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2015 Liga MX Clausura - Week 1 roundup

Week 1 started with many upsets and surprises throughout the weekend. All eyes were on defending Apertura 2014 Champions Club America as well as their big rival Chivas whom were looking to revamp a sluggish Apertura 2014 tournament.

Friday’s action saw Veracruz go into Santos Laguna’s TSM and come away with an extremely valuable 3 points. Colombian striker Leiton Jimenez did what he could not do all of last season, scoring 2 goals while catapulting Veracruz from a 1-0 deficit and defeating the laguneros 2-1. Elsewhere Toluca went Into the Morelos stadium to visit Monarcas, the result of the match ending in a snoozer 0-0 tie.

Things ramped up on Saturday with Club America receiving Club Leon in a showdown that showed Club America manager Gustavo Matosas debuting against his previous club. A few defensive mistake saw Club America ahead 2-0 before minute 8 with two goals from Oribe ‘El Hermoso’ Peralta. America’s Moises Velasco would score an own goal minute 24. Mauro Boselli is no stranger to scoring headers against America and did just that to tie things up minute 39. During the second half America played an impressive game, quite similar to the showing against a preseason match vs. Monterrey. This great style of play culminated with a great heal from Peralta to Osvaldo Martinez, who then crossed to Darwin Quintero for a splendid volley into the net. The score could have been much higher without Leon goalkeeper William Yarbrough who notably had a point blank save when Dario Benedetto blasted a header to the goal.

Surprisingly Chivas left off two notable key elements for Saturday’s game in the Estadio Victor M. Reyna against Jaguares. These two players were Cubo Torres and Fernando Arce who were sent to play with the U-20 squad. The match started intense with both sides giving it their all. A weak point in Chivas’ defense seems to have been Carlos Salcido whom was beat up the baseline multiple times. Salcido was far from the man we once admired and this reflected in an unfortunate bounce which deflected off of Salcido and into the net giving Jaguares the lead at the 59 minute mark. Chivas bounced back and did not give up showing poise. This perseverance helped bring luck to Chivas when veteran striker Omar Bravo had a ball deflect off of him and into the net thus tying things up. Chivas manager Chepo de la Torre then made a bold substitution by subbing off star transfer Conejo Brizuela. With only 4 minutes left in regulation time, Aviles Hurtado shocked the Chivas nation and made things 2-1 in favor of Jaguares.

Elsewhere in Saturdays matches

Tigres had many suspended players due to the incidents from the Clausura 2014 final vs. Club America. Notable suspensions included goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman as well as key midfielder Damian Alvarez. Tigres dominated most of the match with a peak point at the 70 minute mark when Tigres would nearly score however Federico Vilar came away with a monstrous save. Atlas whom on paper was the underdog went on and shocked the ’El Volcan’ when Brambila would score off of an assist from returning Atlas idol Juan Pablo Rodriguez. Tuca Ferretti has much work to do if he expects to bring back Tigres to the liguilla final.

Cruz Azul and Tuzos faced off in Pachuca. There was a hail delay but fortunately the Pachuca staff did a great job and reduced the delay to merely an hour. Cruz Azul’s star Roque Santa Cruz did not disappoint and fed an assist to Joao Rojas. Cruz Azul tactically outclassed Pachuca and held a strong counterattack presence although they could not score again. Cruz Azul ended up running away with the 1-0 victory.

Puebla’s 2015 squad is day and night compared to the 2014 apertura squad. With Michael Orozco in defense and Luis Gabriel Rey up front Puebla seemed all around more rounded and that reflected on the field. Alustiza would score 2 goals, 1 of them a PK, before Tijuana’s star striker Dayro Moreno would blast a goal to reduce the deficit to 2-1. Superstar veteran Cuauhtemoc Blanco would sub in late in the second half for Puebla as they squeaked by and held the lead. Notably Puebla will be playing in crosstown rivals Lobos BUAP’s stadium while their stadium undergoes renovation for this season.

Sunday’s action saw UNAM hosting a re-invented Gallos Blancos. Gallos were without their superstar Ronaldinho whom is still under a preseason regime to be up to par with his teammates. UNAM would go into the match looking to replace the Pikolin brothers with youngster goalkeeper Saldivar as well as Uruguayan center back Gerardo Alcoba. Ismael Sosa would put UNAM up at minute 17. After spending 1 year in the liga de Ascenso with Zacatecas once promising star Edgar Pacheco subbed in minute 49 and immediately scored at the 50 minute mark. Pacheco would nearly score again however Saldivar would claw away the opportunity. The match ended with a pleasant 1-1 draw.

Ending week 1 was Monterrey visiting Leones Negros. Monterrey manager Carlos Barra chose to leave new signings Yimmi Chara and Carlos Cardona on the bench however did start new signing Pablo Barrera. The first half was very mild with Leones Negros striker Andy Rios having a few shots that stirred up the Monterrey defense. During the second half Ecuador international Fidel Martinez once again carried Leones Negros to victory thus leaving catapulting out of the bottom of the relegation zone.
The positive: Young Mexican born players getting playing time despite the “infestation” of foreign born players. Notable youngsters Candido Ramirez of Monterrey, Francisco Rivera of Club America, Simon Almeida of Pachuca and Alfredo Saldivar of UNAM.

The negative: Chivas could not bounce back from a horrid Apertura 2014 season and to their surprise every single team that is in relegation zone got a victory. To make matters worse during the post game press conference the media saw a reminiscence of the 2013 Chepo de la Torre. We could be wrong, but a coach with negative vibes is definitely not a coach that is useful in times of crisis. There will be no Piojos or ‘playoff games’ that can save this team… as of yet. Let’s not forget that controversial ‘promotion’ game in 2000 due to ‘league expansion’ that the league made up to give Atlante one last shot to remain in first division.
 

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