This past season has been one of the more memorable ones, and that’s saying a lot for a league as vibrant as Liga MX. We’ve seen the league expand (at least for the time being) to nineteen teams. Santos Laguna went unbeaten at home and walked away with the Superlíder even without a 10-goal scorer. Veracruz set a record for futility, almost caused a work stoppage, and may not be back for the Clausura.
On a personal level I’ve been fortunate to travel to two Liga MX games in two different cities, meet and talk with so many good people, and was given the honor of writing a column here at FutMexNation. I’m forever grateful to anyone who has supported me, and I hope I can repay your faith in me by continuing to give you my best writing week in and week out.
1.) Tijuana fell flat. Xolos needed points to have a shot at the Liguilla, and against rivals León they couldn’t deliver. Once again the team’s lack of discipline proved problematic when down 2-0, Leonel Miranda committed an egregious foul on Fernando Navarro and was shown a straight red card — Xolos’ seventh of the season. Even though Xolos were able to catch a break when Andrés Mosquera had to come off injured putting León down to ten players and Xolos got a goal late, they still couldn’t push themselves to salvage a draw at home. Things got ugly at the end of the game when the match was suspended for a few minutes due to a return of the infamous goalkeeper chant. When the play returned, Xolos had the momentum and were set to get another goal kick from León, but when the roar of the crowd signified that it would happen again and the game would be required to be abandoned, the referee blew the whistle for full time.
The fans will ask tough questions about Xolos and Óscar Pareja’s future during the winter break, but it’s also fair to ask questions of the fans. Their unwillingness to stop doing the chant even when it stopped the game and possibly cost the team a shot at the Liguilla should be highlighted to hopefully get the people doing it to think about the consequences their actions will have on their club.
2.) Surging Rayados makes the playoffs. Even if Xolos had won, it wouldn’t have been enough thanks to Monterrey beating Atlas 2-0. Rayados were unbeaten in their last five matches and have been playing the confident soccer their lineup demands but wasn’t producing results. Manager Antonio “Turco” Mohamed has come in and been able to right the ship, and few teams look as fearsome as Monterrey does right now. The only issue is that they’re going to face one of the other teams that are as fearsome as they are. Santos Laguna hasn’t lost in their last six and hasn’t lost at home since March. This should be as good a first round match-up as we’ve seen.
3.) Struggling Necaxa. Strange to think that just over a month ago Necaxa was sitting in first place and Los Rayos were looking like a tough draw in the Liguilla. Since then, they’ve lose two of three and plummeted to fifth on the table and will face off against Querétaro. Maximiliano Salas started off hot, scoring six goals in his first eight games with Rayos but hasn’t scored since and was subbed off at halftime in the 3-0 loss to Puebla. Luckily Mauro Quiroga has picked up a lot of that slack, tying Alan Pulido for the league’s goalscoring title, but he can’t do it all. If Necaxa can get Quiroga support, they stand a chance against Querétaro, otherwise it could be a quick postseason for what was once one of the best teams in the league.