Liga MX coaching carousel continues spinning

Pedro Caixinha was dismissed by Cruz Azul after another disappointing performance by the Cementeros. (Photo by Carlos Ramirez/Getty Images)
Pedro Caixinha was dismissed by Cruz Azul after another disappointing performance by the Cementeros. (Photo by Carlos Ramirez/Getty Images) /

As the Apertura approaches the halfway point, Pedro Caixinha is out at Cruz Azul while Raul Arias is taking a management spot with Veracruz.

The Liga MX just completed the 8th of 18 league matchdays and the fourth coaching change of the Apertura 2019 has been registered.

Cruz Azul finally put an end to the Pedro Caixinha experiment as management and the Portuguese coach agreed to part ways. The Cementeros — a preseason title favorite — are only 2-4-2 and in 11th place after a 1-1 draw at home against the Chivas.

Caixinha was hired by the Cementeros before the Clausura 2018 and his tenure ends short of the two-year mark. Despite not ending the club’s long title drought (it will reach 22 years at the end of this season), Cruz Azul did win two trophies under the guidance of Caixinha – the Apertura 2018 Copa MX and the 2019 SuperCopa MX.

The intense coach also returned Cruz Azul to playoff relevance. The Cementeros had only been to the Liguilla once in the 12 seasons prior to Caixinha’s arrival. During his second season in charge, Caixinha led Cruz Azul to the top of the table and the team rode its No. 1 seed to the Finals, only to lose to America.

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Caixinha’s numbers with Cruz Azul were decent, but not acceptable considering the roster at his disposal. Overall, the Cementeros were 40-24-21 during his one year and nine months in charge.

Antonio Mohamed and Francisco Palencia are the two candidates most prominently mentioned as replacements. Mohamed worked with Cruz Azul team president Ricardo Pelaez, while Palencia came through the Cementeros academy system and starred for the club for eight seasons. He was a member of the team that won the league title in December 1997.

On Tuesday afternoon, one publication suggested that Pelaez might make a play for former Chivas manager Matias Almeyda who currently coaches San Jose in MLS.

Arias returns to Liga MX

On Monday, Veracruz announced that Raul Arias was joining their front office and many publications reported that he would take over as coach for the last-place Tiburones.

Then, true to the dysfunctional dynamic that Veracruz has exhibited the past several years, management sought to clarify that Arias was not the coach. Instead, the veteran manager would be filling the spot left vacant by Mario Trejo.

So Veracruz still has no coach as it battles to end its world record 34 game winless streak. The Tiburones have not won a game since Aug. 25, 2018, and it surpassed the former world record (32 games without a win) set by England’s Derby County in 2007-2008.

Arias brings considerable experience to the Veracruz front office, though his resume is thin on front office jobs. He won a league title as coach of Necaxa where he held the Tuneros from relegation and also led them to the Clausura 2006 Final before losing to Pachuca.

After those two successes, Arias had short stints with Guadalajara and Necaxa in 2009, then was out of coaching for two years. He returned with Estudiantes Tecos in 2011, but was unable to save them from relegation. After that, he had three short stints as general manager with amateur clubs, before taking a job with Peru’s Cienciano in 2012.

Arias then had two brief stays with lower division teams, the last with Tepatitlan of Morelos in 2017. It is believed that Arias will be a major actor in Veracruz’s coaching search, but there has been no news about progress since Enrique Meza resigned on Aug. 27 following the Tiburones’ 5-0 loss to Queretaro on Matchday 7.