The wait is finally over. 68 days after witnessing Pachuca thrash Toluca 8-2 on aggregate to claim their 7th league title in franchise history, Liga MX returns tonight when Necaxa play hosts to Atlético San Luis in Estadio Victoria at 7 pm local time (CT).
Let’s not forget this Necaxa squad are now led by head coach Andrés Lillini, who is coming off a horrific season with Pumas. Not to mention, their lack of important signings following a very modest Apertura 2022, barely getting into the Repechaje by the hair of their chinny chin chin, finishing 12th with just 19 points. Until now, out of all their signings, the only one that relatively stands out is the return to Mexico of Josecarlos Van Rankin from the Portland Timbers. Other than that, a few players from Liga de Expansión and a couple others who have yet to excel in their careers. Not the ideal offseason for a 12th placed team looking to improve.
Shifting over to the visiting side, Atlético San Luis have been riddled with underperformances as well, failing to finish higher than 10th in any of the previous 5 seasons, despite reaching the Repechaje match in a couple of those. Last season was not one of them, however, as they finished just below Necaxa at 13th, barely missing out on Repechaje. But if there was ever a time to be hopeful, it’s now. Not only did they sign Dieter Villalpando from tonight’s rival, but they also signed a couple international players; German-Argentine MF Mateo Klimowicz on loan for a year straight from Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart, and Brazilian ST Léo Bonatini who joins on a free transfer from Premier League club Wolves. It’s also important to mention Rubens Sambueza’s departure from the club. So, a bit of a brighter outlook for San Luis in that sense. We’ll see if it actually translates on the pitch.
Necaxa have dominated this matchup over the past couple years, winning their last 4 meetings. The last time Atlético de San Luis defeated the Hidrorayos was back in September of 2020 with a 2-1 home victory.
Mazatlán FC vs. León PPD due to crime outbreak in Sinaloa
There was a second game originally slated for tonight following the Necaxa - San Luis matchup. It was the Mazatlán vs. León. But because of the recent wave of violence the state of Sinaloa has witnessed over the past days, they’ve determined no football will be played in the entire state this weekend.
This decision not only affects the Liga MX matchup aforementioned, but it also runs through the Liga de Expansión where Dorados were expected to take on Correcaminos to open up their respective seasons in the second tier of Mexican football.
León Sporting Director Rodrigo Fernández praised the decision, saying: “It’s not just about the safety of the teams, but of all the spectators involved, including broadcasters and families... I think it’s a great call on the league and Mazatlán’s part because the top priority is to preserve the safety of all football spectators.”
A sad day not just for football, but for an entire state in general having to withstand these lengths of violence. But, indeed a positive (if there ever was one) from the situation is the fact the league is looking out for the safety of their fans and everyone involved. Big check mark for Liga MX on this one.
The match is expected to be made up during the next FIFA international break, which goes from March 24-28.