Season in Review: The Liga MX coaching carousel

Antonio Mohamed (left) has succeeded Diego Alonso (right) as coach of Monterrey. In this photo, the two chat before Mohamed's Monterrey team faced Alonso's Pachuca side in 2018. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images)
Antonio Mohamed (left) has succeeded Diego Alonso (right) as coach of Monterrey. In this photo, the two chat before Mohamed's Monterrey team faced Alonso's Pachuca side in 2018. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images) /

Through Matchday 13, seven of the 19 Liga MX franchises have replaced their coach.

The Liga MX remains on hiatus until next weekend, a perfect time to look back at the Apertura 2019 so far. In this installment of Season in Review, we’ll scrutinize coaches.

Antonio Mohamed will return to the Liga MX sidelines on Matchday 14, summoned to coach the Rayados of Monterrey after Diego Alonso was sacked on Sept. 30 following a 2-0 home loss to bitter rivals Tigres. José Treviño and Héctor Becerra acted as interim managers for the Rayados in their 2-1 loss to Querétaro on Oct. 6.

Liga MX coaching carousel
San Jose Earthquakes head coach Matias Almeyda has been recruited by at least two Liga MX teams this season. (Photo by Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The rumor mill churned out stories relating how Monterrey sought to recruit former Chivas coach Matías Almeyda, breathlessly informing us of his decision to remain with MLS club San Jose. Almeyda had earlier been a target for Cruz Azul after the Cementeros canned Pedro Caixinha on Sept. 2 and there was speculation that the Chivas would woo Almeyda when they were looking for a new coach late last month. After all, the Argentine manager led the Chivas to their most recent Liga MX title.

Other names floated for the Rayados position were Mexico’s all-time best player Hugo Sánchez (he managed the Pumas to back-to-back Liga MX titles in 2004) and former Real Betis coach Quique Setién. Instead, Monterrey management settled on a Mohamed reprise. “El Turco” coached the Rayados from January 2015 through May 2017, enjoying considerable success but always falling short of a title (unless you consider the Copa MX a valuable piece of hardware).

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Mohamed becomes the seventh new Liga MX coach during the Apertura 2019. Falling by the wayside before Alonso was pink-slipped were Tomás Boy (Chivas), Alfonso Sosa (Atlético San Luis), Pedro Caixinha (Cruz Azul), Enrique Meza (Veracruz), Javier Torrente (Morelia) and José Luis Sánchez Solá (Puebla).

Of the seven new coaches hired by Liga MX, only two are debutantes. It’s apparent that Liga MX front offices prefer to recycle coaches instead of taking chances on new blood.

Juan Reynoso (Puebla) and Pablo Guede (Morelia) are the newbies and the two have had considerable success since taking the reins at their respective teams. When Guede – a 44-year-old Argentine – took over in Morelia, the Monarcas were 1-0-4 in 15th place. The Michoacanos promptly went on a 5-game unbeaten streak, winning four matches and reviving their once-dead playoff hopes.

Liga MX coaching carousel
Juan Reynoso took over as head coach at Puebla before Matchday 6 and he has his Camoteros playing well of late. (Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

Reynoso, a Peruvian and long-time defensive stalwart with Cruz Azul, took a bit longer to get Puebla moving in the right direction. The Camoteros are undefeated in their past three games, however, with wins over last season’s finalists: 1-0 at Tigres and 2-1 over León.

Counting Mohamed, the other five new coaches had managed at least two other Liga MX teams before taking on their new jobs. Also, except for Enrique López Zarza (Veracruz), they had all won at least one Liga MX title: Chivas coach Luis Fernando Tena (2), Atlético San Luis coach Gustavo Matosas (2), Mohamed (2) and Cruz Azul manager Robert Siboldi (1).

Mohamed will be expected to insert the Rayados back into the playoff chase (they are 2 points out of a playoff spot with five games remaining). “El Turco” will then have to meet the challenge of a Club World Cup in December.

It will be interesting to see how many – if any – of the seven new coaches can guide their teams to the Liga MX playoffs. Siboldi and Mohamed are under the most pressure, but “El Flaco” Tena might not get to keep his job at Guadalajara if he doesn’t pull off a miracle. The Chivas are facing a fifth straight season without a Liguilla since winning the Clausura 2017 title under Almeyda. The team is also mired in a relegation battle, an unseemly state of affairs for “El Rebaño Sagrado.”

Taking over a job midseason does not include a guarantee that you will see out your contract. Mohamed, for instance, reportedly signed a 2-year deal with an option for another year. But if the Rayados fail to reach the postseason and get off to a slow start next season, “El Turco” Act II could be short-lived. We need only look to last season for proof.

Of the 10 coaching changes made during the Clausura 2019, only five remain on the job. Martín Palermo (Pachuca), Víctor Manuel Vucetich (Querétaro), Leandro Cufre (Atlas), Guillermo Almada (Santos) and Ricardo La Volpe (Toluca). And La Volpe is the odds-on favorite to be the next coach fired as his Diablos Rojos are languishing in 15th place with only 3 wins in 13 matches.