Here are your five conclusions from the eighth week of play in the 2019 Liga MX Clausura.
Roberto Hernandez out as Morelia manager
Another manager has lost his job as Roberto Hernandez was given his marching orders following his team’s 3-0 thumping at the hands of Querétaro. It was another humiliating performance from the Purepechas, who have now lost four straight and are just one point above last place.
Hernandez did a remarkable job a few seasons ago of reviving a Morelia team flirting with relegation, but a lack of real investment on the club, more than anything, can be credited for Hernandez’s recent failures. At the same time, the team has been horrendous at home, where they have lost five of their last six. and their scoring record since Raul Ruidiaz’s departure has been abysmal.
Of course, there is a chance the change of manager leads to an upturn in results, but Morelia’s season is looking like a lost cause.
Nico Castillo activated
Nico Castillo produced his first brace as a Club América player, leading Las Águilas to a 3-0 victory over Lobos BUAP on Saturday.
The Chilean, whose early struggles with América threatened to add an extra layer of pressure to the defending champions, was instrumental in giving Las Águilas all three points. His two goals helped América’ break with a two-game losing streak and put them back in a Liguilla position in eighth place.
Whether Castillo can put up a similar performance against the better teams in the league remains to be seen, but he is exactly the reason why Club América paid Benfica big bucks to bring him back to Liga MX. For some time now, Miguel Herrera had been bemoaning the lack of a real striker in his squad and now he has one, making Las Águilas an even more dangerous team.
Chivas’ return to mediocrity
Following defeat to Pachuca, Chivas are officially trending down again. Jose Saturnino Cardozo’s men are in a bit of a slump right now, winning just once in their last six across all competitions, and after starting the season winning their first three away from the Estadio Akron, wins away from home have no longer been a guarantee for the Rebaño.
While the stumble to Pachuca highlights a lot of Chivas’ problems, a lack of consistency has been a constant through the course of the last few seasons. To their credit, they are still fifth in the league table with 15 points, but without more coherent performances in the future, their arrow will continue to point down.
León give Bruno Marioni his first defeat
Club León are playing with the air of a team with a point to prove in this Clausura. On Sunday, La Fiera went into the middle of Mexico City and gave Pumas UNAM their first defeat since naming Bruno Marioni their manager.
Not only are León the hottest team in Mexico right now, but suddenly, Ignacio Ambriz has positioned himself as an advocate for attacking football. A manager that has always been known for his overly-defensive tactics, only Monterrey has scored more goals this season than his León team.
León look like the real deal.
Cristante on counted days with Toluca
Toluca remained poor on Sunday as they dropped their fifth defeat in their last six games with a 4-0 loss to Santos Laguna. In theory, this is one of the best Toluca squads assembled in recent tournaments, which is why coach Hernan Cristante deserves more than his fair share of criticism for the way his team has been performing through the last few weeks. The players themselves have looked out of it, and rumor has it that Cristante will likely be replaced by the end of the week. The names of Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre and Ricardo LaVolpe keep floating around, but for now, the Diablos Rojos are tasked with overturning a 3-0 deficit to Sporting Kansas City in the CONCACAF Champions League, something that is looking increasingly unlikely to happen with the way they’ve been playing.