As if the Liga MX did not have a bad enough start to the month, some stadium issues are about to get complicated.
After a full-blown riot in the stands interrupted the Atlético San Luis-Querétaro match, it is a given that Liga MX officials will issue a ban on the Estadio Alfonso Lastras. Then again, we all thought Miguel Herrera would be given a 5-game ban for his shameful verbal attack on match officials as is stipulated in league rules (the América coach got only a wrist slap – a 3-game ban).
If we can anticipate the application of rules this time around, that means San Luis will have to look for an alternate site for its next home game. And since that game is against América (on Oct. 29), that could mean a hefty lost payday for club owners since they’ll have to rent a replacement venue.
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One of the options being considered by San Luis ownership is Estadio León in the nearby state of Guanajuato. But that just became more complicated.
As if things weren’t bad enough for the Liga MX, we learned this week that the León soccer team has been spun around by a Supreme Court ruling regarding who owns the local soccer stadium. The justices determined that the stadium is rightfully owned by Roberto Zermeño, the owner of the León franchise back in the 1990s. That effectively means the Esmeraldas must negotiate a new leasing agreement with Zermeño, if indeed the business tycoon is so inclined. It’s not clear what plans he has and how he’ll go about managing the situation with regard to La Fiera.
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Meanwhile, in Copa MX …
The group stage of the Copa MX is winding down and Tuesday night’s games produce a very rare result – a win by Veracruz. The Tiburones defeated the Alebrijes of Oaxaca 1-0 thanks to an early goal by Jesús Henestrosa.
The result actually keeps the Tiburones alive in the Copa MX though they sit in second place in Group 4 with 3 points and one more game to play. Toluca has already clinched first place with 12 points after winning all four of its matches. If Veracruz beats Oaxaca in two weeks they likely will qualify for the knockout rounds as one of the seven best second-place teams.
Sadly, the game was played in an empty stadium as owner Fidel Kuri preferred to limit potential protests as he continues to be vilified for the ruination he has brought upon the franchise. Liga MX officials reported on Monday that seven Tiburones players had filed formal grievances against Kuri and Veracruz over unpaid wages.
There are some worrisome reports about why only seven players have filed complaints. One rumor is that the players are willing to wait on Kuri’s promise to pay in full next week, particularly because he allegedly issued a warning that he’d only pay those who do not file grievances. Another story finds that Kuri has promised to pay the players in full if they earn 10 points by the end of the season.
The decision to close the doors to fans meant the Tiburones faithful did not get to witness the first win of the season by Veracruz. Coach Enrique Lopez Zarza used mostly scrubs against Oaxaca and there were no in-game protests such as those that were seen over the weekend (when players from both teams stood still for the opening 60 seconds of games).
The victory does not end its ignominious league winless streak, however, which hit 40 games after Friday’s controversial 3-1 loss to the Tigres. Incidentally, Tigres players have reported getting threats related to the lack of sportsmanship they showed their fellow professionals.
Elsewhere in the Copa MX, Santos set up an attractive showdown against the Chivas by spanking the Correcaminos 4-0 in Group 7 action. Santos now has 4 points, just two behind the Chivas and the two Liga MX clubs face off for the top spot in the group in Torreón on Nov. 6.
Santos – the current Liga MX league leaders – likely must win to get into the Copa MX knockout round. A draw would give the group title to Guadalajara and might be enough to allow the Guerreros to qualify for the Round of 16.
In Sinaloa, the Dorados clinched first place in Group 6 with a 2-1 win over Necaxa, playing a game in Culiacán’s Estadio Banorte just five days after an Ascenso MX game was postponed due to an eight-hour gun battle between a drug cartel and government security forces.
The result knocks Necaxa out of the Copa MX, and deservedly so. The Rayos started only one regular and one would think that the back-ups and academy players would be eager to impress their coach so as to be taken into consideration in league play. Instead, several hopeful players – especially Rodrigo Contreras, Alex Aguirre and José Plascensia – really hurt their standing.
In other Copa MX results, Tijuana clinched first place in Group 5 with a solid 2-0 win over Zacatecas. The Xolos finished group stage play with 9 points, trailed by Querétaro with 6 and Zacatecas finishes with 3 points. The 6 points for the Gallos Blancos almost certainly will allow them to advance to the knockout stage.