Liga MX’s ‘Big 3’ in capital coming up small

America is on a 1-6-2 streak heading into the Apertura 2019 stretch run. (Photo by Cesar Gomez/Jam Media/Getty Images)
America is on a 1-6-2 streak heading into the Apertura 2019 stretch run. (Photo by Cesar Gomez/Jam Media/Getty Images) /
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América, UNAM and especially Cruz Azul have not lived up to their reputations this season.

Mexico City is home to three members of the so-called Liga MX “Big Four.” América, Cruz Azul and the UNAM Pumas have gloried pasts, with 28 Liga MX titles among them. But the three capital teams have come up short thus far in the Apertura 2019.

América and Cruz Azul were among the small group of tournament favorites and, with only five matchdays remaining, América appears to be the only Mexico City team headed for the playoffs.

Even so, the Aguilas have underperformed, winning only one of their past nine games. Six of these have ended in draws, including a 1-1 result at FC Juárez.

High-flying Eagles suddenly find wings clipped

América’s current 1-6-2 stretch is sad enough – and the two losses were bad ones: 3-0 at Atlas and 5-2 vs Cruz Azul at Estadio Azteca – but the Club América shield has also been tarnished by extra-curricular incidents.

Capital Big 3 struggling
América has only won once since Matchday 5 and is running out of time to reverse their fortunes. They still have to serve their bye this season. (Photo by Alvaro Avila/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

Coach Miguel Herrera is serving a three-game suspension after unleashing homophobic slurs against match officials following América’s embarrassing 5-2 loss to Cruz Azul. League rules stipulate a five-game ban, so naturally that prompted whispers that club owners Grupo Televisa influenced the decision.

Last weekend, América was alone among teams in not showing support to Veracruz players who staged an in-game protest over back wages due. Several Aguilas confessed that ownership – i.e., Televisa – ordered them not to take part.

The Aguilas have little time to worry about lost dignity because they have three tough games in the next week that will determine their playoff fate. América takes on visiting Puebla tonight, then visits San Luis (in an empty stadium) on Oct. 29 before hosting the league’s best offensive team, Santos, on Nov. 2. Coach Herrera will be back on the sideline for the date against Santos.

América has 22 points from 14 games, good for sixth place. Adding to the urgency for wins, the Aguilas serve their bye on the final weekend of the season, meaning they could be surpassed by teams on Matchday 19.