Here your five conclusions from the ninth week of play in the Liga MX Apertura
All even in Tijuana
On the day that Miguel Herrera made his return to the Estadio Caliente, Xolos de Tijuana and Club America played out to a 1-1 draw on Friday. As expected, it was an intense affair. For much of the evening it was Xolos de Tijuana’s Gustavo Bou who dominated the proceedings, displaying why he is one of the best signings of the season.
However, it was Club America who took the lead through Oribe Peralta in the 21st minute. Bou would go on to miss a penalty moments later, but Xolos de Tijuana eventually equalized through new signing Miller Bolaños.
While it wasn’t the high-scoring affair many would have liked, it is undeniable that these are two dangerous teams. Their ability to control the tempo and impose their style is what makes these two teams fun to watch. That said, perhaps this won’t be the only time these two teams face off this season. Hint, hint.
Cruz Azul train keeps rolling
When Paco Jemez was appointed Cruz Azul manager, reservations about his ability to succeed in Liga MX were a common thing. This was especially compounded by a first season that once again saw La Maquina fail to make the Liguilla. Fast forward to today, and at the very least, Jemez seems to have won over the players on his team and the fans that follow the club week in and week out.
On Saturday, Cruz Azul maintained their undefeated status by beating Santos Laguna 2-1. Cruz Azul have taken 15 points from their first nine matches and are currently sitting fourth in the league table. Optimism hasn’t been this high in La Noria for a while, and whether you like the “Jemez” way or not, credit has to be given for his ability to turn a club full of chaos into a decent team.
Monterrey continue to shine
As Monterrey continues to surge clear of the pack, the Rayados are showing no complacency as they escaped with a 2-1 draw on Saturday over Atlas. Substance wise, few teams have played as well as Monterrey this season. The gap is now six points at the top, and Monterrey continue to be the favorites to win it all. One wonders if all the rumors of a broken locker room last season, and the departures of Edwin Cardona and Walter Gargano have something to do with it. Nonetheless, Monterrey have found their winning groove and there seems to be no stopping them.
Leon revival continues
With Gustavo Diaz now at the helm of the club, Leon has issued a reminder as to why they had previously been one of the most consistent clubs in Liga MX. Leon had to endure a frustrating start to the season that saw coach Javier Torrente fired as manager of the club. Now with Diaz in charge, Leon seem to picking up important results, including a 3-1 win at home over Pachuca on Saturday. The Esmeraldas are on something of a small roll, winning thee straight games, two of which have been with Diaz on the bench.
Since Gustavo Matosas’ days at Leon, style has always been a key factor for Leon. In fact, there seems to be canny resemblance between Gustavo Diaz’s stlyle of play and Matosas’. For now, it remains to be seen if Diaz is just riding the new car smell, but after two weeks, he has had quite an impact in Guanajuato.
Guadalajara curse lives on for Pumas
Another game in Guadalajara and another winless result for Pumas UNAM. The Universitarios may have entered the second half with the lead, but as luck would have it, a golazo from 20-year-old Jesus Godinez rescued a point for the Tapatios to make it 35+ years now without a win for Pumas in Guadalajara.
Leaving Pumas’ curse aside, Chivas have a busy week ahead with Atlas in the Copa MX and Club America in the league. Chivas weren’t at their best, and this result has snuffed away some of the momentum Chivas were carrying from their win over Pachuca. It might seem like an over-exaggeration , but Chivas’ season could be on the line this upcoming week. Chivas can’t afford a Cup defeat to an Atlas team buried in crisis, and in the league, they need to start earning points fast.