When you finish at the bottom of the league table, it’s time to make changes. After a disastrous Clausura 2012 season, change was definitely the theme of the summer offseason in San Luis. These weren’t small changes, either. Since the end of last season, San Luis has undergone a complete transformation in club structure. The changes began at the top, as Jorge Nacer Gobera (and his Nacer Global company) purchased the club from Televisa for 40 million dollars at the end of last season. The new ownership brings a singular focus to the club, rather than Televisa’s broader interests in the sporting world. The change in team ownership also represents a monumental shift for the entire league. As recently as the Clausura 2011 season Televisa owned three teams in the top division. This season they will own just one – Club America.
After taking control of San Luis, Nacer Gobera proceeded to bring in Enrique Borja as president of the club, as well as new manager Jose Luis Trejo. This new club management team will look to vastly improve on last season's highly disappointing bottom of the table finish. San Luis finished the Clausura officially in 16th place, but were tied on points in the league basement with Queretaro and the relegated Estudiantes Tecos. Overall it was a season to forget. After winning the first two games of the year, San Luis went on to win just one more match the entire rest of the Clausura season, finishing with a league-high 11 losses.
With lots of room for improvement all over the field, club management has brought in a load of reinforcements. Some of the most intriguing new signings come from South America. San Luis adds Colombian defender Andres Cadavid, Brazilian midfielder Everton Bilher, and Uruguayan striker Sebastian Fernandez. The team also brings in a few notable players from the domestic sphere, including Emmanuel Cerda from Tigres and Felix Araujo on loan from Toluca. The hope is that newcomers like Fernandez and Cerda, along with remaining striker Wilmer Aguirre, will pick up the scoring pace from last season -- especially considering the move of leading scorer Alfredo Moreno to Tijuana.
Even with massive changes to the club, expectations for the 2012 Apertura are still tempered. The good news is there’s only one way to go – and that’s up. Even modest improvements will move San Luis out of the league basement, and put the team far ahead of last year’s forgettable finish.
Shoes to Fill
Alfredo Moreno -- Last season’s leading scorer (5 goals) has moved on to Tijuana. Who will step up and fill the scoring void?
Potential Breakout Star
Emmanuel Cerda -- It wasn’t easy for Cerda to get playing time last season on a loaded Tigres squad. Now with San Luis, expect a spot in the regular rotation for a player with the ability to be a reliable scorer for his new club.
Mark Your Calendar
Week 1 vs. Santos Laguna -- Last season, Mexico’s eventual champions thoroughly embarrassed San Luis in Torreon. Oribe Peralta scored four goals en route to a 5-2 Santos victory. San Luis could turn heads with an opening weekend victory over the defending champs, and get a bit of revenge in the process.
Bottom third of table -- San Luis will undoubtedly improve on last season’s three wins, but it remains to be seen just how high the team can climb in the standings. At this point, a Liguilla spot looks to be a bit of a reach.
This is the first installment in our series of Liga MX team previews ahead of the Apertura 2012 season.