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Liga MX Femenil recap: 2021 Apertura, Week 5

Some surprises and good games from this past week of play.

Santos Laguna v Atlas - Torneo Grita Mexico A21 Liga MX Femenil Photo by Jos Alvarez/Jam Media/Getty Images

It’s wild to think that the season is about one-third of the way done, but here we are. It’s becoming clearer to see the teams who will most likely make the Liguilla (Tigres are a perfect 5-0-0) and who won’t (Mazatlán is a perfect 0-0-5). There’s still plenty of time left though, and as always the race to make the top eight is crowded and probably will do down to the wire as it always does.

Gallos Blancos de Querétaro 1, León 1: A decent game from both teams as they try and come into their own this season. Just two minutes into the match Querétaro took the lead when Leidy Ramos broke through the defense and got to a cross to knock it in. Both teams then had several chances that neither could capitalize on until just after the start of the second half when the Pride of Fresno, California Anisa Guajardo got to a header off of a corner kick and poked home the tying goal.

Mazatlán FC 0, Monterrey 3: A solid win for Rayadas, downing Mazatlán 3-0 on the road. Diana Evangelista put Monterrey up in the 26th minute on a perfectly placed left-footed shot. After Desirée Monsiváis went off for a laceration to her nose, Mariana Cadena doubled the lead in the fourth minute of stoppage at the end of the first half when she knocked in the rebound of an Diana García shot that ricocheted off of the post. Then in the 78th Rebeca Bernal put the game on ice with a header off of a free kick. Mazatlán goalkeeper Mariana Zárraga should be given some credit however, as she made several good stops that kept the game from getting too far out of hand.

Toluca 1, FC Juárez 1: Toluca had their chances, but Juárez is able to escape Estadio Nemesio Díez with a draw. The first good chance Toluca had was in the 27th when Diana García was caught out of her net and a pass was floated into the box. Brenda Carvajal went up for it, but instead crashed into Karla Martínez. Then in the 36th minute it was Diana Guatemala who was wide open in the box but initially whiffed on the shot before corralling the ball and shooting, but by then the defender had gotten back into position and blocked the shot. Then in the 38th Aislinn García hit a shot from distance, but this time it was Diana García making a fantastic diving save to tip it over. Toluca finally scored in the 48th when Destinney Duron got her head onto a free kick that García couldn’t quite react to fast enough. The lead wouldn’t last however with Miah Zuazua hitting a left-footed shot off of a corner kick in the 63rd to equalize. A minute later García made a fantastic diving save to rob Isela Ojeda’s acrobatic shot. Then at the other end, Daniela Lozano made a series of impressive saves in the 68th to keep it level. Mariel Román had a chance in the 84th to put Toluca up, but her wide open shot rolled wide of the far post.

Guadalajara 6, Necaxa 0: Necaxa loses by a lopsided margin for the second time in their last three games as Chivas rolls to a 6-0 win. Licha Cervantes had a brace and Michelle González, Caro Jaramillo, and Atzimba Casas all scored in the win, and a Necaxa autogol rounded out the scoring as Celeste Espino and the defense got their second shutout in four games. Necaxa meanwhile has just one point on the season and looks lost, having scored just two goals while conceding nineteen so far.

Puebla F.C. 3, Cruz Azul 0: While they’re better known for their defense, Puebla broke out of their shell for a 3-0 win against Cruz Azul. Mariam Castro got her first goal of the season on a header in the 21st minute. Then a scary moment when Castro and Alondra González clashed heads, which resulted in Castro being carried off of the field with her neck immobilized and placed into concussion protocol. She was later diagnosed with a cervical sprain and “the time of her recovery depends on the evolution of the (injury).” Puebla then got two goals from Verónica Martins in the 64th and 90th minutes to secure Puebla’s third win of the season.

UNAM Pumas 1, Club Tijuana 2: A good performance from Tijuana, who could low-key be a Liguilla team after only making the tournament once before in the 2019 Apertura. Renae Cuéllar had a brace, getting onto a long ball forward from Angelina Hix that was deflected and hitting an impossibly tight angle shot to beat Melany Villeda in the second minute before getting a nice ball over the top in the 25th. Laura Herrera scored the only goal for Pumas, hitting an absolute rocket from 20 yards out in the 20th minute, but that’s all Pumas would get. Itzel González stopped a Fabiola Santamaría penalty in stoppage at the end of the first half, and despite a couple of chances in the second half Pumas were unable to convert and are still winless on the season.

Pachuca 0, América 2: I can’t figure out either Pachuca or América. Pachuca looked like it would be an offensive juggernaut and instead have only scored three goals in five games. América on the other hand looked like they had the other shoe drop after their loss to Toluca last week, yet they bounced right back to beat Pachuca. Dani Espinosa got the scoring started in the 50th minute on a beautiful swerving free kick from about 25 yards out. Then in the 68th disaster struck for the home side when Fátima Arellano tried to clear a ball and scuffed it, knocking it into her own net.

Tigres UANL 5, Club Atlético de San Luis 1: Atlético San Luis started out well, getting an early goal from Ana López and really forcing Tigres back on their heels. But in the 18th minute Tigres were the beneficiaries of a very questionable foul call in the box, and Katty “Killer” Martínez converted the penalty, changing the momentum of the entire match. Martínez got two more goals in the 54th and 62nd, while Jackie Ovalle and Belén Cruz each scored in the rout. Tigres were without Stefany Mayor and Bianca Sierra after Mayor tested positive for COVID-19.

Santos Laguna 2, Atlas 2: Santos was within minutes of getting a win against a good Atlas team but Atlas somehow found a way to get a point out of their trip to Torreón. Atlas went on the board first in the ninth minute when Alison González converted a penalty after being hauled down in the box by Karyme Martínez. Santos levelled the match in the 49th when a cross into the box found Cinthya Peraza, and her header was powerful and accurate. Santos went ahead in the 72nd when Dani Delgado picked off a ball and Alexia Villanueva headed it on to Peraza, who drew the defense and sent it back to Delgado, who finished with a nice little flick. Atlas didn’t give up, and deep in stoppage time got a goal off of a corner kick from Valeria Razo.

Notes and other things:

There has been so much fear and sorrow in and around Afghanistan this week, with the Taliban retaking the entire country a mere eleven days after the United States withdrew. I won’t get into the politics of it all here, but I’ll say it’s a pathetic end to a shameful chapter of history. There are a lot of people who are in grave danger there, and I pray they and their loved ones are and will continue to be safe. AP’s Rob Harris spoke with Khalida Popal of the Afghan Women’s National Team about her conversations with Afghan women footballers, and it’s utterly heartbreaking.

Someone ran onto the pitch during the Tigres-San Luis match and took a selfie with Belén Cruz. This was a complete breakdown of security at El Volcán, and they’re lucky the person didn’t have any malicious intentions. That said, who knows if that person has COVID and exposed Cruz (and thus her teammates) to the disease. Let’s hope we never see this sort of incident again.

RJ Allen wrote a great article about how sometimes we in the media hear things that we can’t report on, why we can’t report on them, and the effects it has on the person who knos but can’t say anything. I can tell you that knowing about something bad and not being able to tell is the absolute worst thing.

In good news, Chivas announced a partnership with ELEVEN, a Dutch company that will stream Chivas games in over 100 countries. This includes varonil and femenil games, which means people in about half of the countries on the planet will be able to legally watch a Liga MX and a Liga MX Femenil game. I am ultimately hopeful that ELEVEN or another company will acquire the rights to all teams and broadcast them anywhere and everywhere.

Toluca Femenil recorded a fight song, and it’s kinda catchy!

It’s the 50th anniversary of the start of the 1971 World Cup on August 15th, and Ana De Souza posted this footage of a match in Estadio Azteca. It’s good that these films are coming to light and that these women are all getting the recognition that they deserve and their stories are being recorded. Hopefully while we celebrate their achievements, we learn more about why women’s soccer largely died in the 1970’s and 1980’s to ensure that the women playing today are given their place in history that they - and the original pioneras - deserve.

Asif Burhan wrote this great article that details some of the story of those pioneras. I really recommend reading it, and then picking up a copy (if you can find one) of Futbolera by Brenda Elsey and Joshua Nadel that not only looks at the history of fútbol femenil in Mexico but in most countries in Latin America as well.

If you have something that should be included in this segment, please reach out to me via twitter or email me at

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

Friday, August 20:

Gallos Blancos de Querétaro (0-3-2) vs. FC Juárez (0-1-4) - 5:00 PM - TVC Deportes (Mexico)

Saturday, August 21:

Cruz Azul (2-2-1) vs. Tigres UANL (5-0-0) - 12:00 PM - TUDN (United States and Mexico)

Sunday, August 22:

Atlas (3-1-1) vs. UNAM Pumas (0-2-3) - 12:00 PM - TVC Deportes (Mexico)

Monday, August 23:

Necaxa (0-1-4) vs. Puebla F.C. (3-0-2) - 5:00 PM - TUDN (Mexico)

América (4-0-1) vs. Club Atlético de San Luis (1-1-3) - 7:00 PM - TUDN (United States and Mexico)

León (1-1-3) vs. Santos Laguna (2-2-1) - 7:00 PM

Monterrey (4-1-0) vs. Toluca (2-1-2) - 7:00 PM - FOX Sports (Mexico), FOX Deportes (United States)

Mazatlán FC (0-0-5) vs. Pachuca (1-2-2) - 8:00 PM - TVP (Mexico)

Club Tijuana (2-3-0) vs. Guadalajara (4-1-0) - 9:00 PM - FOX Sports (Mexico)