Here your five conclusions from the second week of play in the Liga MX Clausura.
No Dayro, no problem for Tijuana
It had been said last week that Dayro Moreno’s departure brought big problems for coach Miguel Herrera. After all, Xolos lost arguably their best attacking player. On Friday, though, Tijuana demonstrated a certain post-breakup glow, pummeling a poor Puebla side 6-2.
Sure, Tijuana will perhaps not see a less-determined team this season, but scoring six goals against Puebla is no easy feat, especially after losing your team’s leading goalscorer from last season.
But that begs the question of will it be enough for Herrera’s side? Tijuana will have to focus their firepower on Aviles Hurtado, and the Colombian certainly responded by scoring twice. Then there is the argument that Miguel Herrera is a far more tactically aware manager than most people think, as last season proved.
Nevertheless, it is still early days in the Clausura, and it will be interesting to see how far Tijuana can get this season.
Queretaro continue their bad league form
When it comes to league play, Queretaro have shown little in the way of improvement in recent months. Tough the Gallos Blancos earned Copa MX glory back in November, Victor Manuel Vucetich’s side has been a complete dud in Liga MX play. On Saturday, a ten-man Gallos Blancos side had to settle for a 0-0 draw with Monarcas Morelia to start the season winless in their first two matches.
Vucetich has been placed among some of the best coaches to ever grace Mexican Fútbol, but even he has to feel some sort of pressure. In total, Queretaro have just two wins in their last 16 league matches, and through two matches in the Clausura, it is safe to assume there is reason to worry at the Corregidora.
Referee takes center stage in Chivas vs. Monterrey
Deep down, Chivas fans will know that a 2-2 draw against Rayados with nine-men was a good result. Having seen their team tear apart Monterrey in the first half, they could only watch in horror as Monterrey fought back for a draw.
First, after taking a 2-0 lead, Chivas compromised themselves when Jose Juan “Gallito” Vazquez was sent off in the 34th minute, but everything after the 50th minute mark was harsh on the Rebaño Sagrado, as Jair Pereira was shown two yellows in a matter of seconds for protesting. Chivas problems multiplied, and before you know it, Dorlan Pabon equalized with a stunning strike from long-range.
The damage was done, and if it weren’t for some heroics from Rodolfo Cota, Chivas would have finished this game with zero points.
The referee will, no doubt, face criticism for Pereira’s sending off, and if in fact he used abusive language when protesting, of course there is no defending that. The price, however, was we didn’t get to see two of the best Liga MX teams go at it in more measured circumstances. At the end, for all the prematch build-up, it is a shame the game was overshadowed by a questionable sending off.
Cruz Azul unlucky in Ciudad Universitaria
With echoes of what happened just north of Mexico City, the decision to send off Cruz Azul’s Gabriel Peñalba was another one of the many dubious referee decisions made this weekend in Liga MX. Peñalba was shown a red for what appeared to be a simple yellow-card offense, paving the way for Paco Jemez’s first defeat in front of La Maquina.
There were, however, positives to take from the Cruz Azul display. The ream refused to accept their given status in the game, and in truth, they were better team on the day. Jemez’s side did well to impose themselves on the match, and they set out to make it tough for their city rivals.
Of course, the problem with not parking the bus after having a man sent off is it will leave you with gaps at the back. New Pumas signing Nicolas Castillo only needed a few inches to score one of the goals of the weekend and break the Cementeros’ heart.
Toluca celebrate stadium return with win over Club America
Two golazos sent the new remodeled Estadio Nemesio Diez into raptures as Toluca celebrated the return to their home stadium with a 2-1 win over Club America. At times it was an astute performance from the Diablos Rojos, who looked sharp and mobile on the attack, almost interchanging formations at will as the game wore on.
On the other hand, not that Toluca will care, but las Aguilas were playing in their first Liga MX game since their defeat to Tigres in the final and it showed. America were outnumbered in the midfield and struggled to cope. Most notably, they had nobody to carry the creative burden in the midfield.
The man that for so long used to be the creative spark at America, Rubens Sambueza, was coincidentally playing in the other team and his introduction in the second half seemed inevitable. It didn’t take long for Sambueza to earn a penalty for the Diablos Rojos, and although Agustin Marchesin blocked the spot kick, there was a sense of irony in the air.
All things considered, Toluca were worthy of the victory, and after two weeks of play, they are worthy superlideres.