas they will have to make the best of their goal scoring chances if they hope to tame the Tigre. Unfortunately, the odds of Alan Pulido going on a scoring binge are as good as the striker being kidnapped by a drug cartel for a second-time and kung-fu fighting his way to freedom whilst wearing a colorful romper that would make Jorge Campos Jealous.

Mole Tour Training Camp under way

The Mexican national team has begun preperations for their busy summer, which includes friendly games against Croatia and Ireland, World Cup qualifying games against Honduras and the United States as well as FIFA Confederations Cup and CONCACAF Gold Cup, at the Centro de Alto Rendimiento. Missing from Juan Carlos Osorio’s squad are the Chivas and Tigres players that received a call up. Also, Marco Fabián, Raúl Jiménez and Carlos Salcedo who still needed by their clubs will report with the squad in Denver prior to the Ireland friendly. Giovani Dos Santos, who did not received permission from the L.A Galaxy to participate in Mexico’s friendly tour will report with the national team on June 4th for the World Cup qalifying games.

Aguirre headed to MLS?

Javier ‘el Vasco’ Aguirre venture in the United Arab Emirates has come to an end after winning the leagues Cup title with Al Wahda. Aguirre plans to take a short break from coaching and return next year. “I turned down an offer to remain at the club a month ago because of personal reasons. It’s been a while since I have been with my family, my sons, my wife and I. I considered that I owed myself a break after 18 or 20 years of working,” Aguirre told reporters. “I have a various offers from China and for the MLS but wont be until January.”

2017 Clausura Liguilla Quarterfinal recap

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Greetings Cantina Patrons, we hope you have been enjoying the 2017 Liga MX Clausura playoffs as much as we have. Despite there being no surprises in the first round match-up results we can confirm that our podcast predictions were spot on. So, grab a pint of something frosty, pull up a chair and join us for this weeks round up.

I Feel Your Pain Bro

As expected the Rojinegros of Atlas once again crashed from the playoffs to the dismay of their hopefull fans. We were going to say without pain nor glory but judging by some of their fans reactions there clearly was much pain. The ‘Rojinegros’ last league Campionship was in the 1950-1951 season – 66 years ago. While Atlas were not favorites for the league title a victory over Chivas was very much in he cards. Atlas had won the first leg, at home at Jalisco stadium, by one goal. Perhaps, it wasn’t much of a difference but Chivas had now strubg together a five match winless streak having only scored once and off a penalty kick. Needles to say the Goats dominated the second-leg and leveled the series 1-1 to advance by having finished the season in better standing. “Ah you think failure plagues you? said the Atlista to the Cruz Azul fan. “You merely adopted the Cruzazuleada. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn’t see the light until I was already a man, by then it was nothing to me but blinding!”

Morelia’s fairytale comes to an End

Morelia had a thrilling finish to the regular season where they not only avoided relegation but managed to sneak into the league playoffs. Their first-round match-up against Xolos of Tijuana looked promising with the Monarchs edging out a one-nil win at home at Morelos stadium. However, just as it appeared that the curse of the league leaders was going to be set in motion Xolos made the most of the Caliente Stadium home advantage to win by two goals and advance to the semifinal.Perhaps the curse is not over yet as Tijuana must not face the mighty Tigres. “They are a great rival, champions of Mexico and have everything to repeat but we are concentrated on turding the tide in our favor,” said Miguel ‘Piojo’ Herrera after the match.

Chorizo Power loses it’s Spice

It might not seem like it, as there had been little noise, but the Diablos Rojos of Toluca are celebrating their centenial and expect to make the final to celebrate with a Championship win. The Diablos arrived to the playoffs on a four match winless streak only to stun Santos, at the Corona stadium, with a resounding 4-1 victory! All seemed well for the ‘Choriceros’ but on the return their leg they were made to suffer in their own devil’s cauldron of the Bombonera stadium. Santos very close of tying the series, winning 3-1, and putting the fear of God into the devils. “It seems that at home we are scared to execure our gameplay. I say it seems like it because I do not think it is fear, it is anxiety of wanting to do everything right and become unbeatable,’ Toluca boss Hernan Cristante told reporters after the match. Toluca’s next opponent will be another club that is having a difficlt time of winning at home: Chivas!

Savage Takedown!

There is nothing worse than losing to your cross town rivals like losing to them in lopsided fashion during the league playoffs. The Rayados Monterrey were no match for an on-fire Andre-Pierre Gignac and his Tigres who won the series with a humiliating 6-1 fashion: losing 4-1 at the Volcano followed by a 2-0 defeat at home. “This is the worst pain I have felt since being here, it is a difficult blow, I am beaten, very sad for what happened in this series. I want to thank the fans who supported us until the final minute…I am responsible for this defeat. Today I am beaten, truth be told I am hurt and sad because we could not achieved what we wanted,” lamented Antonio ‘Turco’ Mohamed during post match press conference.

Savage beatdown!


Following up on the Savage Takedown in Monterrey, there were also scenes of violence. For the second time(1st being in Veracruz) this season in opposing team’s stadiums, Tigres fans get fists flying at their faces and it wasn’t a fair fight. I read in one article, 50 fans taking turns beating a couple of Tigres fans. Just brutal. Why did this happen? During the return leg game in Rayado dominated BBVA stadium, when Tigres was obviously going to win the series, announcers commented that Nahuel Guzman was making fun of Edwin Cardona, by inflating his cheeks, calling him gordo/fat! The gloating may have gotten out of control on the field and spread to the fans, who had to be upset with their team’s result in the first place. The gloating was just adding fuel to the fire. These are the times where you need to wear the opposing team’s jersey underneath your team’s colors, just in case you are fleeing for your life.

Mole Tour Roster

NEW YORK (Tuesday, May 16, 2017) – The Mexican National Team held a press conference today to announce its roster ahead of upcoming matches against Croatia at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, on May 27, presented by Nissan, and against Ireland at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford on June 1.

MEXICO NATIONAL TEAM ROSTER:

Goalkeepers: Jesús Corona (Cruz Azul), Guillermo Ochoa (Granada), Alfredo Talavera** (Toluca)

Defenders: Oswaldo Alanís** (Guadalajara), Néstor Araujo (Santos Laguna), Raúl López (Pachuca), Rafael Márquez (Atlas), Héctor Moreno (PSV Eindhoven), Diego Reyes (Espanyol), Luis Reyes (Atlas), Carlos Salcedo*** (Fiorentina)

Midfielders: Jonathan Dos Santos (Villarreal), Jesús Dueñas** (Tigres), Andrés Guardado (PSV Eindhoven), Erick Gutiérrez (Pachuca), Elías Hernández (León), Jorge Hernández (Pachuca), Héctor Herrera (Porto FC), Miguel Layún (Porto FC), Jesús Molina (Monterrey), Orbelín Pineda** (Guadalajara)

Forwards: Javier Aquino** (Tigres), Jesús Manuel Corona (Porto FC), Jurgen Damm** (Tigres), Marco Fabián*** (Eintracht Frankfurt), Jesús Gallardo (Pumas), Javier Hernández (Bayer Leverkusen), Raúl Jiménez** (Benfica), Hirving Lozano (Pachuca), Oribe Peralta (América), Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad)

**Pending approval from his club
***Only available for New York game

Crisis? What Crisis? – The Gentlemen’s Agreement

We’re back!  In this installment of the Gentlemen’s Agreement, futmexnation contributor Joel Aceves and CantinaMX podcast host John Jagou expose the truth behind the “crises” of certain Liga MX teams, the decision to broadcast LigaMX games in English, and they pay their respects, sort of, to once proud rivalry.

 

John Jagou:  Joel, We are now one third of the way into the the Clausura 2017 season.  And if I don’t say so myself, we have been pretty spot on with how we expected the tournament to play out.

It is almost as if we have been watching Mexican soccer for decades.

 

Joel Aceves:  It is as if we are binge watching our favorite Netflix series for the third time. Last week Tigres manager Ricardo Tuca Ferretti talked about being worried for the team’s poor form [four loses out of six games this season], but claimed that this was no reason to claim that the team is in a crisis.

He’s right.

The short season lends itself for the media and fans to exaggerate these types of situations. This is especially true for more popular clubs like America. The media is having a field day with their poor form [12th place in the table] even though they are only six points from first place Toluca.  As we have seen before anything can happen in 2-3 match days to shake up the league table.

 

JJ: Tigres fans should be ashamed of themselves for even conceiving the #fueratuca hashtag. The coach has elevated Tigres to heights last enjoyed when Tomás Boy, Osvaldo Batocletti and Patrulla Barbadillo roamed the Volcán as players. Not to mention the fact that Tigres had a slow start in the ’16 Apertura. Breaking news… Tigres always has slow starts.  When will the fans learn.

América is another issue, only because their coach, Ricardo Lavolpe, is a walking, talking train-wreck waiting to happen. It is only a matter of time before the wheels come off.  At least Tigres has the excuse of playing poorly vs decent teams.

But like you said, the league’s parity allow for little slips that can easily be adjusted with a 2 or 3 game win streak.

 

Joely:  Despite the competition created by the short season format with teams being able to finish the season in 8th place and going on to win the league title I still prefer the long season format. I prefer playoff system for Cup tourneys which as has just been announced there will be a joint Liga MX/MLS cup this year. As long as both leagues take the tourney I am all for it. I don’t really care to see how Liga MX bench warmers fair against MLS sides.

 

JJ:  It has been nearly 20 years since we have seen long seasons, and most of us don’t know a Liga MX without a post-season.  Because of the format, yes, 8 seeds can win, and they have. But not as often as you think. The seeds that have won the most titles have been the #2 and #3 seeds. Which makes sense as we have seen an 8 seed take down the pole-sitter time and time again, making it easier for the next in line to take the crown.

The liguilla ain’t going anywhere, but at least it is not a 10-team tournament like it used to be.  But 8 is still too many. I would suggest limiting the post season to 6 teams to give the top 2 seeds a 1st round bye. That way rights holders still get 3 weeks of postseason, and the top teams are assured of making the semifinal round.

Speaking of rights holders, Univision made quite the announcement.

 

Joely:  Yes sir, they will be streaming Liga MX games in English via Facebook. This is something Liga MX should have done years ago. And even Chivas could have tested before doing their failed Chivas TV. So, how do you think this will play out?

 

JJ: This is not the first time Liga MX games have been broadcast in English. A few years ago, ESPN broadcast a handful of Liga MX games when they had acquired the English-language rights for Tri broadcasts.

That only lasted a season.

I do believe this endeavor will have better staying power. It is a shame, however, that it has to be a broadcast partner, and not Liga MX themselves that proceeded with this venture.

For all of their chest-puffing about being one of the world’s top leagues, they have consistently proven to lack the vision and planning to move the league forward in this 21st Century.  Their website is half completed and, frankly, a mess.  Their twitter presence, to be fair, does an excellent job of posting goals as they happen.

 

Joely:  It also shows how divided the Liga MX club owners are. The Televisa and TV Azteca duopoly that existed for many years seems to have drawn a line in the sand a line that will now be divided with the expansion of two more open broadcast television stations. Clubs should now be getting more money but also it can and should lead to a shake up within the Mexican Football Federation. It is now more independently run as opposed to being a puppet to the big two television stations.

The next years should be interesting as FMF will most likely begin to get restructured. By 2022 we can be seeing a whole new management in both league and national team.

 

JJ: The underlying issue is that the clubs negotiate their own broadcast rights. But for years they had to put up with the scraps from what they got from the duopoly who would, in turn, broadcast games locally on a pay channel.   And since there was no centralized power to combat this, the teams (more importantly, the fans) just had to sit there and take it.

Now that Liga MX is separate from FMF, the next logical step is to negotiate broadcast and digital rights collectively. I am pretty sure they can do better than the $120 MM per year that was mentioned in the Guardian Article.  That averages to 6.7 MM per team.

A collective contract can also set broadcast windows, but there is no reason a team has to play in the same one every other week. I would like to see a Friday night window, 3 Saturday windows, 2 Sunday windows, and, wait for it… a Monday Night window.

 

Joely:  Monday Night Futbol would be just as big as the Liga MX Apertura 2016 Christmas final.  It would also expose more viewers to less popular clubs. All of these proposals could be feasible in the next years. It just remains to be seen if the club owners can work together for the greater good.

If they can have a Gentleman’s Agreement over player transfers, then I’m sure they will have another one over League and national team rights.

 

JJ:  National team rights also look to be released from the steely clutches of the duopoly after 2018. Perhaps the revenue generated from those rights fees will enlighten the owners.

The National team just finished playing another Molero in Las Vegas. Was it an exercise to find a Gold Cup squad or was Osorio looking for wrinkles to add for the upcoming qualifiers?

 

Joely:  Friendly games played on non-FIFA match days allow the coach to work with players that they normally wouldn’t get this kind of attention.  It is the main reason why I don’t place too much emphasis on collective game play. This, however, doesn’t stop the media from being over critical on the team’s performance. Some of the players were coming from playing 2-3 games as is the case with the Chivistas who had a Boca Jrs friendly sandwiched between Copa MX and League play. Others like Giovani Dos Santos are in pre-season form. Still, having this opportunity to test players helps Mexico in the long run as the coach has a good idea on what players are up to the task.

 

JJ:  I could not agree more. It was all about individual performance. Was Gio rusty?  Oh yeah, but he still served Alan Pulido for a perfect cross that led to the lone goal. The player that I believe is making a push to be considered in the starting XI vs Costa Rica is Orbelin Pineda. The Chivas youngster has been superb wearing stripes and green over the past six months.  He might be the best Mexican on the planet right now.

The lack of scoring from the goal generators was a little disquieting heading into Hex.3, but Carlos Vela, Tecatito, and Chicharito all appear to be catching fire at the right time. Hernandez was the most worrisome, but it looks like he had some extra motivation.

 

Joely:  Cheech definitely regained his mojo: scoring on and off the field. He now has three goals in two games with Leverkusen and will be celebrating this Valentines with Thalia’s niece Camila Sodi, who used to be married to Rogue One’s  Cassian Andor! The timing for Mexican strikers to step up their game couldn’t have been better. They should all be in peak form for when the Hexagonal resumes in March.

 

 

https://twitter.com/CH14_/status/831456884410478594

awwwwwww

JJ:  Overall it was a good weekend for Chivas fans: their favorite son scored a brace with two excellent volleys, and later that day, the sacred herd reminded Atlas that Mariachis sing about Guadalajara, not académicos.

If I were an Atlas fan…. I should just stop right there.

Since they won’t be winning any championships any time soon, the only possibility of any kind of bragging rights that Atlas fans have is winning the Tapatio. And they can’t even do that right.

Things will get worse for Atlas before they get better.  They will be mired in the relegation muck next season. The new bosses have proven the only thing they can do is pay the players on time.

Atlas is, has been, and always will be a mess. They are the Clippers and Jets rolled in to one sad, sad, team.

As a Chivas fan, I can’t even think that this game is even on your radar.

 

Joely:  Absolutely Yon, if I were Chiva management I would have already released a statement claiming that Chivas no longer considers Atlas rivals and therefore are nullifying the Clasico Tapatio.  Chivas can just wait around for Tecos or Leones Negros if they want a derby.

Good thing they have worthy rivals in America. Despite the Aguilas poor form I wouldn’t count them out for this weeks Super Clasico. A win here would do much to get them out of the ‘Crisis’ they are in. Chiva are favorites but I would be feeling better if the match was at Azteca. My one complaint with the Goat-in-Chief Matias Almeyda is that the team doesn’t have a strong home field advantage. Even in games where the team gets penalty kicks and plays up a man they fail to win. I’m predicting a draw here.

 

JJ: It is a shame that Guadalajara cannot turn their home stadium into a Citadel. And I am still dumbfounded that Chivas fans waste the chance to sing the most iconic Mexican song when things are going their way. Instead they cheer ole ole ole chivas chivas. Pathetic!!

I am liking the way Chivas is playing, but America needs a win. It should be a good one.

We might have to have a live gentlemen’s chat during the match. And we will definitely dissect, blame, praise and ridicule next week.

 

Joely:  Sounds like a plan Yon!

 

Catch John and Joel every Wednesday on the CantinaMX Podcast live on youtube at 9pm CT, or on itunes.

Follow Joel on twitter @joelyaceves

Follow John on twitter @jjagou

 

Ep. 63: CantinaMX Futbol Podcast – Liguilla Semis are set. Goats cry!

QEPDFirst: Thoughts and prayers go to all those who have passed in Brazil, their families, friends and all affected.

 

An exciting Weekend of Futbol has just passed and we discuss the events on a Monday late night podcast. It has also been announced that we have changed our name. This is now the CantinaMX Futbol Podcast. Let’s hope a bar fight don’t break out.

In this episode, we talk America win over Chivas. Tigres and Gignac, back in the groove. Sad flute time for Pumas. Much more!

Gentlemen’s Agreement – Is Raul Jimenez up to the Challenge

gentlemenIn yet another edition of the Gentlemen’s agreement, the aforementioned swaddled some cognac, lit some cohibas, and dug in to a rather lackluster start to the Liga MX season, among other topics.  Pour yourself a cognac and join in the fun.

 

John Jagou:  Joel, Chivas TV made its regular season debut and it was not terrible, according to the 20 people that watched it. I am sure that Liga MX was thrilled that one of their marquee games of the season was so readily available. But it may not be such a bad thing, because the quality of play from the first two weeks across the league, as my high society Spanish friends would say, ha sido paupérrimo.  The fans have noticed as well.  Attendance has been well below average

 

Joel Aceves:  Yon, the poor start of the Apertura, with very few goals to boot, was to be expected given the early start of the season. Seems like many teams are still on pre-season form. My beloved Goats are even playing a friendly game against Arsenal this Thursday. That said, I was trying to track Chivas TV numbers but have been unsuccessful. I’ve only managed to find estimates. Those being that for every 1 Chiva fan watching the clubs stream in Mexico there will be 20 Americanistas watching their club on television. The reports talk about Chivas TV having 500,000 people watching their stream compared to 10 million for free T.V. The numbers for the Tshirt presentation were at 190k and that was free. We must also add that Chivas TV reported that 46% of the people that watched their match against Monterrey were Rayado fans. Then there are the numerous complaints about the streaming qualities with the image freezing and the delayed sound.

Not all is lost though. Chivas owner Jorge Vergara already saidt hat if Chivas makes the league final the match will be on television. However, I am guessing that if Chivas TV streaming doesn’t pick up, as they are already offering 2 games for 1 specials, if they make the playoffs, their games will be shown on Television. Read more

Brandy, Cigars, Gio, Chivas, and Liga MX Semis

It is time for another edition of the gentlemen’s agreement.  In this installment soccerchronicle.com ‘s John Jagou and futmexsource.com ista Joel Aceves hash out the Gio mess, Chivas’ new media leap, and the Liga MX semifinals.

John Jagou:  I was very surprised that Gio did not make Copa America. I am not surprised that FMF bungled the whole thing up. One day these guys will get their stories straight.
Joel Aceves:  I am also surprised Gio was left out not only becaause of well he has been playing with the Galaxy, but also what he means to the national team. Still, there is hope that he gets capped for the Olympics.
 
JJ:  It used to be for years, decades even, that Mexico did not have the depth to omit players of Gio’s quality. Mexico does have quite a bit of depth now, which is why Osorio can live without Gio for now. He has Tecatito and Chucky.  The guy who was expendable was Jurgen Damm.  Damm is fast, talented, but he is no Gio. Not having Gio on the team will now rachet up the pressure on Osorio. If the expectation of making the semifinals is not met, the press will crucify Osorio for this decision.  But they will crucify him for any and all missteps.
JA:  It reminds me of Bora’s second run with the national team in the late 90s. He was criticized for not calling Carlos Hermosillo. Good ol Velibor would then piss off the press by saying he respected their opinions. Knowing FMF there’s a number of reasons why Hermosillo was sidelined and even after Manuel Lapuente replaced Bora, el Grandote de Cerro Azul remained absent from the Tricolor.
With Gio I get the feeling there’s a question of sponsorship behind Osorio’s announcement that the reasons for Gio being left out will remain between them.
 
JJ:  The worst part is how many people believe the coach when Gio said he had declined. Then said it would be unethical for me to talk about the reasons. WTF
 
JA: My take is that FMF has stipulation with TRI sponsors that require Gio to be present in big games-events. And Osorio leaving him out, in my own opinion based on tactical reasons, causes a problem that is easily resolved by claiming the player asked to be left out.
 
JJ:  The worst part of the whole thing was Gio making press junket appearances without his people having any idea that the list was being released in the middle of said appearances. He was live on the radio with Grant Wahl as the list was being released. Grant asked him why did you decline the call? Gio was shell shocked.
 
JA:  I missed that interview. Fellow Deuce podcaster Beto kept referencing it and looking for the clip to no avail. I did see Televisa interviewing Gio at a supermarket whilst he promoted head and shoulders and his replies and body language tell me he really wanted to play the Copa America.
 
JJ:  Gio knows that Tri appearances are what have given him the career he has. It certainly hs not been his club career.  It makes no sense that he would turn it down. SUM and MLS were depending on him to play. It was a big black eye for them both.  Like I said earlier, Mexico might have more depth now, but shutting out a difference maker like Gio is not a good decision.And I do not think it was Gio’s.

Read more

The Gentlemen Break Down the Liguilla

In the latest edition of the (and freshly rebranded) Gentlemen’s agreement, (nee Weekend at Joely’s) futmexsource.com correspondent Joel Aceves and soccerchronicle.com writer, John Jagou take a look at the 3 big mid-week fixtures, including Pumas’ Libertadores quarterfinal.

 

John Jagou:  I felt bad for Gullit this weekend. He could have increased his hit points and attained legend level status with Chivas fans, but the cross bar said otherwise. And then our friend Oribe scores another huge goal to add to his legend.  It is why Osorio has to take him to Copa America. There is no Mexican player who has come up as big and as consistently as Oribe over the past decade.

 

Joel Aceves:  Gullit has gained a reputation for lacking testicular fortitude.  It is the alleged he lost his starting spot in Mexico’s World Cup squad.  Agreed on Oribe, he even has shown to have the quality to bench Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez! In any case the Horrible One should be a welcome addition to either Olympic or Copa America squad.

 

JJ: I do recall hearing the same thing about Gullit, that he did not deal well when the pressure was ratcheted up, and it cost him in Brazil. You saw some of that when he first played with Chivas, but it seemed like Almeyda had gotten him to calm down and not press. Regardless, the season overall was a good turn of events for Chivas. If they can manage to avoid a slump in the coming Apertura, they can finally, after 3 years, exorcise the relegation fantasma. That should help them play with a lot more confidence. It has been a while since I have said this, but I am bullish on Chivas, provided they find a goal-scorer.

 

JA:  Mexico Boss Juan Carlos Osorio claims that it was his call to Gullit that set the player straight. He is on record saying that he talked to el Lagrimas Esmeraldas and told him to set aside his personal problems and that if he regained his level he would be called up to the national team again.

Next season will be key for Chivas, which have already climbed to 13th place of the relegation chart. Below them are Atlas, Morelia, Puebla, Veracruz, and whichever team gets promoted (either Necaxa or Juarez). As for finding a goal-scorer, Chivas’ best bet will be their Cantera,

 

JJ:  Over to America. As much as it pains you to admit, you have to be really impressed with the job that Ricardo Peláez has done at Club América several years ago. The club was in complete disarray, even flirting with relegation before he took over. Since then, they have become the model club in Liga MX.

In a sense, he has made America hated again. 4 titles with 3 coaches, but with essentially the same base of players. If they manage to win the title this season, it will be even more impressive because they will have defeated 3 of the 5 best teams in the league this season.

 

JA: On the contrary John, I’ve actually been an advocate for Peláez as it was a welcome change in Liga MX. Nestor de la Torre had been doing a similar job at Chivas. Granted not as successful but the team was very consistent:  won the league title, then played two semifinals after that, in addition to a Copa Libertadores final.  It is no coincidence that the club fell apart once he left.

With Peláez, I like that America’s board of directors have given him complete confidence to run the club.   In the past we have seen coaches come into a club like a snake oil salesman, making big promises.  The club would then supply Mr. Snake Oil a brand new roster of players, and when that coach’s fails to meet the high expectations he had set himself,  it’s on to the next quick fixer.

Peláez has shown that long term planning has its merits. He sacked coaches that were not willing to be part of the club’s process. Those were risky moves on his part as was hiring the low profile Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Ambriz but the club’s success has shown that Peláez has been right all along. My hope is for more Liga MX clubs to take this approach as I feel it will lead to a more competitive league.

 

JJ:  I am not so sure your fellow Chivas compatriots would understand or appreciate your healthy respect for Club América’s recent fortune. Some maybe asking to revoke your credentials. But there is something to be said about continuity. And it makes much more of an impact when a club with America’s pedigree succeeds because of it. If Liga MX turns into a copycat league, then, as you stated, the league will become more competitive.

A certain degree of continuity also be used to describe how Pachuca and León have worked themselves into the top echelon of the Liga MX as well. Both of them had good wins to advance to the Liguilla semis, where they will face each other. Pachuca’s kids are fun to watch, but Leon’s Elias Hernandez has been spectacular this season. He deserves a chance to play in Copa America.

 

JA:  No need to revoke my Goat creds.  I’m about to hand them in myself. Chivas CEO (Jose Luis Higuera) and General Manager (Jaime Ordiales) are known Americanistas. And the club owner (Jorge Vergara) is rumored to be an Atlista. His first foray into Liga MX was to sponsor Atlas and then even tried to buy them. I maintain hope that Vergara’s ex wife Angelica Fuentes, who owns 49% of Chivas, will sell her shares to a proper investor that can then buy out Jorge. Cough Slim Cough

While Leon and Pachuca have been on the right path it is America that has taken the spotlight. For the greater good of the league, America’s success in Concachampions, and even at the Club’s World Cup can influence other clubs to take the same approach:  having a set of goals to reach instead of betting on a coach and mid-season transfers to turn things around.  Last season Cruz Azul brought in Eduardo ‘Yayo’ de la Torre as GM, so it will be interesting to see how much freedom he will have to shape the club. As we can see Yayo has bet on continuity with Tomas Boy remaining at the helm. In the past he would of been gone once the final match-day whistle signaled the Maquina’s latest fracaso.

 

JJ:  Pumas did the same with Antonio Sancho. And they also were judicious in their recent acquisitions — most already Liga MX veterans.  They may not be in the liguilla, but their season is not over yet.

And we can also say that this season was one that was not pockmarked by coach firings. In the not so recent past, it was normal to have 6-10 coaches given the boot at midseason. Some teams would have 3 coaches for the 17 games. So maybe this is the new normal in Liga MX.

The king of continuity is Tuca Ferreti.  Tuca has coached Tigres for 6 years, which is incredible for Liga MX. It is unfortunate that the series with Monterrey was marred by bad officiating and then baiting Tuca into one of his classic eruptions. What the press won’t show, though, is Tuca going back and calmly answering questions.

 

JA:  Well then, I guess we can say that the trend is catching on. We can add Toluca to the list who under Jose Saturnino Cardozo played two Liguilla semifinals. And like Pumas dominated the Copa Librtadores group stage. Unfortunately, Toluca had one bad game against a Brazilian giants Sao Paulo.

That said both Pumas and Toluca failed to make the Liguilla, which I blame on the short season which, ironically, has been one of the most influential factors in Liga MX club owners’ erratic behavior in their quest for instant results with the quick fix.

 

JJ:  I don’t mind that Pumas didn’t make the liguilla. I would much rather they focus on the Libertadores anyway, which they can do now without any distractions. A few years ago when Monterrey won their first title under Vucetich, they chose to play the Libertadores with reserves. The reigning champions at the time had an opportunity to measure themselves against SA’s best, and they play with reserves.  Baffling!

Take the shot when you have it because you never know when you’ll get another chance.  Pumas has a legitimate shot at the semis after a 10 year absence in the tournament. It is a busy midweek schedule. Pumas vs Independiente del Valle (ECU) on Tuesday, América-Rayados Wednesday, and Leon-Pachuca Thursday. Who you got?

 

JA:  I’m going with Pumas over Independiente not just because they represent Mexican soccer but because I’d like to believe we have a better league than Ecuador.

In my opinion America-Rayados is the final adelantada and the winner should lift the Liga MX title. I got the sense that Rayados showed some weakness against Tigres in the quarterfinals that America can exploit. So, I will side with the Wilas on this one.

Leon-Pachuca is the Grupo Pachuca Clasico. We’ve all seen what happens when teams owned by the same owner meet: the main club gets favored and in this case it’s the Tuzos.

So, we can be seeing an America vs. Pachuca final: two clubs that have bet on a long term project and continuity. Maybe this is becoming a trend. Latest news is that Vergara offered Matias Almeyda a five year coaching contract.

 

JJ:  I also hope to see Pumas through, but it will be a lot tougher than people expect.  Independiente did just bounce none other than the defending champs, River Plate.  So they are no pushover by any means.

Monterrey’s discipline will make Club America unravel, and Pachuca will prevail over Leon because the last time they played in the liguilla, Leon won.

It’s daddy’s turn.

As always a pleasure, Joel.

 

JA:  Same here.  I am really enjoying these chats.

 

JJ:  As am I.  Hopefully the readers are as well.

 

Catch John and Joel every Wednesday on the Dos A Zero Futbol Podcast live on youtube at 9pm CT, or on itunes.

Follow Joel on twitter @joelyaceves

Follow John on twitter @jjagou

Let’s Fix the Liguilla


It is something that has happened every year since 1970. That means that except for a small handful of people that are reading this, the only way you have ever seen Liga MX crown their champion is at the conclusion of the famous Liguilla. So for all the talk about changing the season format, and changing the post-season format, one thing is very clear. The Liguilla is just not going away.

Does not mean it cannot be tinkered with, though.

There has been some tinkering over the years. The best thing the string-pullers have done over the last few years is to eliminate the Repechaje (Wild Card round for the monolinguals). A 10 team playoff in a league of 18 was just silly. It was a move in the right direction. The other major modification that has had an impact was changing the tie breaker. It used to be that the first tie breaker was the seeding. In other words, the lower seeds had to win the series no matter what. The first year this new wrinkle was added, there was a major casualty. Can anyone guess who fell victim to the tie-breaker? If your first (and frankly, it should be your only) inclination was to say Cruz Azul. You are right! And you move on to the next round.

It happened in the C14 season. #8 Leon and Cruz Azul ended level after their tie, but Leon made it through to the next round because away goals became the first tie breaker. Ay ay ay, Cruz Azul! If it were up to me, I would set up the liguilla tie breakers in the following way:

1st round – Higher seed advances if tied on aggregate
Semifinals – Away goals
Final – No tie breaker – penalties decide champion.

Of course, I am making the assumption that there would still be 8 teams that qualify for the post-season. Which would be a good number if the season was not split in half as it is now. Which segues nicely into my next proposal: limit entrants to the fiesta grande.

If we have to deal with 2-season seasons, then 8 teams are too many. It cheapens (or chepoes, depending on how you feel about the man) the regular season. Not to mention, and I quote soccerchronicle.com regular contributor, Joel Aceves “it rewards mediocrity.” He is right. Now, I am also a realistic man. The reason there are that many teams in the post-season is that there will be more games to broadcast. I get that. So while my gut tells me that a 4-team post season would be best, the business man in me says a reduction to 6 teams would be the most palatable.

So the top 2 seeds would get a bye after the 3-6 teams play a one off over the weekend. Tie breakers would be the same as above.

1st round – Penalties after 90 minutes
Semifinals – Away goals
Final – No tie breaker – penalties decide champion

6 teams out of 18 would not cheapen the regular season as much, and would make for some very dramatic finishes over the last few weeks.

What are your thoughts?

Listen to the dos a zero futbol podcast at a special time Thursday at 11pm CDT and Sunday night at the conclusion of the Pachuca – Santos.  Catch all previous editions on itunes.

Follow me on twitter @jjagou

Ep. 15: Los Cachirules podcast – We talk America’s failure, Tigres win and LigaMX transfers.

Another Wednesday night, another show of Los Cachirules podcast. We discussed the failure of America during the Club World Cup. Atleast they got 5th place. We also discussed the Tigres win, LigaMX transfers and even who we wanted to see descend.

Listen in…

Ep. 14: Los Cachirules podcast – delayed post.

PumasEpisode 14 from last week, recorded right after the 1st Leg of the Tigres vs Pumas final. We discussed the bleak chances for Pumas to get back, which as we know now, didn’t turn out to be so bleak.

As always, we broadcast our show live on youtube, and announce it on our twitter account. So you can follow live, or wait until we release the episodes for iTunes and on this blog.

 

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