Week 2 of the Liga MX 2020 Clausura season finally saw all 18 teams in action over the weekend. Here are the biggest storylines of Week 2:
Juarez-Pumas, Toluca-Necaxa play thrillers:
The weekend’s festivities began on Thursday for the first time as Juarez hosted Pumas UNAM. Defenses decided to stay home for that match as the borderland club and Los Universitarios played to a 4-4 offensive showdown. Paraguayan international Dario Lezcano scored a brace for Juarez and winter signing Brian Rubio added one more on his debut, while four different players found the back of the net for Pumas.
Three days later, the most entertaining game of the weekend went down at the Estadio Nemesio Diez. Offenses were firing from the first minute and tremendous saves from both Alfredo Talavera and Hugo Gonzalez were needed for the scoreline to stay 3-2 in favor of Necaxa. Last season’s joint-top scorer Mauro Quiroga picked up right where he left off and scored a brace while Leo Fernandez tore up Los Rayos’ defense for Toluca in the minutes he was on the field.
America take down Tigres, Chivas-Pachuca draw in stalemates
The most anticipated matchups of the weekend disappointed in terms of excitement. First, the invigorated Chivas squad couldn’t break down Pachuca at Los Tuzos’ house and actually let Paulo Pezzolano’s men direct the flow of the game. No harm was done between the teams and both rosters went to the locker rooms with one point each.
Chivas coach Luis Fernando Tena, specifically, was criticized for not starting any (excluding J.J. Macias) of Chivas’ new, young signings for the second-straight game in favor of veteran players like Isaac Brizuela, Alexis Vega, Jesus Molina and Miguel Ponce.
Later that same Saturday, Club America made its Clausura 2020 debut against Tigres, a rival Los Azulcremas know all too well. With its roster severely depleted due to injures, departures or winter signings not arriving yet, Club America still squeaked out a 1-0 win over a lackluster Tigres squad via a Henry Martin goal in the 69th minute. Heavily criticized former Mexico international Giovani dos Santos got the assist as he started up front with Martin for the first time in his America tenure due to necessity. A gloomy game from Tigres and a honorable performance for an America without key players.
VAR and penalties steal show in Monterrey-Morelia, Santos-Leon
You always want the focal point of any game to be the football being played on the pitch. Unfortunately, with VAR now in leagues around the world, sometimes the controversial technology can steal headlines. In Monterrey, the reigning Liga MX champions needed two VAR-confirmed penalties to tie with Morelia. In addition, a first-half goal from Rodrigo Millar was cancelled by the VAR in favor of calling a questionable foul against Morelia’s Martin Rodriguez prior to the goal.
After the game, Morelia coach Pablo Guede stated that he agreed that a penalty was called on his player, Candido Ramirez, for touching the ball with his hand, but mentioned that a similar play was not called last week against Toluca in favor of Morelia.
“I don’t want that to be an excuse,” Guede said. “But that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Why is it easy for fouls to be called on us but the same thing doesn’t happen when that same foul is against us?”
At the Estadio Corona, Leon fans also suffered. Two penalties, one of which had to be confirmed by VAR, were given to Santos Laguna in the first half. Leon was then gifted a spot kick themselves later on in the second half before a late Octavio Rivero goal awarded the three points to Los Guerreros.
Santos Laguna won a 5-goal thriller vs Club Leon that involved plenty of penalty and VAR drama. pic.twitter.com/55av14yEJV— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) January 20, 2020
Goal of the Week:
Aldo Rocha, Monarcas Morelia
Week 2 gave us several screamers to pick from. Special shout out to Toluca’s Leo Fernandez, Cruz Azul’s Jonathan Rodriguez and Queretaro’s Marcel Ruiz for their goals this week, but they just can’t beat an overhead kick. Not many things can beat an overhead kick.
Hey, check out this overhead kick.
Player of the Week:
Brian Lozano, Santos Laguna
Santos Laguna fended off interest this offseason from MLS clubs who inquired about Lozano’s services and good on them. The Uruguayan’s quick runs and insane dribbling abilities contributed to the Santos winger giving the game-winning assist and scoring a penalty in a win against Leon. He also won both of his team’s penalties (whether you want to call those penalties or not) and added four accurate crosses, four accurate long balls and two key passes this weekend.
You can follow Antonio on Twitter @antonio1998__