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Liga MX Femenil recap - 2019 Apertura Week 1

A new-look Liga MX Femenil got back underway this past week. Here’s what happened.

Monterrey v Tigres UANL - Final Torneo Clausura 2019 Liga MX Femenil Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images

While not totally new and improved, the 2019 Apertura Liga MX Femenil does have two new teams, a slew of new players, and some improvements. Juárez and Atlético San Luis played their first ever Liga MX Femenil games with mixed results. And new rules saw the first ever Mexican-Americans play in the league and the demise of the old two group format in favor of a single table.

Necaxa 1, Cruz Azul 3: Necaxa and Cruz Azul got the 2019 Apertura underway in Aguascalientes on Friday, and Brenda Petroza would get the first goal of the season when she slipped past the Cruz Azul defense to hit a shot past Gabriela Herrera in the 15th minute. Unfortunately for Necaxa, Cruz Azul would dominate the rest of the game. In the 52nd minute, Fátima Alonso hit a cross into the box from the left wing and Itzel Cruz hit a blast that hit the underside of the bar and ricocheted in to draw the sides level. In the 61st minute, Alonso hit another cross into the box. Centellas goalkeeper Doris Meza misjudged the arc of the cross, and it fell at the feet of Alejandra Curiel for a relatively easy tap in. Three minutes later, Alonso would beat Meza to a through ball and poke it home to seal the victory for Cruz Azul.

UNAM Pumas 2, Tijuana 0: After a disappointing 2019 Clausura, Pumas looked to right the ship in their season opener against Xolos Femenil. They accomplished that, beating Tijuana by a score of 2-0. Patricia Jardón broke a scoreless deadlock in the 55th minute when she was able to take advantage of a defensive lapse on the Xolos Femenil back line and slot one past goalkeeper Itzel González. Edna Santamaria would add an insurance goal in the 82nd minute as the hosts picked up all three points on the day.

Puebla 0, Toluca 3: Toluca was very active during the offseason, and it paid dividends as they were able to defeat Puebla on the road by a convincing 3-0 score. New addition Karime Abud scored her first goal since October 2018 (coincidentally against Toluca while she was with UNAM Pumas) in the 42nd minute when Natalia Mauleon hit a fantastic pass forward out to Abud, who took a touch and hit it past goalkeeper Brissa Rangel. Just after the restart, Mauleon would make a run down the right and hit a shot at Rangel. Rangel made the save but gave up a big rebound, which Mauleon corralled and had the presence of mind to pass toward the penalty spot where an onrushing and unmarked Karen Berecil poked it home for Toluca’s second goal of the day. They’d tack on one more in the 73rd when Karla Saavedra picked up a loose ball in the box and hit a floating cross to a wide open Mariel Roman, who headed it in.

Morelia 0, Monterrey 1: Dinora Garza’s golazo in the 26th minute was the difference as in a 1-0 win by Rayadas over Monarcas Morelia. Garza found the ball at her feet about 25 yards out, took a touch, and unleashed a rocket into the top corner of the net. While one game is admittedly a small sample size, the result indicates a large change over last season for both teams. Monterrey’s high octane offense looks to have downshifted into a more balanced effort while Morelia was able to hold a still dangerous team to just one goal.

Veracruz 2, Querétaro 2: Veracruz got out to a two goal lead, but Querétaro fought hard to salvage a draw on the road. Daniela Osorio got things started for the home side in the 13th minute when Querétaro goalkeeper Natalia Acuña gave up a rebound on a long shot. Osorio was in the right place at the right time and easily put the ball into the back of the net. In the 58th minute, Liliana Hernández was played in on a fantastic through ball that split the defense. Hernández continued on in and caught Osorio wrong-footed to give the hosts a two goal lead. Ten minutes later though, the rally was on. Sofia Alvarez was played in on a great through ball and hit a one-time shot past goalkeeper Zitlalli Gazga to cut the lead in half. Then in the 77th minute, Karym Iturbe capitalized on a complete defensive breakdown by Veracruz and shot into an empty net.

León 1, Juárez 1: Any new team will have problems, and Juárez was no exception to that rule. In the 20th minute León’s Denisse Valdez hit a great cross into the box from the end line, but unfortunately for Juárez defender Bernice Anchondo headed the ball past goalkeeper Silvia Machuca for an autogol. It looked grim for the debutantes until the 83rd minute when Flor Rodríguez fought off a León defender, took a touch with her right foot and unleashed a shot with her left that kissed the underside of the bar on the way past goalkeeper Maricruz Gonzalez for the late equalizer.

Tigres UANL 2, Guadalajara 1: Tigres started their title defense with a solid win over a good Chivas team. In the 21st minute, a through ball found María Elizondo sprinting down the right side. Chivas goalkeeper Blanca Félix went way outside of the box to try and stop Elizondo, who passed centrally to a wide open Katty Martínez who easily shot the ball into the net. Belén Cruz would double the lead in the 33rd minute when she made a run in from the right. Cruz made a couple of stepovers that froze defender María Sánchez and hit a rocket that glanced in off of the underside of the bar. It was smooth sailing for Tigres until just before the clock struck 90’. Dania Pérez hit a curling free kick from distance that goalkeeper Ofelia Solís had a bead on, but Miriam Castillo slipped her defender and got her head onto the ball, redirecting it past Solís.

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Atlético San Luis 1, Atlas 6: While Juárez had a difficult start that was eventually redeemed in the first game, their co-debutantes Atlético San Luis fared much worse, being on the receiving end of a 6-1 thrashing by Atlas. In the 20th minute a cross from the left found the foot of an unmarked Alison González, who hit the ball past goalkeeper Cintia Monreal to open her 2019 Apertura account. She’d double that in the 38th minute when she slipped past the defense to get to a header from Karen García. Monreal came out to challenger her, but González hit a slow roller past everyone for her second goal of the evening. In the 50th minute, Areli Martínez got to a loose ball off of a corner kick and lifted it over Monreal for her first goal in her three seasons in Liga MX Femenil. Five minutes later, Monreal would play a lackadaisical pass out toward a defender on the restart. Alison González would pounce on that miscue and hit a shot into the net for her hat-trick. In the 65th Atlético was awarded a penalty, but the shot hit the post and goalkeeper Ana Gaby Paz pounded on the rebound. San Luis would finally get their first goal in the 72nd minute when Sharon Morales hit a rocket into the top of the net off of a throw in. That would be all for San Luis though, as in the 85th minute off of a free kick, Alison González got to the ball into the box and hit a body-contorting pass across to an unmarked Maritza Maldonado. Maldonado shot the ball into the top of the net past a diving Monreal for the fifth goal of the evening. In the 89th minute, Atlas would score their sixth and final goal of the evening when Adriana Iturbide hit a curling golazo from the right side of the pitch.

Santos Laguna 1, Pachuca 4: A strong start from Pachuca as they down Santos Laguna 4-1 on the road. Santos would strike first in the 10th minute when Alexxandra Ramírez converted a penalty. After that, it was all Pachuca. In the 34th minute, Lizbeth Ángeles split the defenders and hit a shot at goalkeeper Wendy Toledo. Toledo pushed it out, but Ángeles cleaned up her own rebound to draw the sides level. In the 53rd, Mónica Ocampo would be on the receiving end of a great pass over the top to the right wing. Ocampo made a run deep and hit a pass across the front of goal that Ángeles dummied on to Paola López who beat Toledo far post. In the 65th minute, Viridiana Salazar would hit a rocket from close range to make it 3-1. In the 80th minute Ocampo would put on a show, driving from right to left past a Santos defender faking a shot to make another miss, and then rifling one into the back of the net.

Bye week: América

Next week:

Friday, July 19:

Cruz Azul (1W 0D 0L, T-4th) vs. UNAM Pumas (1W 0D 0L, T-4th)

Querétaro (0W 1D 0L, T-8th) vs. León (0W 1D 0L, T-8th)

Juárez (0W 1D 0L, T-10th) vs. Santos Laguna (0W 0D 1L, T-17th)

Saturday, July 20:

Atlas (1W 0D 0L, 1st) vs. Monterrey (1W 0D 0L, 7th)

Monday, July 22:

Toluca (1W 0D 0L, 3rd) vs. Morelia (0W 0D 1L, 14th)

Guadalajara (0W 0D 1L, 13th) vs. Atlético San Luis (0W 0D 1L, 19th)

Pachuca (1W 0D 0L, 2nd) vs. Necaxa (0W 0D 1L, 15th)

América (0W 0D 0L, 12th) vs. Puebla (0W 0D 1L, 18th)

Tijuana (0W 0D 1L, 16th) vs. Veracruz (0W 1D 0L, T-8th)

Bye week: Tigres UANL (1W 0D 0L, 6th)