América set for Clausura debut; Cruz Azul hunts for talent

America´s Paul Aguilar (L) vies for the ball with Mario de Luna (R) of Necaxa, during their Mexican apertura 2017 tournament football match at the Azteca stadium, on October 21, 2017, in Mexico City. / AFP PHOTO / RONALDO SCHEMIDT (Photo credit should read RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
America´s Paul Aguilar (L) vies for the ball with Mario de Luna (R) of Necaxa, during their Mexican apertura 2017 tournament football match at the Azteca stadium, on October 21, 2017, in Mexico City. / AFP PHOTO / RONALDO SCHEMIDT (Photo credit should read RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP/Getty Images) /

Necaxa and América will be making their Clausura 2019 debuts this weekend, while Cruz Azul scrambles to plug a hole in their line-up.

Reigning champion América petitioned to have their Matchday 1 game against Necaxa postponed so they could get an extra week of rest and preparation before the Clausura 2019 after winning their 13th league title on Dec. 16.

As such, the Aguilas open the defense of their crown on Friday night at Estadio Jalisco against Atlas while Necaxa kicks off their Clausura 2019 schedule at home against the Pumas.

Atlas is coming off a road win at Querétaro while América is dealing with roster issues, including the sale of starlet Diego Lainez to Real Betis. The Aguilas will also be without starters Mateus Uribe and Roger Martínez, both of whom are struggling with fitness issues.

América is actively in the market for a striker while Frenchman Jeremy Menez continues to rehab his left knee after surgery to repair the ACL over the summer.

Necaxa did get on the field this week, winning a Copa MX match at Atlético San Luis In the first game on the sidelines for new Rayos coach Memo Vázquez. Necaxa experienced wholesale changes during the winter break and players are still trying to remember the names of their new teammates. Striker Eduardo Herrero came over from Santos while left back Osmar Mares and midfielder Hibert Ruiz joined the Rayos from Veracruz less than two weeks ago.

The Rayos face a Pumas team that got off to a disappointing start last week, settling for a scoreless draw at home against lowly Veracruz. Last season, UNAM defeated Necaxa 5-3.

Marco Fabian draws interest

Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Marco Fabián has been given permission to seek a trade and the Chivas product is apparently in talks with Guadalajara and the Tigres as the 29-year-old is eager to get playing time and establish his availability for El Tri this year.

Frankfurt tried to trade Fabián last summer to Turkey’s Fenerbahce last year, but alternate talks with Bursaspor complicated the transaction and it fell through. The Guadalajara native is in his third year with the Eagles, but has proven to be injury prone. Fabián only played 11 games the first year while struggling with a back injury. His second year, he saw action in 24 games and scored 7 goals. This season, he only played in 9 games for Frankfurt.

The Chivas hoped to acquire Fabián on loan, but Frankfurt is insisting on a sale. That has opened the door for the Tigres who are genuinely interested in adding Marco to their roster. At the same time, the Tigres are trying to shed Enner Valencia’s contract. The Ecuador striker has not lived up to expectations and he’s still on the books for two more years, a burden the Tigres would like to eliminate.

Cruz Azul shopping around

After a recent move by Boca Juniors to purchase stud midfielder Iván Marcone, Cruz Azul is scrambling to find a replacement. Marcone was a key cog in the Cementeros defensive system, a tackling machine who protected the central defense with aplomb last season.

Cruz Azul management is taking a close look at Argentina international Matías Kranevitter who is stuck on the bench at Zenit St. Petersburg after a brief stint with Atlético de Madrid. The 25-year-old midfielder starred at River Plate before moving abroad in summer 2015.

More from Viva Liga MX

The Cementeros also have a Plan B if Zenit declines to part with Kranevitter, a strong possibility since Cruz Azul is not willing to overpay and Zenit wants to recoup some of its investment. Gonzalo Escalante is another Argentine midfielder who plays for Eibar in Spain. His asking price is $5 million dollars ($1 million dollars less than Kranevitter’s buyout clause).

Cruz Azul will want to move quickly so that coach Caixinha can finalize his roster as soon as possible.

Chivas TV debacle?

In summer 2016, the beloved Guadalajara Chivas rejected a TV contract offer from Televisa, opting to provide live streaming coverage of all their league and Cup games. The experiment proved to be a bit of a disaster, with regular interruptions in their signal resulting in millions of pesos in fines handed down by the consumer protection agency.

Universal Deports columnist Gerardo Velázquez de León argues the live streaming project was poorly executed partly because the service was never a priority. Chivas TV was actually an effort to gain leverage in the TV contract talks.

Last season, the Chivas sold some broadcast rights to cable network TDN, but the Chivas brand was losing out by moving to exclusive networks. A return to public television was necessary to restore the brand and win back the die-hard fans who can’t afford cable TV or satellite dishes.

So last week, the Chivas inked a deal to televise their home games via public broadcaster TV Azteca, while selling some rights to cable company Multimedios. This apparently marks the end of the poorly produced Chivas TV, a PR disaster and a financial fiasco, although those responsible have refused to accept accountability.