Save for their disastrous 2010 Clausura, San Luis have been a fairly consistent team through the years. They're rarely one of the serious championship contenders, but they can almost always be counted on to field a strong team and contend for a Liguilla place. This year should be no exception, as San Luis should sit somewhere near the middle of the table.
The names on the San Luis roster are enough to make you think that they can put out a very competitive starting XI, but they do not have depth when it comes to well-known and/or veteran players. If players get injured, they will have to dip into their youth and reserve ranks and hope that their unproven youngsters are up to the task of keeping them well clear of the relegation places.
Two of San Luis's biggest offseason acquisitions were a couple of players who were no longer wanted at Pumas UNAM, Jehu Chiapas and Fernando Morales. Both are versatile players who are capable of playing multiple positions, and of the two Chiapas will have the better chance to start for the team right out of the gate. He's a proficient wingback and defensive midfielder, and it would be surprising if Chiapas wasn't starting in one of those two positions to start the year.
Also coming into the team is veteran goalkeeper Oscar Perez, who joins from Necaxa, who were relegated after a rough 2010-11 season. Perez was the least of Necaxa's problems as they struggled to score and were out-possessed in most of their games, leaving Perez a lot of work in nearly every match. Necaxa's defensive record was actually excellent for how poor of a team they were, and a lot of that had to do with the play of Perez in goal.
The strongest group that San Luis has is their forwards, and they should be able to score plenty of goals. Alfredo Moreno was reasonably effective on loan at Atlas last season and he returns to the team for the 2011 Apertura campaign. He joins Peruvian forward Wilmer Aguirre, San Luis's most effective forward last year, and Ecuadorian Michael Arroyo, who should have a better campaign than he did last year.
They will be supported by Colombian playmaker Macnelly Torres, who looks poised for a breakout season in the 2011 Apertura. He had an up and down year for San Luis last year, showing flashes of brilliance. Based on his play in Chile and Colombia earlier in his career, as well as his frequent selections for the national team, it seems reasonable to expect that we will see more out of Torres this season.
He'll be supported by Jaime Correa, Ignacio Torres, and the aforementioned pair of Chiapas and Morales. They're a decent midfield group, but they are hardly a deep one. The same can be said about the defense. San Luis are very capable of fielding a competitive first choice starting back line, but if 34-year-old Anibal Matellan runs into any fitness problems, they could struggle to replace him. Lots of question marks surround American Michael Orozco and former America man Guillerme Cerda, who may or may not be major contributors this season.
Wilmer Aguirre - Whether or not San Luis makes Liguilla may depend on whether or not Aguirre can score on a regular basis. If he's able to score 7 or 8 goals, they should have a realistic chance at the playoffs.
Potential Breakout Star
Macnelly Torres - At 26 years old, Torres already has a ton of experience in both his national team and in professional football in South America. He's a very creative player who can also score goals from midfield, and he could turn into a star for San Luis this year.
Fringes of Liguilla - Gun to my head, I'd say San Luis just barely miss a Liguilla place and finish mid-table, but it wouldn't be shocking to see them make the playoffs.
This is the eighth in our series of Mexican Primera team previews. Check out the earlier previews of Club Tijuana Xolos, Queretaro FC, Jaguares de Chiapas, Estudiantes Tecos, Club Atlas, Puebla FC, and Atlante FC.