21 Aug 10 issues we have realized up to now
It has been a busy opening to the Liga MX 2020 Guard1anes season, with 45 video games already going down since skilled soccer bought again underway in Mexico on July 24. Listed below are 10 issues we have realized from the primary 5 rounds of matches.
1. Membership America prime, however not convincing
It is a peculiar factor to see folks calling to interchange the supervisor of the league’s first-place membership. However “Fuera Piojo” was trending — maybe tongue-in cheek by some — after Miguel Herrera’s America imploded 4-1 away to a formidable Queretaro facet on Sunday night.
Las Aguilas were poor. Richard Sanchez’s first-half red card highlighted the ill discipline that has too often overshadowed the positive work Herrera has done; America has two red cards already and has conceded three penalties so far this season. Based on Sunday’s showing, it’s also clear that the club’s porous defense needs work. But if Herrera has shown anything since he left the Mexico national team in 2015, it’s his ability to find solutions when problems have arisen. And, barring that game against Queretaro, there is cause for optimism for America fans this season, not least the fact that it is in first position.
Colombia international Roger Martinez appears to be motivated. If he remains focused, he can be one of the best players in Liga MX. Maybe then the offers that he has been hoping for from Europe will come in.
Accompanying Martinez in the America attack, centre-forward Federico Vinas continues to excel. The 22-year-old from Uruguay looks to have all the attributes to become a top striker, and his talent ceiling is likely to take him to one of the “big five” leagues at some point. Add in Argentine Leo Suarez, the improving Sebastian Cordova, Nico Benedetti nearing a return from injury and both Sebastian Caceres (centre-back) and Santiago Caseres (centre-midfield) starting to settle, and it’s no surprise America is top of the league in the early going.
2. No early favorite
Behind America only on goal difference, Cruz Azul and Leon also sit on 10 points, with Pumas the only undefeated club so far on nine, the same as Toluca. Tigres are in sixth on eight points. But while La Maquina is in form, it’s not been the same sense of dominance as last season. That said, the strength in depth is impressive, and Cruz Azul should be expected to remain in the top places.
Leon’s 2-1 win over Club Tijuana restored its position at the top on Monday night, and La Fiera will be challenging once again.
Pumas have had a strange start to the season. “Michel” Gonzalez resigned as coach only hours before it got underway. It was all doom and gloom back then, and the side hasn’t exactly blown opposition away, but Juan Ignacio Dinenno’s goals and the experienced new signing Alfredo Talavera in goal has seen the university team take advantage of a relatively easy start to the season. The club announced on Monday that interim supervisor Andres Lillini will probably be in cost till the tip of the marketing campaign.
3. Coronavirus scenario continues to be a priority
Three video games within the first spherical of matches of the 2020 Guard1anes season needed to be postponed as golf equipment waited for COVID-19 outcomes, whereas the variety of folks related to Liga MX golf equipment who’ve examined constructive is now effectively over 100.
Even this previous weekend, Tigres handed a debut to 20-year-old Carlos Galindo in objective for Sunday’s 3-2 loss to Toluca and had 16-year-old Erick Gonzalez on the bench, after positive coronavirus tests ruled out first- and second-choice keepers Nahuel Guzman and Miguel Ortega.
On Saturday, Cruz Azul played without starting defender Julio “Cata” Dominguez, who is back training but was not fit to play after recovering from pneumonia, caused by a previous bout of COVID-19.
It seems to be accepted that there will be more coronavirus cases, but the show will continue to roll on, with teams simply quarantining the players who test positive until they return a negative test.
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4. Vucetich offers steady hand at Chivas
Chivas were the first club of the season to change their head coach, with Luis Fernando Tena exiting after three rounds of games with the team failing to score a single goal. Coronavirus cases, including Tena himself, didn’t help the 2012 Olympic gold-medal winner, but the side was lacking confidence and out of ideas.
New coach Victor Manuel Vucetich is a sensible and shrewd, if not particularly exciting, appointment. The veteran head coach will bring all his experience to what he described as the biggest challenge of his career.
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Chivas have taken six points from six since Tena left, and while there are issues to clear up, this is still a squad capable of a deep playoff run.
That said, the future of striker Jose Juan Macias remains key. Vucetich said he’d like the 20-year-old to stay, but Real Sociedad appears to be winning in the race to take him to Europe. If he does leave in this transfer window, it would be a bitter blow to Chivas’ chances.
Over the other side of Guadalajara, there’s been another coaching change at Atlas, with Diego Cocca replacing Rafa Puente. Los Rojinegros remain the only team without a win this season.
5. Concerns about Mohamed at Monterrey
Antonio Mohamed and Monterrey are, in theory, reigning Liga MX champions following the cancellation of the 2020 Clausura. But since that epic 2019 Apertura final in December in Estadio Azteca against Club America, the team has won just one of 15 games.
For a club that arguably boasts the best squad in the league, that kind of record is simply not good enough. There is now pressure on Mohamed, who hasn’t seemed to be able to find a starting XI and formation that clicks.
The fact Los Rayados are third in the expected goals (xG) per game (1.95) table after five matches and has created more chances than any other team suggests that finishing is a significant issue. Mohamed needs to hope that strikers Rogelio Funes Mori and Vincent Janssen — as well as the rest of the team — start finding the net quickly if he wants to remain in the job.
6. Veteran players in fine form
It certainly feels like veterans have stepped up this season. Perhaps it was the prolonged break that introduced the conclusion that the time to hold up their boots is nearer, however regardless of the motive, they’ve outlined the early season in Mexico.
Leon’s Luis Montes, at 34, continues to be a enjoyment of midfield and a Mexico call-up this 12 months should not be discounted, whereas 36-year-old Rubens Sambueza has impressed at Toluca, producing some classic performances. Up at Tigres, French striker Andre-Pierre Gignac will flip 35 this 12 months — he is scored 5 objectives in 5 video games and is not displaying indicators of slowing down.
7. Constructive begin for Queretaro coach Diego
“If the opponents need to suppose we’re much less [than what we are], that is their challenge, we will maintain enjoying every recreation as if it was a last,” mentioned Queretaro coach Alex Diego after thrashing America.
At 35, Diego is a uncommon instance of a younger Mexican coach being given an opportunity in Liga MX, and there is definitely stress connected due to the criticism that not sufficient of his friends get such alternatives. However though the Gallos Blancos squad is without doubt one of the weakest within the league on paper, Diego has already defeated America and Cruz Azul and, importantly, crafted an identification. The team has had a mean possession of solely 36.8% per recreation up to now and the bottom pass-completion share (73.7%), however what’s essential is that the team strikes the ball upfield the quickest (2.19 meters superior per second).
In different phrases, Queretaro likes to hit onerous and quick on the defense-attack transition when it wins again the ball. It is a model that may trigger issues for a couple of team in what stays of the common season.
8. Toluca the entertainers
Toluca had develop into a middling team that didn’t make the playoffs because the 2018 Apertura. Liga MX’s third-most profitable membership — on 10 titles — had misplaced any sense of enjoyable. That has modified this season beneath former Mexico coach Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre. Switching between a 5-3-2 and a 4-4-2, solely Membership America (32) has managed extra photographs on objective than Toluca’s 31.
Los Diablos Rojos’ xG is 11.31, the best within the league, whereas solely America’s 11 total objectives beats Toluca’s 10 general. However as efficient as Toluca has been in creating, the team from Estado de Mexico has leaked 10 objectives on the different finish, probably the most within the league.
9. Mazatlan, Xolos struggling, however fascinating
Mazatlan and Xolos make up the underside two for the underside three teams in anticipated objectives (xG) per recreation up to now this season — the opposite one is Atlas — however either side will probably be fascinating to maintain a watch on.
Paco Palencia’s Mazatlan has just one win all season, however the expansive possession-based recreation — the team has had a 59.6% possession common per recreation — makes it fascinating. Briefly, it appears as if Mazatlan and Palencia are decided to take the sport to greater and extra proficient teams.
Up in Tijuana, Pablo Guede’s undertaking has had a tricky begin, with Xolos selecting up solely 4 factors. His model is daring: He likes to play children (18-year-old centre-back Victor Guzman is an instance), takes dangers enjoying out from the again and picks attacking formations. But it surely’s additionally going to take time, one thing that Xolos do not have a tendency to present managers. Guede is not a head coach who’s going to compromise his model and, like in Mazatlan, the event of the model and beginning XI because the season continues is a storyline to comply with.
10. Younger Mexican goalkeepers shine
It has been some time since Mexico had a few goalkeepers beneath the age of 25 to get enthusiastic about. Over the 2019-20 season, solely Antonio Rodriguez, Gil Alcala and Gibran Lajud had been getting common minutes, had been born in Mexico and had been beneath the age of 30.
However these first few video games of the season have shone the highlight on 24-year-old Santos Laguna keeper Carlos Acevedo and Necaxa’s 23-year-old Luis Malagon. Each have stepped up in beginning roles up to now.