Cementeros, Tuzos and Chivas face must-win games

This photo of Edgar Mendez encapsulates the Cementeros season thus far. (Photo by OMAR MARTINEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo of Edgar Mendez encapsulates the Cementeros season thus far. (Photo by OMAR MARTINEZ/AFP/Getty Images) /

Matchday 4 is rather early for teams to hit the panic button, but Cruz Azul and Pachuca are winless while Guadalajara must find consistency.

The Liga MX table is full of surprises. Neither the Cementeros of Cruz Azul nor Toluca have a win through three weeks, while Querétaro is undefeated and in second place.

The Matchday 4 schedule offers no great match-ups, but there are quite a few critical games that could impact several teams’ playoff aspirations. And it would be no surprise if the first pink slip of the season is handed out after the weekend.

Floundering Cementeros

Winless Cruz Azul faces a must-win game against lowly Juárez at the Estadio Azteca and if the Cementeros fail to collect all 3 points, coach Pedro Caixinha might want to start cleaning out his office. La Maquina is supposed to be a title contender, but the Cementeros have looked listless and ordinary while registering just 1 goal in three matches.

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Cementeros management just signed Ecuadorian striker Brayan Angulo from Emelec in an effort to address the scoring problems, but he won’t be available Saturday. Caixinha has talent on his roster, but he has not found the right line-up yet. Lumbering forwards like Milton Caraglio and Edgar Méndez have not produced and there has been little spark from playmakers Roberto Alvarado, Orbelín Pineda and Elías Hernández (still working into shape after last season’s knee injury). Caixinha needs to give “Pol” Fernández the keys to the offense and get out of the way. It’s “put up or shut up” time for the Cementeros.

Tuzos have dug a hole

Pachuca visits Querétaro on Saturday and Tuzos coach Martín Palermo might have to start updating his résumé. After going a perfect 8-0-0 at home last season, Palermo’s guys have lost both games at Estadio Hidalgo this season. The Tuzos have given up 8 goals through three games and their season is in serious jeopardy. Midfield star Edwin Cardona appears bored and uninspired. This could spell trouble since the Colombian has a history of becoming a malcontent, a situation – if it transpires – that could ruin the Apertura 2019 for Pachuca.

Also Saturday, the Chivas host Atlético San Luis and the result at Estadio Akron could determine the fate of coach Tomás Boy. The outcome of Wednesday night’s Copa MX match against Santos (also at Estadio Akron) will weigh heavily on Boy and the team heading into the weekend. One indication of the clubhouse disarray in Guadalajara was a report in Universal Deportes that suggests the team has not grasped coach Boy’s tactical approach. While defender Antonio Briseño insisted the Chivas want to play off the counter, striker Alan Pulido said the team has not been successful in its desire to sustain possession. Both could be true, I suppose, but Guadalajara can’t afford to give away any points at home against newly promoted San Luis.

Cementeros in trouble, Week 4
Giovani Dos Santos celebrates after scoring against Tijuana on Matchday 3. (Photo by RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images) /

The marquee game of the weekend is Sunday’s showdown at High Noon in the Infierno, aka Estadio Nemesio Díez, when América comes a-calling. Gio dos Santos could get his first start for the Aguilas now that striker Nico Castillo is out until November with a leg fracture. Coach Miguel Herrera – who will be matching wits with his mentor, Ricardo La Volpe – most likely will move Roger Martínez from wing into a more forward position and slot dos Santos (or another midfielder, like Nicolás Benedetti) just behind him. Although prodigal son Memo Ochoa is unlikely to be suited up for the game, his signing makes the Aguilas even more of an attraction. Toluca was expected to be a contender this season, but a home loss to the Gallos Blancos and a bad stumble against Juárez last week has the Diablos anchored to the bottom of the table. They will be desperate to show well in front of their rabid fans.

Below is this weekend’s schedule. In parentheses are the team’s point total, its goal differential and its spot in the standings. Last week’s results are listed with the home team coming first.


Monterrey (3 points, -2, 12th) at Morelia (3 points, -2, 13th)

Last week: Monterrey 3, León 2; Pachuca 1, Morelia 2

Atlas (6 points, +1, 6th) at Veracruz (1 point, -7, 19th)

Last week: Atlas 1, Santos 2; Necaxa 7, Veracruz 0

Pumas (6 points, +3, 4th) at Tijuana (4 points, 0, 9th)

Last week: Pumas 0, Tigres 1; América 3, Tijuana 1


Pachuca (1 point, -3, 17th) at Querétaro (7 points, +5, 2nd)

Last week: Pachuca 1, Morelia 2; Querétaro 3, Cruz Azul 0

Juárez (3 points, -2, 14th) at Cruz Azul (2 points, -3, 15th)

Last week: Juárez 2, Toluca 0; Querétaro 3, Cruz Azul 0

Necaxa (4 points, +5, 7th) at Tigres (6 points, +1, 5th)

Last week: Necaxa 7, Veracruz 0; Pumas 0, Tigres 1

Atlético San Luis (3 points, -1, 11th) at Guadalajara (4 points, -1, 10th)

Last week: San Luis had a bye; Puebla 1, Guadalajara 1


América (7 points, +4, 3rd) at Toluca (1 point, -1, 18th)

Last week: América 3, Tijuana 1; Juárez 2, Toluca 0

Puebla (1 point, -2, 16th) at Santos (9 points, +7, 1st)

Last week: Puebla 1, Guadalajara 1; Atlas 1, Santos 2

Bye: León (4 points, +1, 8th)