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Liga MX Femenil recap: 2020 Apertura, Week 5

Let’s hear it for the goalkeepers!

Pumas UNAM v Puebla - Torneo Guard1anes 2020 Liga MX Femenil Photo by Alan Espinosa/Getty Images

While most weeks I get to tout the goalscorers, praising stunning free kicks and worldies from the run of play alike, this week was all about the goalkeepers. Fantastic saves were plentiful this week, with the ultimate match of the week being a thriller of a duel between Wendy Toledo of Santos Laguna and Blanca Félix of Chivas.

Atlas 2, Club Tijuana 1: Tijuana got out to an early lead thanks to a Valeria Barajas goal off of a corner kick, but it was Atlas getting all three points on the day in a 2-1 win. Atlas was awarded a penalty in the 29th when Britany Hernández took down Joana Robles in the box. Fabiola Ibarra however pushed her shot wide of the net in a rare miss from the spot for her. On the ensuing goal kick however Hernández turned the ball over in the box to Robles, who left it for Vanessa González, who was able to beat Itzel González at close range for the equalizer. Then in the 40th María Pérez hit a free kick along the turf that evaded the wall and a diving González to give Atlas the 2-1 win.

Cruz Azul 1, Tigres UANL 1: It’s been fun watching the ascendance of Cruz Azul, and they proved their mettle by getting a hard fought draw against Tigres in Jasso on Friday. Tigres goalkeeper Ofelia Solís put her team in a position to get something from the match, making a series of unbelievable saves. She was unable however to stop a long range bomb from Brenda León in the 15th minute, Solís’ only blemish of the afternoon. Solís made a fantastic stop on a point-blank shot from Susana Romero in the 34th minute, while at the other end Karla Morales also was called to make some acrobatic saves for her team. Morales made a good stop on a Stephany Mayor shot in the 38th minute. Solís then upped the ante in the 63rd when she stopped a penalty by Paola González. This decidedly shifted momentum toward the visitors, with Tigres getting great chances and knocking one in in the 68th although it was ruled that Belén Cruz played the ball in an offside position and it was called back. After Rebeca Villuendas was sent off in the 86th, Tigres scored off of a free kick when Mayor got to a loose ball and somehow knocked it past multiple defenders and Morales to get a point.

Mazatlán FC 0, Gallos Blancos de Querétaro 3: Mazatlán held their own until the 52nd minute when a lackadaisical pass forward from goalkeeper Mariana Zárraga went to Mayra Ríos, who chipped Zárraga to give Querétaro the lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Three minutes later Ríos would score again, this time getting to the rebound of a free kick and hitting a shot from about 20 yards out that Zárraga got a fingertip onto. Then in the 87th it was another Mayra - Santana this time - who hit a beautiful free kick that kissed off of the post before going into the back of the net.

UNAM Pumas 1, Puebla F.C. 0: Another match where both goalkeepers stood on their heads to give their teams a chance. Melany Villeda of Pumas and Brissa Rangel of Puebla kept things even throughout most of the match with a string of great saves, but Villeda and Pumas would prevail when in the 82nd minute Edna Santamaría was able to float a header up and over Rangel to get the game’s lone goal.

FC Juárez 1, Necaxa 0: Cindy Caro was the hero, scoring her first Liga MX Femenil goal to give Juárez their first win of the season. Caro hit a volley in the 47th minute that beat Montserrat González for the game’s lone score. Necaxa are now on a run of seven straight losses going back to last season.

Monterrey 3, Club Atlético de San Luis 1: Another solid win for Rayadas as they continue on their unbeaten and untied streak. Daniela Solís started the scoring for Monterrey in the 10th minute when she got her head onto a Dinora Garza free kick from the left side of the box. Garza got a goal of her own in the 28th on a header that was swung in from the right wing by Diana Evangelista. Atleti drew one back in the 58th when Daniela Carrandi hit a perfectly placed shot into the top corner of the net past a diving Alejandría Godínez. Christina Burkenroad would seal the deal for Rayadas though in the 75th when she was left unattended in the box and got a great square ball in from Evangelista, easily knocking it past Heidi González.

Toluca 2, Pachuca 1: Pachuca started strong but Toluca finished stronger, taking all three points at home 2-1. Viridiana Salazar got her 50th career goal in the 11th minute when she got a touch on a free kick to tip it past Dayan Téllez. Karla Martínez evened the score though just seven minutes later when Silvia Machuca punched out a corner kick that went straight to the open Martínez, who headed it into an almost empty net. Captain Yamanic Martínez got what would be the game winner when she got a header off of a corner kick in the 38th minute. Both Téllez and Machuca made good saves throughout to keep their teams in the match, but ultimately Toluca was too strong for Tuzos Femenil.

León 1, América 2: América stays perfect through five games, downing León 2-1 at the Nou Camp. Selene Valera put the visitors up in the eighth minute when she was able to head a corner kick past Itzayana González. América goalkeeper Jaidy Gutiérrez had a busy day, making several difficult saves to keep her team in it. In the 25th, Claudia Cid inexplicably gave the ball to Marlyn Campa in the box and Campa wasted no time in hitting a shot past González. González to her credit also made several good saves in the game to keep it from being a blowout, and getting a little luck along the way as Daniela Espinosa hit the post on a penalty shot in the 68th minute. Ultimately though León couldn’t solve Gutiérrez, as the lone goal for La Fiera came on an own goal in the 81st Mónica Rodríguez knocked a Lucero Cuevas cross into her own net. But this was too little, too late and América took all three points on the day.

Santos Laguna 0, Guadalajara 0: This match was a goalkeeping clinic, put on by Santos Laguna’s Wendy Toledo and Chivas’ Blanca Félix. The two women stole the spotlight, each making incredible saves throughout the evening including Toledo stoning Alicia “Licha” Cervantes on a penalty kick in the 65th minute. Santos got their fifth consecutive result against Chivas, as the last time El Rebaño Sagrado won against Las Guerreras was back in October 2018.

This week:

Wednesday, September 16:

Club Tijuana (0W 0D 5) vs. Gallos Blancos de Querétaro (1W 2D 2L)

Thursday, September 17:

Mazatlán FC (1W 0D 4L) vs. Toluca (1W 1D 3L)

FC Juárez (1W 1D 3L) vs. Monterrey (5W 0D 0L) - 11:55 AM Eastern / 8:55 AM Pacific (TUDN)

Puebla F.C. (2W 0D 3L) vs. León (2W 0D 3L)

Necaxa (0W 0D 5L) vs. Atlas (3W 1D 1L)

Tigres UANL (4W 1D 0L) vs. Club Atlético de San Luis (2W 0D 3L) - 7:55 PM Eastern / 4:55 PM Pacific (TUDN)

Guadalajara (4W 1D 0L) vs. Cruz Azul (1W 2D 2L)

Pachuca (3W 1D 1L) vs. UNAM Pumas (3W 1D 1L)

Friday, September 18:

América (5W 0D 0L) vs. Santos Laguna (1W 1D 3L) - 4:55 PM Eastern / 1:55 PM Pacific (TUDN)