Here your five conclusions from the third week of play in the Liga MX Clausura.
Veracruz chug along
The Tiburones Rojos made it two out of three wins possible on Friday by defeating Atlas 1-0 at the Estadio Luis “Pirata” Fuente. Carlos Reinoso’s men have been light years away from what they were last season, and while they remain in the middle of a relegation fight, these wins confirm they are building up momentum at the Luis “Pirata” Fuente again, where they traditionally have always been a tough team to beat.
Club America fall to Tigres...again.
After two games played, one of the primary problems with Club America is they look so toothless in the midfield. Previously, the feeling was that the Azulcremas would dig into the transfer market and ultimately purchase the players they need. That, of course, hasn’t happened.
On Saturday, Las Aguilas returned to the Estadio Universitario, where just a few weeks ago they lost the Liga MX final on a heartbreaking penalty shootout. This time, they were completely outmaneuvered as they fell 4-2 to the champions. In short, Club America’s midfield problems continued, giving the defense more problems to deal with, and Ismael Sosa and Lucas Zelarayan took complete advantage by scoring a brace.
Given that this isn’t just a one-off problem, it is remarkable to think that coach Ricardo La Volpe hasn’t done anything about it. Make no mistake, La Volpe is a magnificent manager, but there needs to be dependable midfield line in place if you want to win games. It is not time to panic just yet, but sitting last in the league table after any week is always a bad look for the so-called biggest team in Mexico.
Pumas snatch win at Leon
Before Jesus Gallardo’s out-of-the-blue last-minute strike, it seemed unlikely that Pumas UNAM would get way from Guanajuato with the win. Sure, at times the Universitarios showed clever attacking angles, but it was Leon who looked closest to grabbing the breakthrough. Pumas persisted, though, and at the death, the aforementioned Gallardo poked home a diagonal cross to hand Javier Torrente’s side their second defeat of the season.
It has been a rather curious start to the tournament for Leon. They have lost both their home games this season but have looked encouraging. Here, they were worthy of at least the draw, and you get the sense that it is only a matter of time before they return to winning ways at home.
Chivas lack cutting edge against Tijuana
For all their control and all their willingness to commit men forward, it wasn't enough for Chivas as they fell by the minimum to Xolos de Tijuana. Clear opportunities were rare despite their territorial advantage, and they were left to rue the absence of key chances, with Tijuana scoring in the second half against the run of play to snatch all three points.
It is quite simple for Chivas. If they can make finishing a hallmark of their play, they can undoubtedly be one of the best teams in the league. This means Alan Pulido needs to look sharp leading the line, and the wide players need to challenge the fullbacks a bit more. Down the left, Angel Zaldivar has not looked convincing, and if Matias Almeyda wants to make changes for the next game, he could start there.
Chiapas shock Toluca
It is always nice to be reminded of the unpredictability of Liga MX. Toluca started the season strong, finishing week 2 at the top of the league table. And yet Chiapas, who were the total opposite, went into the newly remodeled Estadio Nemesio Diez and handed the Diablos Rojos their first defeat.
For a team like Chiapas, it is too soon to say, but these are the kind of victories that can mean avoiding relegation or going down to Ascenso MX. With Monarcas Morelia and Veracruz all eager to avoid the drop, Chiapas look faced with a tall order, but against arguably a team that will be fighting for a place in the Liguilla, Jaguares showed their mettle.
One thing is for certain, the relegation battle is sure to go down to the wire this season. Chiapas will hope there is a couple more wins on the horizon.