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Four Takeaways from Pumas UNAM’s win over Veracruz

Pumas beat Veracruz 2-0 in the first game of the season

America v Pumas UNAM - Playoffs Torneo Clausura 2018 Liga MX Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images

Liga MX started on Friday with Pumas getting a 2-0 victory away at Veracruz. Chilean Felipe Mora scored the first Liga MX goal with a header off a corner kick. Later, Pablo Barrera scored the first goal for a Mexican player from the penalty spot just before halftime. The penalty came from a Carlos Gonzalez opportunity where he was dropped. The win is a great start for Pumas and some conclusions can be taken from the game.

- Individually Pumas won’t replace Nico Castillo but collectively it can. Pumas lost their best player in Nico Castillo, who went to Benfica. While Castillo is a great player, Pumas made the best to replace him. For what was shown the season before and in this game, Carlos Gonzalez and Felipe Mora are not as good as Castillo. Still, both coming can be a replacement for his amount of goals. While the Castillo and Alustiza tandem was great, Gonzalez and Mora can be close to them, and Alustiza still being there means that the quantity of goals can be too, even when none of them can be as dangerous individually as Nico was.

-Alfredo Saldivar might be safe as Pumas’ goalkeeper. One of the few signing that made a wave in Pumas was them getting Miguel Fraga from Morelia. The goalkeeper signing came after a poor performance from Saldivar in the Liguilla and it had many people talking about Fraga getting the nod as a starter. Yet in the 1st game, Saldivar kept his staring spot and he had a good game. With Copa MX action, it seems that Fraga might get his spot in the Copa MX while Saldivar keeps his Liga MX spot.

- Pumas’ defense might not be up to par. While there were key signings like Mora, Gonzalez, Victor Malcorra and Martin Rodriguez, they were all on the offense. Pumas lost Luis Fuentes and Jose Van Rankin, and while their last season wasn’t the best (especially Fuentes). Pumas didn’t get any replacements. Today they went with Alan Mendoza and Alan Mozo. Mozo is a young player that will get a chance, but Mendoza hasn’t shown to be an upgrade over the two players. Worse is that Luis Quintana kept his spot after a disappointing season. They did alright on Friday but at times showed this is definitely the weak part of the team.

- Pumas fans will cause trouble. Of the big news outside the field was the fact that before the game started, there already was the first major clash between fans. Pumas and Veracruz fans raged in the street prior to the game. Veracruz fans have a terrible recent history, especially in games like the one in 2017 against Tigres, but Pumas fans are even more notorious. It’s a bad sign that before the first game, as Pumas fans already showed that their reputation is earned.