Liga MX look-back: Matchday 13 unlucky for some

Orbelín Pineda celebrates after scoring Cruz Azul's fourth goal in his team's 5-2 win over América. (Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images)
Orbelín Pineda celebrates after scoring Cruz Azul's fourth goal in his team's 5-2 win over América. (Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

The Apertura 2019 resumes this weekend and some teams have had to wait an extra week to shake off the frustration of their last outing.

Before we turn our attention to Matchday 14 which marks the return to action of the Liga MX after the October FIFA break, let’s take a quick look back at Matchday 13.

Many of the things we thought we knew through the first two-thirds of the season have been thrown into doubt. There no longer appear to be sure things as 14 teams are still in the running for the eight postseason slots.

Matchday 13 losers

Matchday 13 review
Santos Laguna suddenly is firing blanks and, as a result, the explosive Guerreros have been shut out in their past two games. (Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

Santos Laguna started 4-0-0 and has been among the top three teams all season, thanks to the league’s most potent offense. On Matchday 13, the first-place Guerreros were routed by the Tigres, suffering their second consecutive shut-out and sliding into second place. Santos still boasts the league’s highest-scoring offense (tied with León and Pachuca at 2.17 goals per game), but we must wonder if they have simply hit a lull or if teams have figured out how to defend against them.

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In Mexico City, América was alone among the three local teams showing playoff potential. Despite playing through a number of injuries, the Aguilas were playing tough, smart soccer and seemed to have turned the corner after a 4-1 rout of the Chivas on Matchday 12. Striker Henry Martín had returned from injury row (though Gio dos Santos suffered a terrible injury) and slumping Cruz Azul was next on the schedule.

The Aguilas took a 2-1 lead over their Mexico City rival early in the second half, but then lost their composure. Roger Martínez was ejected for a flagrant elbow to the head of Cementeros midfielder Rafa Baca and the floodgates opened. Defender Bruno Valdez made a series of errors and Cruz Azul walked out of Estadio Azteca with a 5-2 win in the Junior Classic. Afterward, coach Miguel Herrera hurled insults at the referees and was subsequently suspended for three games. Suddenly, América seems vulnerable and their Matchday 13 opponent is league-leading Necaxa.

Matchday 13 in review
Monterrey has fallen down. The question now is, can they get back up? Here Rodolfo Pizarro goes to the ground under pressure from Querétaro’s Clifford Aboagye. (Photo by VICTOR CRUZ/AFP via Getty Images) /

Monterrey – a preseason favorite – continued its death spiral after firing coach Diego Alonso following the Matchday 12 debacle in the Clásico Regio. With interim coaches in charge, the Rayados came up short against Querétaro and have tumbled down into 14th place. The return of Antonio Mohamed will be closely scrutinized as Liga MX fans check in to see if “El Turco” can ignite a comeback in Monterrey.

Morelia had gone 4-1-1 since making a coaching change after Matchday 5, but stumbled at home coming off their Matchday 12 bye. The Monarcas built a 2-0 first-half lead against Necaxa, but fell apart in the final 45 minutes. The Rayos got two goals from Mauro Quiroga before Felipe Gallegos knocked home the winner in minute 84.

Heart-breaking finishes

Matchday 13 also provided some late-game heroics, with seven goals coming in the final 10 minutes of six games. In León, visiting Veracruz scored in minute 82 to take a 1-0 lead, but Esmeraldas skipper Luis Montes answered three minutes later to produce a draw. In Toluca, Jonatan Maidana popped home the equalizer in minute 85 to ruin Puebla’s afternoon.

Three games saw goals scored in added time, including a 91st-minute winner by Nico Ibáñez to give Atlético San Luis a 2-1 win at FC Juárez and end the Tuneros’ three-game losing streak.

Matchday 13 in review
UNAM’s Carlos González exults after scoring a goal in added time to earn the Pumas a draw in Guadalajara. (Photo by Alfredo Moya/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

In Guadalajara, Carlos González scored in minute 90+1, allowing the Pumas to steal a point from the Chivas and denying Luis Fernando Tena his first win as coach of El Rebaño Sagrado. A tough blow for long-suffering Chivas fans.

Atlas went even longer into injury time, getting a game-tying goal in minute 90+7 to give Tijuana’s home fans a real gut punch. Manu Balda lined up a shot from 30+ meters as time was running out on the visiting Zorros and his left-footed blast rippled the net just before the final whistle. The result kept the Xolos from climbing back into a playoff position, and both Atlas and Tijuana are tied on 18 points. That has them tied with 7th-place Pachuca and 8th-place UNAM, but trailing on goal differential.