Here are some of the main takeaways from the eleventh and twelfth week of play in the 2019 Liga MX Apertura.
Puebla’s perfect week
Let’s be honest. After parting ways with Jose Luis Sanchez Sola aka “El Chelis”, the only way Puebla was going to go was up. La Franja had arguably their best week in recent memory as they finished with a perfect two wins in two matches following victories over Tigres and Club León.
You are blatantly lying if you had Puebla beating Tigres and León in back to back games. Even after the managerial switch, La Franja were struggling to put points on the board, and the fact that they did it against both of last season’s Liga MX finalists was a surprise to everybody.
The problem is the win did very little to help Puebla climb up the league table. Despite both wins, La Franja is still 16th in the standing with only 12 points, five points away from eighth place Puebla.
Cruz Azul’s season looks in trouble
Remember how winning the Leagues Cup was supposed to serve as a catalyst for Cruz Azul? Well, it hasn’t. La Máquina went winless this week, drawing with Monterrey and losing 2-0 to Pachuca.
La Máquina have now gone seven straight Liga MX games without a win, and with only 13 points earned from 12 matches, their season hangs dangerously in the balance.
Perhaps worse of all, this doesn’t seem to be what the Cruz Azul board envisioned when they decided to let go of Pedro Caixinha, and current manager Robert Siboldi already seems to look a bit confrontational with all the criticism his team is receiving. Following the match against Pachuca, Siboldi made it seem like not making the Liguilla would not be the end of the world, which is not what you want to hear from a team that hasn’t won a title since 1997.
Rayados under pressure after Clásico Regio defeat
Let’s just say it how it is. Another Clásico Regio, another snoozefest. For years, sectors of Mexican media have been selling the Clásico Regio as the next best thing since sliced bread, and if we are being truthful, that couldn’t be farther way from the truth. On Saturday, Tigres got a deserved 2-0 win over Rayados, and unless you have a thing for watching paint dry, there wasn’t really much to talk about.
The real talking points came after the match. With the defeat, Monterey have now lost four of their last seven matches, and rumor has it that Diego Alonso is officially in the hot seat. Los Rayados have been an inconsistent mess through the course of the Apertura, and it’s not entirely a surprise to see the Uruguayan face some sort of pressure. With a team of this kind of budget, you can’t be sitting on six defeats in 12 matches. In fact, the only one team has more defeats than Monterrey this season is the mighty Tiburones Rojos de Veracruz.
Update: Aaaaaaaaand he is gone. Diego Alonso was fired on Monday morning.
Chivas embarrass themselves in the Clásico Nacional
If there is one thing Chivas have been consistent about in recent seasons is how to be a consistent mess. After losing 4-2 to Pachuca on Tuesday, Chivas finally decided to take the decision of firing manager Tomas Boy, bringing on Luis Fernando Tena as his replacement. Everything was fine and dandy except for the fact that they did this just three days before the Clásico Nacional!
As expected, Chivas got clobbered by Las Águilas, and everything about the team’s dysfunctionality was at full display at the Estadio Azteca. From the way they conceded the first goal to the criminous tackle from Antonio Briseño that sent Giovani dos Santos to the hospital. Sure, you can say Alan Pulido gave the team some hope in the second half, but at the end of the day, Chivas were thoroughly outplayed and deserved to lose.
It’s hard to blame Luis Fernando Tena for this one given how he had literally just hours with the team, but it would also be foolish to think he can somehow save the club. Chivas’ problems run deeper than the product they put on the field, and until they can find some sort of consistency in their front-office decision making, this will remain a team far away from fulfilling their real potential.
América once again look headed towards the right path
Obviously, a lot of what Club América accomplished was overshadowed by Giovani dos Santos’s unfortunate injury, but all things considered, Las Águilas put in a performance América fans can be proud of.
Yes, an argument can be made that “it was just Chivas”, but América could have easily succumbed to their own pressures, especially after conceding that early second half goal. What’s more it was refreshing to see 22-year-old Sebastian Cordova take the charge and score América’s first two goals. For a team that has struggled with injures throughout the season, Cordova has stepped up big on a regular basis, and here, he notched arguably the two biggest goals of his young career.
Looking forward for América now, Miguel Herrera seems to be getting several of his players back to full fitness, and beyond the boost in morale this win will provide, the overall sensation is América are headed towards the right path again.