Here are your five conclusions from the second week of play in the 2019 Liga MX Clausura.
Club América make their triumphant debut
It was business as usual for Las Águilas as they started their 2019 Liga MX Clausura with a 2-1 win over Atlas at the Estadio Jalisco. Credit must go to Atlas for giving América a scare late in the game, but after taking Week 1 off to celebrate the 2018 Apertura title with their fans, Miguel Herrera’s men went back to where they left off last season.
Much of the run-up to this match centered on Diego Lainez’s departure to Real Betis, but while the youngster played a notable part in last season’s Liguilla, in many respects it’s not like Las Águilas need him. América have looked near impossible to beat in recent months, and though you’d expect them to regress at some point this season, they aren’t going away any time soon.
By the way, if you are doing the math. That is now 18 straight Liga MX matches without a defeat for América.
Will the real Monterrey stand up?
Giving up late leads was Monterrey’s trademark last season, and on Saturday, they suffered their first collapse of the season, allowing León to come from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw at the Estadio BBVA Bancomer.
Just when you thought Monterrey were going to come into this Clausura playing lights out, this happens. In the context of last week when Monterrey thumped Pachuca 5-0 and showed their most clinical side, their inability to put this game away really cost Diego Alonso’s team once again.
Although it wasn’t a particularly terrible performance from Los Rayados, we have seen this story time and time again. Monterrey take a lead and somehow find a way to concede late on to drop points at home. Overall, it could be early season wobbles, but perhaps it’s a symptom of something else? Time will tell.
Chivas stay perfect against struggling Cruz Azul
Evidently, Cruz Azul still harbor some pain from last season’s Liga MX final defeat to rivals Club América and have struggled to get going in this Clausura. Over the weekend, La Máquina battled away but ultimately came short, falling 1-0 in Week 2’s marquee matchup against Chivas.
The opening exchanges of this match hinted at a close affair, and we got exactly that, with Ronaldo Cisneros scoring the only goal of the match in the 79th minute. The decisive goal in the game came from a shot-cross from Carlos Cisneros that fell into the path of the 22-year-old Ronaldo, who cleverly finished past Jose de Jesus Corona to send the majority Chivas crowd at the Azteca into a frenzy.
For Chivas, their start of the season has been superb. That’s two wins in two games, and seemingly out of nowhere, the team is playing some of its best fútbol in months. Whether this will last is open to your own interpretation, but for now, they are one of the early feel-good stories of the season, granted you are not an Atlas or América fan.
Tigres spring to life in Tijuana
Tigres put in a fantastic second half performance to earn their first victory of the 2019 Liga MX Clausura, defeating Xolos de Tijuana 3-0. Los Felinos are notoriously slow starters, but they wasted no time in the border, scoring all three of their goals in the second period to clinch a surprisingly early-season win away from home. Andre-Pierre Gignac’s goal was the cream of the crop, cutting in on his right foot and sending his shot masterfully past the diving Gibran Lajud to put the score at 2-0.
If you are to believe Vegas, oddsmakers currently have Tigres as the second favorites to win the title just behind Club América, but as Tigres have shown plenty of times, with Gignac in your team any odds are good odds.
Disappointing start to the season continues for Pumas
While last season was a notable one for the Universitarios, their embarrassing defeat to Las Águilas now looms larger after a woeful start to their season. The sight of Pumas UNAM getting hammered by América in the 2018 Liga MX Apertura Semifinals heaped deserved skepticism over the real level of play of the team under David Patiño, and Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Necaxa was another perfect illustration.
Patiño’s approach was no different, one that is definitely not a winning formula for a team known for its never-say-die attitude. They were clearly outplayed by Necaxa, and their best chance of winning came simply because of Los Rayos’s tendency to sit back early.
It’s only Week 2, but Pumas fans now have to ask themselves if the team has made any real progress lately. At this point, the Universitarios look like a big fluke, and more questions have to be asked about Patiño.