Atletico San Luis dominated a disastrous Pumas as they got a 3-1 away win. San Luis is proving to be the surprise team of the tournament so far, with their second away win of the season. This is a big improvement over last season, where they finished in last place and would’ve been relegated had there been relegation. Pumas meanwhile gave another terrible performance in which they barely scored their first goal of the season and where they look poised to do even worse than last season, where they ended 15th out of 18 teams. Pumas will now have to travel to New York to face New York City FC on Wednesday because of the Leagues Cup before returning to Mexico to face Queretaro at home. Atletico San Luis will go home to face a struggling Necaxa and hope to keep improving on a great start.
The first half started with Pumas still not starting goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera, who just came back from the Mexico National Team that played in the Gold Cup. Off of an early free kick, the ball was headed that forced Pumas’ goalkeeper Julio Gonzalez to make a great save but the ball was left for Unai Bilbao to get to the rebound. With a right footed shot, Bilbao scored the 1-0 for Atletico San Luis. Pumas had a chance at a corner kick when Juan Ignacio Dinenno got off a header, but it went straight to San Luis’ goalkeeper Andres Sanchez. The game became even with Pumas failing to keep it going even when they were trailing and needed to attack. Then after a long ball into the area, German Berterame got past the Pumas defense and hit a left footed shot past Gonzalez for the 2-0 lead. In a matter of time and with little effort, it seemed San Luis had killed the game as Pumas looked terrible. The game continued with Pumas trying to come back, but they had zero ideas and looked finished mentally. When Pumas looked totally adrift, Sebastian Saucedo made a great move and get past two San Luis’ defenders and then get a rocket off his right foot past Sanchez for the 2-1 and the first goal scored by Pumas this season. It looked to have awoken Pumas, who got another ball into the area but the final shot went wide. Pumas looked like they had gained control but in a quick play in the area, San Luis came close to scoring by a shot from ex-Pumas Facundo Waller, although the play was ruled to be offside. The halftime whistle blew and San Luis took a 2-1 lead against a Pumas team that looked to be in terrible shape.
The second half started with Pumas subbing out Erik Lira for Favio Alvarez. For Pumas to reach out to Alvarez to change things shows how drastic things were. After an injury, San Luis had to sub out Juan Sanabria for Juan Castro. Minute later Pumas subbed out Jose Rogerio and Christian Battochio for Gabriel Torres and Leonel Lopez, as they tried to reignite Pumas’ offense. San Luis had the first chance after a shot from outside the area from Emmanuel Garcia forced Gonzalez to make a save. Then after a good play from Saucedo to the area, Torres got to the ball and his shot got deflected into the path of Dinenno, who also had his shot blocked from close range to a corner kick. Pumas had a good counter attack with a a four-on-three that was wasted. San Luis subbed out Adam Bareiro for Andres Vomberger. Pumas then subbed out Sebastian Saucedo and Higor Meritao for Marco Garcia and Amaury Garcia. It looked like San Luis would have scored after a great cross was headed by Andres Vombergar but it was ruled to be offside. The referee went to VAR and changed the decision, and Vombergar’s header past Gonzalez was ruled to be the 3-1. San Luis subbed out Ricardo Chavez for Jhon Duque shortly before the final whistle blew.
Pumas’ performance against Atletico San Luis was, to put it mildly, pathetic. Fans’ fear about how the new signings weren’t up to par have so far proven to be true. Brazilians Jose Rogerio and Higor Meritao haven’t done well, and showed the fears about being in fourth division in Brazil have so far been of merit. Efrain Velarde was probably the worst player on the pitch, and the cause of why Mazatlan let him go must be the low level he currently has. Players like Favio Alvarez and Gabriel Torres added nothing when they came in, and Coach Andres Lillini has ruined all the good will he earned after the surprisingly good debut season. Pumas seems to be D.O.A., and it will be tough to get things back unless the new arrivals show that it was just adaptation problems and not that they don’t have the level for Liga MX. Atletico San Luis meanwhile have shown to be the most surprising team of the season so far. They went from the team that finished last in the relegation table and thus had to play a hefty fine instead of being relegated, to a team that is battling to be on top of the table. They will need to prove they are for real as they return home to face Necaxa, but things are very promising. Pumas meanwhile looks to stop embarrassing themselves against New York City FC and then face a tough home match against Queretaro, where even when they are at home, they aren’t favored at all.