New year, new Liga MX season. I’m joined by Raul (@thecolorfulkit) to discuss five key questions ahead of today’s start to the new Liga MX campaign.
Biggest new Liga MX addition?
Rafa: Paco Jemez arrived this winter to take over an ailing Cruz Azul side. Mexican media has judged Jemez by his failed stint at Granada to start the 2016/2017 season, but those who have watched his teams play know he is a top manager. Ultimately, if Cruz Azul can show some patience, they will reap the rewards.
Raul: Clifford Aboagye, the 21yr old Ghanaian who won the Bronze Ball at the 2013 U20 WC. He just signed with Atlas. Also, Nicolas Castillo coming to Pumas from Chile. He will be replacing Lalo Herrera and will need to provide goals for Paco Palencia.
You should watch _________ play this season because....?
Rafa: This one is easy. Chiapas, of course... Jokes aside, Chivas is the team you should watch this season. The Rebaño Sagrado's early scoring struggles dominated the headlines last season, but after a full preseason under his belt, striker Alan Pulido is determined to make this his year. That said, you also have to mention the addition of Rodolfo Pizarro, who will no doubt transform the way Chivas go on the attack. Finally, Matias Almeyda is one of the brightest managers in the league, and for purists who like the game to played the right way, look no further.
Raul: I try to catch as many Pachuca games as possible because they enjoy attacking and developing young Mexican talent. Sure they lost Pizarro but they still have Guti, Dedos, Aguirre and some kid named Lozano.
What team will have their season crash first?
Rafa: To give Veracruz coach Carlos Reinoso his due, he has done an excellent job rebuilding his team with a talented group of outcasts. The problem when you rebuild a team in such a short amount of time is you run the risk of lack of chemistry getting in the way. Veracruz simply can't afford that, as they are in the middle of a relegation battle. Not to mention, they aren't doing very well in the karma department. Owner Fidel Kuri is arguably one of the most immoral characters in the Mexican game, and more than one would be happy to see the Tiburones Rojos crash and burn.
Raul: Club America. I'm banking my answer on a few bad early results. Those will lead to the front office to do something dumb like firing RLV.
The game you are most looking forward to in the 2017 Clausura?
Rafa: Week 15 at the Estadio BBVA Bancomer. Current champions Tigres take on arch-rivals Rayados in the Clásico Regio. Last season’s late regular season meeting didn’t go as planned, considering Monterrey’s horrendous 2016 Apertura. This season, however, promises to be different. This has the potential to be a match between two teams that are favorites to win the trophy. Sprinkle in the fact that Tigres just overtook Monterrey as the team with the most league titles in the state and you get a game of intense proportions.
Raul: Clásico Nacional. It's the game everyone talks about, for better or worse. It's also when Mexican Soccer Twitter is at its best.
So who wins the Liga MX title?
Rafa: Club America. Listen, we can't pretend Liga MX is the most righteous league in the world. Liga MX is still very much Club America's league, and I don't mean that in just the sporting sense. Las Aguilas are overdue for a league title, and if Ricardo La Volpe can replicate his 2017 Apertura success, you can already see the "stars aligning" themselves in the form of an eagle.
Raul: Tigres will repeat after barely squeaking by into the liguilla. At the same time, I can easily see Necaxa winning it all, winning 1-0 game after 1-0....