The Cementeros and the new kids from San Luis have made personnel changes, but might not be done tweaking their rosters.
Liga MX newcomer Atlético San Luis can claim one of the top five offseason acquisitions thus far – as can Cruz Azul (according to ESPN) – but San Luis’s big move in late June was overshadowed by the América-Chivas trade involving Oribe Peralta. It was further obscured by the week-long rumors involving the arrival of Gio dos Santos to América.
On June 22, Atletico San Luis signed midfielder/winger Camilo Mayada, a 28-year-old Uruguayan who spent the past four years with River Plate. Mayada will be expected to be a playmaker for Alfonso Sosa’s team, promoted from Ascenso MX in May. “Los Rojiblancos” are partly owned by Atlético Madrid and they will play a disciplined, tactically conservative style as they adjust to the stronger opponents they’ll see in Liga MX.
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Joining Mayada will be striker German Berterame, a 20-year-old Argentine who played with Patronato in his home country last season. Also joining San Luis this summer were Argentina goalie Axel Werner, 23 (from Málaga), and 26-year-old Argentina winger Ricardo Centurion (from Racing Club).
Other players following Mayada from South America to Liga MX for the Apertura 2019 are Octavio Rivero, Fernando Aristeguieta and Anibal Chalá.
Rivero, 27, a Uruguayan striker, played one season in Atlas before returning home to play with Nacional where he scored 5 goals in 10 games. He has joined Santos Laguna where he’ll line up alongside Julio Furch.
Aristeguieta arrives to Monarcas Morelia from América de Cali. The 27-year-old Venezuelan striker played with Getafe in Spain and with MLS club Philadelphia before spending the past year in Colombia.
The 23-year-old Chalá now plays for Toluca. The Ecuadorian defender joins from LDU de Quito.
Cruz Azul goes fishing in the MLS
The Cementeros are deep in talks with agents for Houston Dynamo striker Mauro Manotas. The 24-year-old Colombian has scored 40 goals for the Dynamo in just over 100 games.
Houston ownership is demanding a 7 million-dollar buyout and Cruz Azul has balked over that amount, but they currently have no other striker on their wish list. In early June, the Cementeros were being linked to former Santos Laguna star Djaniny Tavares but the fees to buy out his contract with Saudi Arabian club Al-Ahli seem prohibitive.
Last season’s top striker – Milton Caraglio (12 goals) – has fully recovered from a broken hand he suffered during training several weeks ago. Cruz Azul is preparing for its SuperCopa MX match against Necaxa on July 14, and beyond that the Cementeros hope to end their 22-year Liga MX title drought.
The SuperCopa is one of two traditional matches that kick off the Apertura season. The SuperCopa pits the two Copa MX winners from the previous calendar year (Necaxa won the Clausura 2018, Cruz Azul claimed the Apertura 2018). The Campeón de Campeones match (also set for July 14) features the two previous league champions. This year América (Apertura 2018 champ) will face the Tigres (Clausura 2019 title winner). Both games will be held in Carson, California.
On Saturday, the Cementeros played a friendly match against Morelia in Frisco, Texas. The most heartening sight was Elías Hernández wearing the blue jersey again after missing most of last season with a knee injury. Starters defensive starters Adrián Aldrete, Pablo Aguilar and Julio César Domínguez saw action, as did goalie Jesús Corona.
Up front, Spaniard Edgar Méndez made an appearance as did newcomer Guillermo “Pol” Fernández. Another newcomer, defender Juan Escobar, will report to training camp next week after his participation in the Copa América with Paraguay. The same is true for Chile defender Igor Lichnovsky whose team lost to Argentina in the Copa América third-place match on Saturday.