With the short transfer window between the end of the Apertura 2018 season and the kick-off of the Clausura 2019 schedule, Liga MX teams are frantically trying to resolve contract issues and set their rosters for the new season.
Typically, the winter transfer window provides little of interest, but teams that do not qualify for the Liga MX playoffs have some extra time to reconsider roster overhauls.
The Chivas have been particularly active already, acquiring Querétaro central defender Hiram Mier to address their back-line troubles. Captain Jair Pereira has publicly announced his desire to re-sign with the Chivas but there have been whispers that management is talking to Monterrey about 21-year-old César Montes.
Guadalajara has also signed precocious midfielder Javier López (injured much of this season) to a new contract, though there had been rumors that Querétaro had sought to acquire him (perhaps as part of the Mier deal). The Chivas are also making offers to striker Alan Pulido, but Monterrey has expressed interest in the 27-year-old native of Tamaulipas.
The Tigres announced Wednesday that they had signed league-leading scorer André-Pierre Gignac to a 2-year extension. The 32-year-old Frenchman has scored 78 goals in 133 games since joining the Tigres from Marseille in the summer of 2015.
In other news, Puebla announced that Enrique “Ojitos” Meza will stay on as manager. The 70-year-old coach had the Camoteros in the playoff hunt until their 6-1 loss to the Tigres on Matchday 16.
Dorados de Sinaloa 2, Juárez 0
Jorge Córdoba and Raúl Sandoval scored first-half goals to lead the 7th-seeded Dorados past No. 1 seed Juárez in the first leg of their semifinal series. With a win, draw or 1-goal loss in the second leg on Saturday, Diego Maradona’s team will advance to the Apertura 2018 final.
The lanky Córdoba got the festivities started off a corner kick in minute 12. Córdoba retreated away from goal at the near post and flicked a header that bounced into the side netting at the back post.
Not even a minute later, Diego Barbosa got free at the top of the box but his low shot was first deflected by a sliding defender then Juárez goalie Enrique Palos nudged it around the post for a corner.
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In minute 27, the Dorados worked the ball from the left side to the right flank where Alonso Escoboza found room to send a cross into the box. A Juárez defender deflected it but it fell to onrushing left fullback Raúl Sandoval who tried to trap the ball only to pop it in the air. As a defender closed, Sandoval calmly blasted a left-footed volley across the face of goal an inside the far post for a 2-0 lead.
The second half produced little of note and the Bravos must return to Cd. Juárez and regroup in hopes that coach Gabriel Caballero can come up with a game plan to overturn the 2-0 deficit.
Concacaf U-20 Championship
USA 2, Mexico 0
El Mini Tri came up short in its bid to win the Concacaf Under-20 title as Team USA scored once in each half to finish the tournament with an impressive 46-2 goal differential.
The US squad took aim at Carlos Higuera’s goal 20 times, but got only 6 on target. Alexis Méndez – named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after the game – scored both goals for the Stars and Stripes.
The game was physical and choppy as the US was called for 34 fouls and Mexico committed 18 infractions as each team was shown 3 yellow cards. The lack of flow led to some sloppy play too as both teams completed less than 70% of their passes.
Chivas striker José Juan Macías won the Golden Boot, scoring 10 times. Mexico also earned the Fair Play Award.
Mexico had already qualified for the 2019 U-20 World Cup in Poland, as had Team USA. Joining those two from Concacaf are Panama and Honduras.