Matchday 6 opens with a doubleheader featuring #3 Tigres visiting lowly Veracruz and #4 Atlas hosting Puebla and their new, old coach José Luis Sánchez Solá, aka “Chelis.”
Both the Tigres and Atlas have the chance to move into first place temporarily as Liga MX heads into Matchday 6 this weekend. The Tigres and Atlas currently sit on 10 points each, even with #2 Necaxa and 1 point behind league-leading Monterrey. With a win, they’ll leapfrog the Rayos and the Rayados until their respective games on Saturday night.
The Tigres have given up the second-fewest goals through 5 weeks and they face Veracruz, the only team in the league that has yet to score a goal this season.
In Guadalajara’s Estadio Jalisco, Atlas will welcome “Chelis” back to the league after nearly five years since he left Veracruz.
Tigres at Veracruz
Tuca Ferretti’s boys are eager to erase the memory of last season, when they underachieved during the regular season, earning only a No. 6 seed before bowing out meekly to UNAM in the quarterfinals.
Reports suggest Team Mexico defender Carlos Salcedo will make his debut with the Tigres, anchoring the back line alongside another debutante, Juan Sánchez Purata. Salcedo, 25, joined the Tigres from Germany’s Eintracht Frankfurt on Jan. 21 and his decision to leave Europe for a return to Liga MX earned plenty of criticism. Purata is a 21-year-old academy product who has never started a Liga MX game before.
Up front, André-Pierre Gignac is in fine form, scoring three times thus far – including the game-winner against Santos last week – and he is getting help from Luis Quiñones and Enner Valencia.
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Veracruz comes into the game as the only team in the league without a goal scored. However, the Tiburones have earned 2 points on the back of two scoreless draws, including last week at Guadalajara. However, Veracruz has lost both of its home games thus far this season, each by the same 0-1 scoreline.
The Tiburones appear headed for relegation (or a 20-million peso buyout to remain in Liga MX), already losing against Puebla and Lobos BUAP, the other top candidates for demotion.
On paper, this game would appear certain to be a rout in favor of the visitors, but coach Daniel Siboldi has the Tiburones fighting hard on the pitch (a trait they demonstrated last season too, despite finishing dead last).
Puebla at Atlas
The host Zorros are in prime position to improve on its numbers from the Apertura 2018 season and it is only Week 6.
Last season, Atlas only scored 11 goals all season and finished in penultimate spot in the standings, with 11 points from its 2-5-10 record.
This season, the Zorros have already scored 10 goals through 5 games, earning 10 points with a 3-1-1 record. They could also equal their points total from the Apertura 2018 with a tie and surpass it with a win. They have already passed their wins total of last season.
Puebla comes to town with a new coach, José Luis Sánchez Solá, summoned to replace the fired Enrique Meza. Solá’s last coaching job was with second division Club Venados of Mérida, ending with his resignation on Jan. 2017. Before that he lasted only 11 weeks as coach of Veracruz in early 2014. This will be a return of sorts for “Chelis” as he coached Puebla for three years from 2006-2009.
Puebla is currently in 14th place with a 1-2-2 record and a playoff berth is expecting too much. Instead, “Chelis” will be asked to provide some stability, a new tactical approach and a few points to stave off relegation concerns next year.