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2017 Liga MX Apertura Best XI

Photo by Refugio Ruiz/Latin Content/Getty Images

Liga MX is a growing and thriving league and with every passing season the quality of futbol gets better. The Apertura 2017 featured an amazing amount of collective and individual talent. Among all that talent, 11 players and one coach stood out and were the top performers of the season. The chosen players will be lined up in a 4-3-3. You may notice that the best XI is dominated by players from Monterrey and Tigres and the reason for that is that they were, without a doubt, the two best teams of the Apertura 2017.

Goalkeeper: Agustín Marchesín-América

Liga MX has always had great keepers and this season was no exception. In his second season with America, Marchesín has established himself as a leader on the field. He provides assurance and security behind a defense that isn’t always the best. It is rare to see him have a bad game. His performances on the field have even earned him a call up for the national team of Argentina. If he continues at this level, America will have a great goalkeeper for years to come.

Right Back: Luis Rodriguez- Tigres UANL

Luis Rodriguez is an ideal “lateral”. He is fast enough to get up and down the field faster than most players. He has enough ball control and dribbling skills to get passed a player or two. His good passing and crossing skills provide the forwards and attacking midfielders plenty of opportunities to score. Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti puts a lot of pressure on his players and demands defensive awareness at all times. Rodriguez has adapted to the pressure and responded very well.

Left Back: Leonel Vangioni-Monterrey

Vangioni is an experienced and seasoned left back that showed great leadership and skill throughout the whole season. Mohamed loves playing a brand of futbol where his “laterales” are expected to join the attack as much as possible, while still providing great defensive cover for the center backs. Despite being 30, Vangioni showed no signs of slowing down this past season.

Center Back: Hugo Ayala-Tigres UANL

Hugo Ayala is a model of consistency and leadership. He is the perfect partner for Juninho and the fullbacks because he is wiling to sacrifice going up the field to provide defensive cover. Ayala is the perfect mix of experience, sacrifice, and leadership that any club would love to have anchor their back line.

Center Back: Nicolas Sanchez-Monterrey

The playing style of Mohamed requires his center backs to destroy the opponents’ attack and develop his team’s own by getting the ball out of their area with precise passes. Nicolas Sanchez was not always a starter but worked his way into the starting lineup. The Argentine hasn't looked back since and is as dependable a defender as there is in Liga MX.

Defensive Midfield: Rafael Carioca-Tigres UANL

The departure of Pizarro left a huge hole in the middle of the midfield. Tuca brought in Carioca to fill the position and he fit right in. Usually it takes players a couple of seasons to get accustomed to Liga MX but Carioca stepped up in a big way, providing necessary defensive cover for the attacking midfielders. He is also a very capable passer who distributes the ball quickly and accurately.

Central Midfield: Elias Hernandez-Leon

Hernandez has been in great form for a few seasons now but this campaign he really stepped it up when Leon needed him most. He is a true box-to-box midfielder and is just as comfortable going forward as he is tracking back to help the defense. This season he scored six goals and five of his passes led to goals. His play helped Leon make it to the Liguilla, where they gave Tigres a run for their money.

Central Midfield: Victor Guzman-Pachuca

The Apertura 2017 was a coming out party for Guzman. This young attacking midfielder won the starting spot and held onto it the whole season. He led Pachuca in scoring with 8 goals. He is a very quick player that is also capable of creating space for himself with his dribbling. If he maintains his high level of play, his talent will make him a star in Liga MX, and hopefully, he can catch the eye of European teams while he is still young.

Winger/Attacking Midfielder: Avilés Hurtado-Monterrey

His blazing speed and dribbling skills on the wings led to countless opportunities being created for himself and his teammates. Hurtado was the top goal scorer of the season, he scored 11 goals during the regular season and three in the liguilla. Even though he missed a decisive penalty in the final against Tigres, there is no denying his amazing season for Monterrey. His lone goal also helped Monterrey win the Copa MX.

Winger/Attacking Midfielder: Jonathan Urretaviscaya-Pachuca

When Hirving “Chucky” Lozano left for PSV, he left Pachuca with only one player who could make runs and take defending players head on, Jonathan Urretaviscaya. Urretaviscaya did not let the pressure get to him and finished the season with six assists. Along with Guzman, he was one of the few bright spots for Pachuca.

Striker: Mauro Boselli -Leon

By age 32, most players are starting to wind down their careers, have lost a step and can only contribute in short bursts. But Boselli has figured out a way to cheat time and aging. He was without a doubt the best striker/center forward in the Apertura 2017. His nine goals were the second highest of the season. Looking just at his goal scoring would be ignoring a lot of what he does on the field, though, as he has excellent holding up play. In addition, he knows how to drag defenders with him and create space for his teammates. Lastly, he is also a leader on the field. Boselli is essential to Leon, and if time and age do not catch up to him, he will continue to lead Leon’s attack for at least a few more seasons.

Coach: Ricardo “Tuca” Ferreti

This was a hard decision to make because Liga MX is very competitive and requires a lot from “tecnicos”. They are often the first to get blamed and the first out the door when a change has to be made. Lasting a more than a few seasons in the position is almost unheard of in this day and age. Regardless of the trends, Tuca has managed to stay on and brought a lot of stability to Tigres. The stability he has brought has also brought along plenty of success. Since his arrival, Tigres has won the league four times, the league cup once and the “campeon de campeones” once. Sure he has a very supportive board, dedicated fans, and primarily a lot of money to spend but so do many other coaches and they do not have the championships that he has. His success speaks for itself.