The three teams that remain in Mexico City have had their ups and downs over the past few years, with Pumas and Cruz Azul having more of the latter than the former. However, this season seems different however — with all three in the top five of the table as of this writing. Understandably, it’s good for the league as a whole when the teams in the country’s biggest city and undisputed media capital are doing well and making things interesting.
Yes, this past week showed that both América and Pumas were vulnerable in major ways. Both teams had players sent off and lost 3-0, exposing how at risk each one is at being defeated. As for Cruz Azul, they won but the curse of the Cruz Azuleada will hang over them until they lift silverware.
1.) Pumas was doing ok against Tigres, until they weren’t – Pumas’ 3-0 loss to Tigres was ugly, and will probably be remembered most for André-Pierre Gignac’s worldie. It is worth pointing out though that Tigres scored all of their goals up a player and two of them were from the spot. During the majority of the first half, Pumas weren’t doing poorly against Tigres and it’s not out of the realm of possibility to think that if Luis Quintana doesn’t pick up a second yellow card they’d have played a much different second half. Two goals from two penalties (both of which were justified), and then a bit of Gignac magic for the third. Tigres should take stock that they got a 3-0 win against a good team while getting one of the best players in the league scoring again. Pumas on the other hand should focus more on how they did going into stoppage before half time and not how they did playing with ten.
¡PERO QUÉ 🐕 GOLAZO DE GIGNAC!
La chilena que nos acaba de regalar el francés es de otro planeta. SIN PALABRAS 🤩
— TUDN USA (@TUDNUSA) March 1, 2020
2.) América wasn’t ever in it against Necaxa – América was thoroughly outplayed at Estadio Azteca on Saturday, losing to Necaxa 3-0. Going down a player just 15 minutes in and going down a second player in the 54th, they were out of contention early. Both red cards were deserved, despite the protestations of América manager Miguel Herrera after the match. Bruno Valdez’ in the 15th minute was clumsy and a veteran center back should know better when entering a challenge like that. Santiago Cáseres’ tackle in the 54th was equally as egregious, although not nearly as potentially injurious as the one from Valdez. América will now be without two of their starters when they face Pumas next week (see above).
Miguel Herrera aprovechó las preguntas de un reportero para no hablar directamente del VAR.
— Eduardo Fernández (@LaloFdz17) March 1, 2020
3.) Cruz Azul wins although there’s controversy – Because Cruz Azul can’t have nice things, their win over Monarcas Morelia was marred by controversy. First Morelia was down 3-1 before Aldo Rocha made things interesting in the 84th with a goal of his own. Then minutes later as Morelia pressed for an equalizer, Sebastián Vegas was shown a second yellow card for a hard challenge. While the replays showed Vegas had won the ball cleanly, Morelia was forced to finish the match down a player. Then into stoppage time, Cruz Azul’s final change was brought under scrutiny because while it looked like defender Jaiber Jiménez was coming on for Jonathan Rodríguez (#21), defender Julio Domínguez (#4) was taken off instead, leaving Cruz Azul with Rodríguez still up top with Santiago Giménez, Orbelín Pineda, and Alex Castro. Castro would play Pineda through in the dying moments of the match to put it out of reach.
Vegas’ suspension for the coming week was overturned by the FMF, and the change card submitted and accepted by the fourth official has been the subject of much debate. Does it say Rodríguez or Domínguez? Is it a 4 or a 21? Blue dress or gold dress? Monarcas fans who were already feeling hard done for being put in the a position of being down a player would of course think it should have been Cabecita Rodríguez coming off, while Cruz Azul fans clearly think there nothing wrong occurred and that having poor penmanship isn’t an automatic disqualification for a career in soccer.
— Adolfo Peñaloza (@Adolfo_Penaloza) March 2, 2020