Headed for the final turn, Liga MX teams are halfway through this week’s double-dose of games.
We have little time between Matchday 11 and Matchday 12 to catch our breath, so here is an effort to make some sense out of what we’ve seen across the Liga MX from this Midweek Matchday.
In summation, Santos is for real, Necaxa is a genuine contender, América and Tigres are lurking in the shadows and Cruz Azul should start planning for the Clausura 2020.
League-leading Santos beat the crap out of last-place Veracruz to the tune of 5-0. The Guerreros got goals from four different players and Tiburones defender Carlos Salcido added an own goal for good measure. Santos leads the league with 26 goals (2.6 per game) and they enjoy a 3-point lead over Necaxa who has yet to serve their bye.
The Rayos stole into Querétaro and took all 3 points from the host Gallos Blancos, demonstrating that the team from Aguascalientes is a playoff threat. Coach Memo Vázquez has his team playing an aggressive attacking game but his schemes for protecting late leads need considerable work. Necaxa built a 2-0 lead in the second half, but spent the final 20 minutes scrambling around in confusion after dropping back into a 9-man defensive shell. Still, with 7 games remaining on their schedule and only 7 points needed to reach the magic number of 27, it would seem the Rayos will be a playoff participant this season.
América and the Tigres are heading into their respective Clásicos in indifferent fashion. The Aguilas will take on the Chivas Saturday having suffered only one loss in their past six Liga MX matches after battling upstart FC Juárez to a 1-1 draw. However, the five non-losses during América’s unbeaten are all ties. So the Aguilas have slipped into fifth place, 5 points behind Santos and a bye still to come.
The Tigres, meanwhile, just saw their league-high 7-game unbeaten streak come crashing to an end with an embarrassing 1-0 home loss to Puebla. As with América, the bulk of the Tigres unbeaten streak was built on draws (they were 2-5-0), so they have been treading water in the standings. They now are in 9th place (but have already served their bye) but head into Saturday’s match against cross-town rivals Monterrey with serious issues and a winless streak that dates back to Aug. 10.
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Two team seemingly going through the motions played to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday: Monterrey perhaps because it has a big game coming up and Cruz Azul because they simply have no clue. The Rayados host the Tigres in the Clásico Regio and the word is that coach Diego Alonso has been given an ultimatum – Win or start packing! Although Monterrey is in 5 th place, they have been unconvincing and inconsistent this season. The Rayados have 5 losses thus far after losing only 3 times last season. And the losses at Juárez and San Luis are unacceptable to ownership. On Wednesday at Estadio Azteca, coach Alonso used an experimental line-up so his starters would be fresh for the Tigres.
Cruz Azul, on the other hand, is in 14th place with only 2 wins and have picked up the annoying habit of squandering late leads. Five times this season, the Cementeros have failed to protect a late second-half lead five times, tying four and losing one. Despite a big payroll, Cruz Azul does not appear to have a plan. They have no reliable scorer this season and unforced errors have cost them badly. In their last game, goalie Jesús Corona threw a terrible outlet pass in minute 87 that led directly to the tying goal and, against Monterrey, midfielder Rafa Baca flubbed an easy play on defense, failing to cut out a pass right at his feet, and the Rayados were gifted the equalizer.
Elsewhere, Morelia finally lost a game. Since firing Javier Torrente after a Matchday 5 loss, the club had gone 4-1-0 and had given up only 1 goal in that span. Coach Pablo Guede and the Monarcas stumbled against a poor Tijuana team, losing 3-2 to end their streak. Still, Morelia finds itself in 6th place though it has yet to serve its bye.
Liga MX Matchday 11 Results
Querétaro 1, Necaxa 2
Tigres 0, Puebla 1
Guadalajara 2, Pachuca 4
León 1, Atlas 1
Santos 5, Veracruz 0
FC Juárez 1, América 1
Cruz Azul 1, Monterrey 1
Tijuana 3, Morelia 2