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Liga MX Femenil recap: 2021 Clausura, Week 12

Santos Laguna v Necaxa - Torneo Guard1anes 2021 Liga MX Femenil Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

There was a lot to talk about in Liga MX Femenil this week. There were the usual highs and lows on the field, with highlight reel saves and golazos galore. And I will spotlight those here in a minute, but first I wanted to point out a heartbreaking reality of a not insignificant number of players in the league. On Monday night, former goalkeeper Balbina Treviño posted a WhatsApp message from a current player. The unidentified player reached out to Treviño because she didn’t have enough money to keep the lights and water on at her house.

It’s absolutely inconceivable that a professional athlete doesn’t make enough at her job to pay for basic needs, especially when Liga MX Femenil is regarded as one of the best leagues in North America. Most of the teams in the league have enough cash to spend millions of pesos on male players every season, yet Treviño later tweeted “the median salary in 2017 was $3,420. Today it’s more but not much (more).” I would all but guarantee her male coworkers make more than $3,420.

The issue of Liga MX Femenil players being paid below a living wage is a big problem, and should be addressed as such. But it should also be told through a lens that incorporates everything into the story: the league as a whole has elevated women’s sports in Mexico and provided a competitive atmosphere to develop women and girls into elite athletes while at the same time mirroring gender pay gaps and discrimination that plagues most nations.

Cruz Azul 3, Mazatlán 0: A poor showing from Mazatlán, who are now outside of the Liguilla standing. Cruz Azul took the game to Mazatlán, and things came to a head in the 24th minute when Casandra Montero fouled Alejandra Curiel in the box and drew a penalty. As the referee was explaining the decision to the crowd of Mazatlán players, Curiel threw a shoulder at goalkeeper Mariana Zárraga and bumped her and then pushed another Mazatlán player. Yuzara López came in and threw a shoulder at Curiel, which referee Francia González saw and showed López her second yellow card of the match. Curiel buried the penalty and then got a yellow for taunting Zárraga. Cruz Azul doubled the lead in the 38th minute when Rebeca Villuendas caught Zárraga off of her line and chipped her from some distance. Then in the 52nd minute Paola González took advantage of another mistake by Zárraga when she let a corner kick slip through her fingers. González knocked it in easily to complete the rout. To her credit, Zárraga made a fantastic save in the 78th minute on a blast from Susana Romero.

Gallos Blancos de Querétaro 0, Atlas 1: A hard fought game that looked destined to end in a 0-0 draw, when who else would come through with a brilliant strike but Alison González? In the 83rd, “Aligol” was played forward on a brilliant ball from the back. She got to it and got a touch on it, knocking it past goalkeeper Diana García for her twelfth goal in as many games and the win for Atlas, who were able to keep pace with superlíder Tigres.

UNAM Pumas 2, León 0: Pumas keeps getting it done against teams they should beat, this time knocking off León 2-0 in their return to Estadio Olímpico Universitario. Fabiola Santamaria got onto the end of a great pass in the 11th and knocked it past Itzayana Gonzalez for her third goal of the season. Then in the 36th Marlyn Campa raced forward and hit a shot that Gonzalez saved, but the rebound went straight to Dinora Garza who hit it in stride into the back of the net. Pumas almost scored a third before the end of the first half but Gonzalez made a huge save on Campa. The rebound went to Hireri Velázquez, but her shot was stopped by Claudia Cid.

Guadalajara 3, Puebla F.C. 0: Despite the scoreline, Puebla played a decent game but a hat-trick by Alicia Cervantes isn’t something that’s easy to overcome. Chivas had an early opportunity when they were awarded a penalty in the 18th minute but Carolina Jaromillo sent the shot well high of the intended target and over the crossbar. Cervantes got her first in the 36th when she was able to get just enough space and fire a shot past Siena Ruelas. Two minutes later Joseline Montoya made a nice run down the left side of the box and cutting inward, making it to the center of the box before losing the ball. It somehow wound up at the feet of Cervantes however, who quickly hit the ball in amid the chaos. In the second half Puebla had several good looks on goal but Celeste Espino came up huge for Chivas, making a couple of highlight reel saves. Then in the 83rd minute Licha got her third of the afternoon when she went to head a cross in and missed. The ball hit her in the stomach and rolled down her leg and she was able to flick it into the back of the net for her 13th of the seaason.

Club Atlético de San Luis 2, Santos Laguna 2: San Luis snatches a draw from certain defeat in the last minute while Santos is looking at this as a loss. Both goalkeepers had good games, but in the 70th Santos captain Cinthya Peraza got a great pass in the box from Isela Ojeda and knocked it past Stefani Jiménez. Atleti came right back however in the 76th when Paola Urbieta headed in a free kick to draw the sides level. As the clock hit 90, Peraza was brought down in the box and converted her penalty to give Santos the lead late. But in the dying moments Fany Izaguirre made a run down the right side of the box and hit a tough angle shot that made it over Wendy Toledo and into the back of the net.

Toluca 1, Necaxa 1: Necaxa is starting to be a team no one wants to face, having gotten points in four of their last five matches as they drew Toluca in Metepec. Karla Martínez put the home side up 1-0 in the 40th minute with a header from close range. In the 58th Necaxa tied the match when Bri Escobedo headed a corner kick at Daniela Lozano. Lozano made the save but Estef Hérnandez was there to knock the rebound in.

Pachuca 0, América 0: Both teams could have used the win, but a draw was on the cards. Esthefanny Barreras picked up her sixth shutout in eleven appearances for Pachuca, while Renata Masciarelli got her first of the season in her second game back from injury.

Tigres UANL 3, FC Juárez 0: Tigres just keeps on dominating, downing Juárez 3-0. Juárez didn’t look bad in the first half, but Tigres made some changes and once Miah Zuazua’s own goal went in for her former team in the 53rd minute it was all but over. Then as the clock went into stoppage Fer Elizondo got to a Belén Cruz header and knocked it past Gabriela Herrera to double the lead. Then in the third minute of stoppage, Cruz hit a golazo from distance to add the exclamation point onto the win.

Club Tijuana 0, Monterrey 2: Rayadas continue to roll despite not having Desirée Monsivás in the lineup. Daniela Solís put Monterrey up in the fifth minute when she hit a shot from outside of the box on a counterattack. Then in the 41st minute Solís would strike again, this time with a perfectly placed shot that caught Itzel González off of her line. Rayadas keep pace with the pack, while Tijuana has now lost two in a row.

Next week (all records are in W-D-L format, all times as listed):

Friday, March 26:

Necaxa (2-3-7) vs. Club Atlético de San Luis (2-4-6) - Claro Sports (Mexico) - 4:00 PM

Mazatlán FC (4-4-4) vs. UNAM Pumas (7-3-2) - TVP (Mexico) - 7:00 PM

Saturday, March 27:

Atlas (8-3-1) vs. Toluca (4-5-3) - TVC Deportes (Mexico) - 10:00 AM

América (4-5-3) vs. Guadalajara (7-3-2) - TUDN (Mexico and United States) - 8:05 PM

Sunday, March 28:

Puebla F.C. (1-4-7) vs. Pachuca (5-3-4) - TVC Deportes (Mexico) - 12:00 PM

FC Juárez (1-3-8) vs. Gallos Blancos de Querétaro (3-1-8) - TUDN (Mexico) - 9:00 PM

Monday, March 29:

Santos Laguna (2-5-5) vs. Cruz Azul (6-4-2) - 4:30 PM

León (2-2-8) vs. Club Tijuana (4-3-5) - FOX Sports (Mexico) - 7:00 PM

Monterrey (8-1-3) vs. Tigres UANL (9-2-1) - FOX Sports (Mexico) - 9:00 PM