America is in first place but desperate to tweak its roster further before the transfer window closes.
There are only two undefeated teams in Liga MX and one of them – America – is scrambling to fill “holes” in its all-star roster. Querétaro and the Aguilas are 4-1-0 through five weeks, leading the league with 13 points, though the Gallos Blancos are in first on goal differential.
The Gallos – labeled an also-ran before the season – are a revelation at the top of the table as coach Víctor Manuel Vucetich has managed his roster brilliantly thus far. America – a popular pick to win the title – is still undergoing roster upheaval.
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America still looking for help
Stalwart midfielder Edson Álvarez left for Ajax at the beginning of the Apertura, then the league’s best goalie, Agustín Marchesín, and midfielder Mateus Uribe were signed away by Porto. Over the summer, captain Oribe Peralta was sent to the Chivas.
The Aguilas have countered these losses with splashy acquisitions. Gio dos Santos inked a big deal in early August and national team goalie Guillermo Ochoa was acquired though he has yet to see action. Midfielder Fernando González came over from Necaxa but is not contributing much.
Now, it seems Real Betis is negotiating for Guido Rodríguez, the heart and soul of America’s defense. Guido was named the league MVP each of the last two seasons and he sets the tone for the Aguilas with his rugged play as a holding midfielder and his timely goals.
Over the weekend, coach Miguel Herrera said the team is angling for two more players, one of whom could possibly be former Aguila Diego Reyes. Reyes has been utilized as a holding midfielder with El Tri so he could be an ideal replacement should Guido depart.
But America might also be looking for a playmaker/scorer to pick up the slack for the injured Nico Castillo. Aguilas management is apparently looking to dump injury-prone French striker Jeremy Menez while also recognizing that Dos Santos has fitness issues too.
Still, it seems a bit odd that a first-place team is the subject of stories about how it needs to fill holes in its roster.
Tigres recruiting Reyes, too
The defending champs were linked with Diego Reyes before America jumped into the fray over the weekend. The Tigres made a pitch to the midfielder/defender before the summer while he was training with El Tri, but Reyes said he wanted to stay in Europe.
This weekend, Fenerbahce officially removed him from their roster and making him a free agent. With most European leagues already under way, it is doubtful he could latch onto another club there, so a return to Liga MX could be imminent.
The Tigres want Reyes to bolster their diminished defense. Central defender Francisco Meza tore up his knee before the season and Carlos Salcedo has missed games due to injury this year. With Leagues Cup matches this year and Concacaf Champions League games next spring, coach Tuca Ferretti is desperate to have depth on his back line, especially since he has been known to utilize a 5-4-1 formation.
First pink slips of the Apertura
Puebla axed coach José Luis Sánchez Solá after the Camoteros 4-0 home loss to Pachuca on Friday night, and a day later Javier Torrente was sent packing after Morelia lost 1-0 at América on Saturday. A record 10 coaches were fired during the Clausura 2019.
Puebla is in 18th place with a 0-1-3 record and a -9 goal differential, while Morelia is 1-0-4. Still, Torrente seems to have gotten a raw deal. The Monarcas roster is quite modest and fought tremendous battles against Monterrey and América the past two weeks, losing to each of these title contenders by the slimmest of margins.
Veracruz … again
After months of legal wrangling over unpaid wages and a refusal to pay part of a transfer fee, Veracruz appeared to have straightened out its finances. Owner Fidel Kuri even shelled out 120 million pesos to avoid demotion to Ascenso MX.
On the field, the Tiburones have not won a Liga MX match in nearly a year and are clearly the worst team in the league. Last season, they made history by finishing with 0 points. Over the weekend, the players association revealed that the club has fallen behind on its payroll again. No word from Liga MX officials if any action has been taken.