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Liga MX Femenil recap: 2020 Apertura, Week 4

There were some dominant wins and some close calls this week for the top four teams.

Santos Laguna v Atlas - Liga MX Femenil Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

Another week in the books and the same four teams (Chivas, Tigres, América, and Rayadas) are still perfect, with only Rayadas getting a bit of a scare against a resurgent Cruz Azul team. They’re better than their record suggests, and teams would do well to treat them as a serious threat.

UNAM Pumas 0, Santos Laguna 1: The make up game from the Week 1 match that was postponed was nothing if not dramatic. The teams were fairly even throughout, with Santos goalkeeper Wendy Toledo making several breathtaking saves throughout the match to get her first clean sheet of the season. It wasn’t without controversy though as in the 83rd minute Isela Osorio went in hard against Jaquelín García in the box. García hit the turf hard and remained down for a couple of minutes, however no foul was called and since there’s no VAR the play was left to stand. Then as the clock eclipsed the 90 minute mark, Santos was awarded a free kick from just outside of the Pumas area. Cinthya Peraza executed a flawless free kick to give Santos their first win of the season. After the final whistle, Pumas coach Yleana Dávila had a few choice thoughts for referee Itzel Hernández, earning her a red card.

América 6, Necaxa 1: A thrashing from the first whistle, literally. On the opening whistle, América went down the field, a centering pass went to Casandra Cuevas. Her initial shot was blocked but she was able to corral it and fire a shot past Montserrat González just 20 seconds in. In the second minute América got their second on a counterattack when Montserrat Hernández took a pass down the left flank and then as she ran out of space toward the end line hit a perfect cut-back pass to a wide open Janae González. González’ tap-in was the first goal of her career in Liga MX Femenil. Hernández would get her first goal of the season in the fifth minute when Mónica Rodríguez made a great play to run down a ball on the right flank. She hit a cross on the ground that Dani Espinosa played a perfect dummy on, allowing Hernández to knock the ball into the net. Espinosa’s generosity was rewarded in the 37th minute when she converted a penalty after a handball in the box. América would get another before the end of the half when Cuevas got on the end of a corner kick and bounced one into the back of the net. To her credit, Montserrat González made several saves in the first half to keep the score from getting even further out of hand, but América was just too much. Cuevas completed her hat trick in the 52nd minute when a shot inside of the box took a deflection off of Karen De León and went in to make it 6-0. To Necaxa’s credit they didn’t quit, and in the 67th minute a poor pass back was picked off by Estefany Ramírez, who beat Jaidy Gutiérrez to the ball and went around the prone goalkeeper before coolly slotting the ball home. The damage had long been done though and América easily took home all three points on the afternoon.

Cruz Azul 1, Monterrey 2: A good game from both teams that could have gone either way. Cruz Azul goalkeeper Karla Morales was busy to start the match, making some great saves and at one point being bailed out by Paola González clearing the ball off of the foot of a Rayados attacker on the goal line. But Morales couldn’t stop them all, and in the 28th minute Christina Burkenroad got her head on a great cross in from Mónica Flores and Morales could only get a fingertip on it as Burkenroad notched her third goal of the season. Cruz Azul had a golden opportunity to draw level at the end of the first half as Susana Romero was played in one-on-one with Alejandría Godínez. Romero forced Godínez down onto the turf and went around her, but Ricla Rajunov was able to get back and pressure Romero, forcing her to shoot while off-balance and resulting in the shot missing the target by quite a bit. Karime Abud had a good run in on goal in the 53rd but Godínez stood her ground and made the save on the shot. Rayadas would tack on another goal in the 56th when Rajunov played a great ball in that Dani Solís was able to get a head on and re-direct in. But Cruz Azul wasn’t done just yet. Abud drew one back in the 66th minute thanks to a great ball forward from Jessica Tenorio to get her past the defense and allowing her space to shoot. But try as they might for an equalizer, Rayadas held fast and came away with a win on the road.

Gallos Blancos de Querétaro 0, UNAM Pumas 3: It would have been easy for Pumas to fold after a short week and with Yleana Dávila being out thanks to the red card picked up at the end of the Santos match, but they persisted and picked up all three points against Querétaro. It was a fairly dull match and looked like it was destined as a 0-0 draw until the 80th minute when Paola Chavero converted a penalty. Chavero notched another in the 87th when she got onto the end of a cross from Liliana Rodríguez and knocked it in past Diana García. Then as the clock approached the 90 minute mark, Anisa Guajardo got a great ball over the top and fired past García to complete the day’s work for Pumas.

Tigres UANL 6, Club Tijuana 1: It was never going to be easy for Tijuana, and Tigres proved why they’re always in the conversation of favorites to win the league. Tijuana was the first to score, when Karen Hernández hit a shot from about 25 yards out that caught Alejandra Gutiérrez off her line. Tigres came roaring back though. Stephany Mayor equalized just four minutes later when she made a run from deep, blew through the Tijuana defense, and hit a shot that beat Itzel González far post. Natalia Villarreal got the lead for good in the 20th minute when she hit a corner kick along the ground with a powerful shot. Liliana Mercado would add one more before the halftime break when she executed a free kick from about 20 yards out perfectly in the 40th minute. After the half, it was Katty Martínez who continued the scoring. “Killer” got her fifth goal of the season in the 62nd minute when she converted a penalty and then got her sixth with a ridiculous volley off of a cross from Villarreal. Then as time expired Tigres broke down field one more time and Mayor had a shot that González stopped. Unfortunately for the visitors the rebound fell to Natalia Gómez Junco, and the former LSU Tiger smashed a shot into the back of the net. After the game, Xolos manager Franky Oviedo apologized and said he would “talk to the board and if it’s for the best he would step aside,” according to Ivonne Almaraz.

Puebla F.C. 2, Toluca 0: A solid win by Puebla that was overshadowed by a cheap shot by goalkeeper Sandra Lozano. In the 18th minute a ball was sent into the box that Lozano grabbed, and as she rushed out to kick the ball she inexplicably threw a forearm at Mariam Castro, catching her square in the jaw. Referee Katia García immediately blew the whistle and showed Lozano a very gracious yellow card and awarded a penalty. María López stepped up and converted to give Puebla the lead. The game got pretty ugly, with the teams picking up six yellow cards between them. Puebla would get their second goal in the 77th minute when Diana Anguiano split the defense and fired a shot past Lozano.

Club Atlético de San Luis 0, Pachuca 2: San Luis continues to improve, but it wasn’t quite enough as Pachuca took all three points. A mistake by Paola Urbieta allowed Blanky Serrano to get an uncontested shot from six yards out in the 25th minute. Minutes later Viridiana Salazar got perhaps her best chance of the afternoon when she hit a shot that rang off of the near post. Pachuca would get a second though in the 34th minute when Sofie Martínez got a touch on a cross to beat goalkeeper Heidi González, who made her second consecutive start for Atleti.

Guadalajara 5, Mazatlán FC 0: Chivas continued their dominant run of form and Alicia Cervantes continued her push for player of the season with a 5-0 win over Mazatlán. Cervantes converted a penalty in the 10th minute to put the hosts on the board. Cervantes almost doubled her total in the 17th minute with a shot that whistled just wide of the far post. Chivas got their second in the 22nd when an unmarked Norma Palafox hit a volley off of a great cross into the box from María Sánchez. Cervantes had her second in the 25th when she got her head onto another fantastic cross from the left wing from Sánchez. Cervantes had her hat trick before the end of the first half when Carolina Jaromillo hit a cross in from the left that “Licha” tapped into the back of the net. Chivas got a fifth in the 65th minute when a free kick was sent in and Mazatlán tried to use the offside trap but Chivas played it perfectly. Carolina Jaromillo was able to race in and get a touch on the ball, and even though she was wiped out by goalkeeper Mariana Zárraga, the ball trickled on frame and over the line. Cervantes almost had a fourth when she went in one-on-one in the 78th minute but her shot hit off of the post and deflected out of harm’s way.

León 1, FC Juárez 0: Sonia Vázquez got the lone goal for León when she got to a free kick and poked it home past Alondra Ubaldo in the sixth minute. The result pushed León into the eighth spot on the table, while Juárez sits in 16th, above Tijuana and Necaxa.

Santos Laguna 0, Atlas 3: Santos got bailed out by goalkeeper Wendy Toledo several times early on, and Fer Limón hit the crossbar with a shot in the seventh minute. Santos had shouts for a penalty go unheard in the 13th when Alexxandra Ramírez was tackled in the box by Karen García but no call was made. Then less than a minute later Estela “Paleta” Gómez hit a shot that beat goalkeeper Ana Gaby Paz but smashed off of the far post and out of danger. This would be crucial because in the 16th Atlas took the lead when Alison González hit a shot from the right side that beat Toledo to make it 1-0. Then in the 30th minute Katia Estrada brought González down hard in the box and a penalty was awarded. Fabiola Ibarra converted from the spot and Atlas was up 2-0. Atlas would complete the scoring in the 55th minute when Fabiola Ibarra made a great run forward and hit a shot that Toledo made a solid stop on, but unfortunately for the home team the rebound went straight to the feet of Adriana “Boyi” Iturbide. Boyi’s shot from about eight yards out was her second goal of the tournament. Santos had a good opportunity to pull one back in the 60th minute, but Cinthya Peraza’s header went just over the bar. Alison González almost got a second goal in the 77th when she hit a shot off of the far post.

Next week:

Thursday, September 10:

Atlas (2W 1D 1L) vs. Tijuana (0W 0D 4L)

Friday, September 11:

Cruz Azul (1W 1D 2L) vs. Tigres UANL (4W 0D 0L) - 4:55 PM Eastern / 1:55 PM Pacific (TUDN)

Saturday, September 12:

Mazatlán FC (1W 0D 3L) vs. Gallos Blancos de Querétaro (0W 2D 2L)

UNAM Pumas (2W 1D 1L) vs. Puebla F.C. (2W 0D 2L) - 12:55 PM Eastern / 9:55 AM Pacific (TUDN)

Monday, September 14:

FC Juárez (0W 1D 3L) vs. Necaxa (0W 0D 4L)

Monterrey (4W 0D 0L) vs. Club Atlético de San Luis (2W 0D 2L)

Toluca (0W 1D 3L) vs. Pachuca (3W 1D 0L)

León (2W 0D 2L) vs. América (4W 0D 0L)

Santos Laguna (1W 0D 3L) vs. Guadalajara (4W 0D 0L)