Monday Musings: From ‘Tata’ Martino to Matosas

Team Mexico coach Gerardo Martino has a 10-1-0 record since taking over in January. (Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images)
Team Mexico coach Gerardo Martino has a 10-1-0 record since taking over in January. (Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images) /

Midway through the FIFA break, El Tri is in the spotlight while Liga MX teams prepare for the resumption of the Apertura 2019.

Gerardo “Tata” Martino has already set a national team record as the coach to reach 10 wins in the fewest amount of games. Martino is 10-1-0 in charge of El Tri since taking over in January, hitting double figures in wins when Mexico manhandled Team USA on Friday night.

The record for best start as manager of El Tri is held by José Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre who went 10-4-0 in his first 14 games as head coach in 2011. The all-time record for most consecutive games without a loss is held by Ricardo La Volpe who guided Team Mexico through 21 games without a loss in 2004-2005.

Martino faces a big challenge on Tuesday night in San Antonio as Team Mexico faces one of their coach’s former teams – Argentina. Martino coached “La Albiceleste” from 2014 to 2016, taking the Lionel Messi-led squad to the World Cup final in 2014 (losing to Germany in overtime) and the Copa América finals in 2015 and 2016 (losing to Chile on penalty kicks both times).

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Mexico will be without five players from the 31-man roster Martino started the FIFA break with. Defenders Luis “Chaka” Rodríguez and César Montes were held out from the U.S. match due to injuries and are not yet fit; midfielder Rodolfo Pizarro underwent surgery for appendicitis; Erick Gutiérrez suffered a broken hand in training on Sunday and Andrés Guardado got permission to go home to be with his wife for the birth of their second child.

Messi will not be available for Argentina as he is rehabbing a lingering leg injury, but the South American club has only lost five of their previous 34 meetings with El Tri. Argentina has an impressive 15-14-4 record against Mexico and the last time El Tri defeated Argentina was July 10, 2004. Ramón Morales fired home a beauty of a free kick in minute 8 as Mexico defeated “La Albiceleste” 1-0 in a Copa América group stage match.

Liga MX friendly

More than 60,000 fans filed into Chicago’s Soldier Field to witness a Super Clásico only to go home disappointed. Although the intensity of the match was undeniable, the skill level was lacking, especially in the attacking third on both sides of the field.

From Martino to Matosas
Chivas forward Oribe Peralta, (left) played against his former teammates for the first time since leaving América over the summer. (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images) /

América played with a back-up squad, opting to rest most of their front-line players. The only regulars to start the game were defenders Paul Aguilas and Emanuel Aguilera. Chivas coach Tomás Boy does not have the luxury of giving his players time off since they are struggling to find a rhythm, having fallen into 15th place in the Liga MX standings.

The game ended in a scoreless draw though the Chivas might have come out of the game worse for wear as captain Jesús Molina limped off the field with an apparent thigh injury that could keep him out of the Clásico Tapatío this coming Saturday.

San Luis set to sign Matosas

A week after the controversial sacking of coach Alfonso Sosa, Atlético San Luis appears to have found his successor. Gustavo Matosas arrived in Mexico Monday and is expected to sign a contract to manage the Tuneros.

From Martino to Matosas
Gustavo Matosas poses with the Apertura 2013 trophy after León defeated América in the Final. (Photo by Hector Vivas/LatinContent/ Getty Images) /

Sosa guided San Luis to the Ascenso MX championship last season, earning the club direct promotion to Liga MX and has the team in respectable position through 8 matches (3-2-2, and in 10th place despite already having their bye). The Tuneros are also in first place in their Copa MX group, ahead of the Pumas.

Until last week, Matosas was the manager of Costa Rica’s national team, and he is familiar with Liga MX. The Uruguayan manager led León to back-to-back titles in 2013-2014, guided América to a Concacaf Champions League title in 2015 and also coached Atlas.

Matosas already has a connection to the city of San Luis Potos. His father – Roberto Matosas – played defense for San Luis from 1972-1974.