Here your five conclusions from the eleventh week of play in the Liga MX Clausura.
Santos fail to keep a lead...again!
Pretty simple stuff, you score a goal and you try not to concede at the other end. On more than one occasion, Santos Laguna have had the chance of winning a game after taking the lead, only to be denied in the form of an equalizer. It happened again on Friday when Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre’s men dropped two points at Tijuana thanks to a late Juan Martin Lucero equalizer.
The draw makes it an astounding seven league draws in 10 matches for Santos Laguna. With 13 points, the Guerreros find themselves 11th in the league table, and while they are far from a bad side, they will need to do more if they want find themselves back in a Liguilla position.
Monterrey are on fire
Don’t look now but Monterrey is quietly reaching the status of title contenders again. Antonio “Turco” Mohamed’s side has been on a tear recently, and following their 2-0 victory over Atlas on Saturday, they are now second in the league table, just one point shy of league leaders Chivas. If that weren’t enough, Rayados are also in the semifinals of the Copa MX, where coincidentally they will face Chivas for a spot in the final.
In total, Monterey has won eight of their last nine matches in all competitions. With the international break coming up, if they can manage to stay fit, there is no reason why Monterrey can’t finish among the top three in the league at the end of the regular season and fight for a chance at lifting the title.
Nightmare season for Leon
At the start of the season, Leon was being mentioned as one of the teams that could possibly win the league. But after 10 weeks played and only six points earned, it is safe to say that isn’t happening.
When Javier Torrente arrived in the middle of last season, Leon offered a unique threat. Among other things, Leon’s plan was based on a heavy emphasis on wing-play, where Elias Hernandez and company shined. This season, however, the Leon players have looked like frustrated figures. Their approach has turned predictable and teams have learned to nullified La Fiera. On Saturday, it was Toluca’s turn to get the best out of Leon, earning an exciting 3-2 victory over Torrente’s team.
While Torrente, a former assistant to Marcelo Bielsa, can be lauded as a man with great ideas, at the end of the day it is about winning games and getting the job done. With their season essentially over, it might be time to go back to the basics if Torrente wants to stay another season in Mexico.
For Chivas, scoring woes are no more.
It may seem hard to believe, but if you take a look at the goalscorers table you will find three Chivas players among the top scorers. Yup, the same Chivas criticized so much for not being able to finish off their chances. On Saturday, Matias Almeyda’s men were simply too strong for Veracruz, defeating the Tiburones Rojos 2-0. Alan Pulido scored the opener, and youngster Angel Zaldivar added a second.
With the goals, Pulido and Zaldivar are now tied with Rodolfo Pizarro as the team’s leading goalscorers with four, only Dorlan Pabon and Nicolas Castillo have more in Liga MX with five an six respectively. Chivas are starting to meet their expectations offensively, and in particular, Pulido is stepping up to the mark. With the goals stacking up, so are the points as the Rebaño Sagrado remains top of the league for another week.
Club America knock down Pumas in Clasico Capitalino
After beating Pumas UNAM 3-2 in the Clasico Capitalino, Club America midfielder Jose Daniel “Chepe” Guerrero tweeted a picture saying “los Clasicos se ganan”. Perhaps that best describes their win over the universitarios on Sunday. There is an art to winning Clasicos. There is never an ugly way of winning them. You just have to win them. You can ask this same Club America team, who has defeated their arch-rivals Chivas twice in the last two quarterfinals .
One can even argue that Pumas, bad defending and all, can be praised for their attacking football, but sometimes you have to do the simple stuff. Club America did that and they were ruthlessly efficient.
This was a nerveless display from the azulcremas, specially considering the amount of injuries the team has and the one year suspension to Pablo Aguilar. Coach Ricardo La Volpe has received his fair share of criticism in the past but can breathe a sigh of relief ahead of the international break.