A wide open Liga MX could be the perfect recipe for Cruz Azul to end their Liga MX title drought


Sitting third within the desk and with a Cup remaining up subsequent, hopes are as excessive as they have been in a while at Cruz Azul.

Cruz Azul has, infamously, grow to be synonymous with discovering methods to lose from successful conditions, however proof from Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Club America suggests Pedro Caixinha’s group is primed for a title cost.

La Maquina, with no Liga MX title since 1997, hit the woodwork twice and held America to only two pictures on objective in a stalemate which pit the 2018 Apertura’s finest defensive group, Cruz Azul (11 objectives conceded), in opposition to its finest attacking unit, America (27 objectives scored).

It was a battle of attrition in entrance of over 62,000 within the Azteca, a tactical affair between two groups taking part in matching formations and for the highest spot in Liga MX. It made for a captivating 90 minutes and a recreation billed as probably the most essential of the season up to now ended with third-place Cruz Azul trying the safer in opposition to present leaders America. There definitely wasn’t a lot to be discouraged by from Caixinha’s group, aside from maybe a scarcity of probabilities created within the second half.

The Azteca draw was the warm-up for Cruz Azul for Wednesday’s Copa MX remaining in opposition to Monterrey and an opportunity to earn a trophy that would supply some momentum because the Apertura reaches its enterprise finish.

However there’s one more reason why La Maquina followers might be hopeful, no matter occurs within the Copa MX remaining. Liga MX is mostly identified for its parity relative to different leagues, however the 2018 Apertura is proving to be much more troublesome to outline than common.

After 14 rounds of video games and with 9 factors nonetheless on the desk, solely three factors separate the highest 5 groups. To go even additional, 16 of the 18 golf equipment nonetheless have a mathematical probability of constructing the highest eight and the postseason.

There simply hasn’t been one excellent group up to now this Apertura, with the general high quality sliding in comparison with earlier seasons.

First-place America is probably going the favourite on paper and Las Aguilas’ central midfield duo of Guido Rodriguez and Mateus Uribe is the perfect in Liga MX, virtually guaranteeing America will compete in video games. The assault — led by the inconsistent Roger Martinez — is way much less of a certainty and was blunted all too simply by Cruz Azul. Add in the truth that Herrera’s groups have by no means actually been nice within the postseason and Liga MX is as broad open because it has been in years.

Second-place Santos Laguna is probably the group Cruz Azul ought to concern probably the most.

Los Guerreros received the 2018 Clausura, however the gross sales of Nestor Araujo (Celta Vigo), Carlos Izquierdoz (Boca Juniors), Djaniny (Al-Ahli Saudi) and Jorge Villafana (Portland Timbers) appeared to herald a troublesome Apertura, particularly after coach Robert Siboldi left in early August after simply three video games.

Star striker Andre-Pierre Gignac has recently gotten going but something still seems off about Tigres.
Star striker Andre-Pierre Gignac has lately gotten going however one thing nonetheless appears off about Tigres.

However that hasn’t occurred. As an alternative, new signings Matheus Doria and Martin Nervo have slotted in at center-back and Uruguayan Jonathan Rodriguez has stepped as much as substitute Djaniny alongside in-form striker Julio Furch, the present favourite for participant of the season.

Santos Laguna’s 1-Zero win over Monterrey on Friday owed a debt of gratitude to a monumental miss by Rayados striker Guillermo Madrigal, in addition to the away facet’s harm disaster.

However there’s nothing lucky about Santos Laguna’s total dwelling document in 2018. Santos have solely misplaced as soon as inside Estadio Corona in that point (15-1-3) and have scored 43 objectives and conceded solely 14 over 19 Liga MX video games. Salvador Reyes’ group deserves to be up in second and acknowledged as very actual contenders for back-to-back championships.

In fourth, Pumas’ 1-Zero away win over Membership Tijuana on Saturday was indicative of the Mexico Metropolis membership’s season. A late Gustavo Alustiza strike earned the three factors, but it surely’s troublesome to shake the sensation that the victory had a certain quantity of luck, given Tijuana’s missed penalty and wastefulness in entrance of objective.

It’s, nonetheless, time to provide head coach David Patino reward for what he has achieved with what is way from the strongest squad in Liga MX.

Making up the remainder of the playoff spots at current are Toluca, Monterrey, Morelia and Tigres.

All 4 have been regulars within the Liguilla hunt over current seasons, however Tigres, down in eighth and barely keeping off challengers Pachuca, Queretaro and Puebla, are far beneath the place they need to be.

If Liga MX did not have a playoff construction, simply 5 wins from 14 video games could be thought-about a disastrous return for a membership nonetheless with the league’s strongest squad and a supervisor in Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti that many take into account the perfect in Mexico.

All that thought-about, it nonetheless would not be a shock if Tigres discover type and go on to win the Apertura given their high quality. The actual fact the facet has received the final 4 Apertura tournaments bodes nicely, however issues do not seem like proper on the membership. The squad and group could also be robust, however additionally it is unbalanced. The likes of Enner Valencia and Eduardo Vargas have usually been on the bench, whereas midfielder Jesus Duenas is taking part in left-back. Then there’s the central midfield conundrum: Guido Pizarro and Rafael Carioca present stability, however not a lot in the best way of creativity for a group nonetheless dominating possession, however not creating sufficient probabilities.

A 2-2 dwelling draw in opposition to Lobos BUAP — by which each Tigres’ objectives got here from goalkeeping errors from Antonio Rodriguez — on Saturday rightly drew discontent in Estadio Universitario. The late equalizer from Francisco “Maza” Rodriguez once more got here from a set piece, which have grow to be one thing of an Achilles heel for Tigres.

With so lots of the opposition flailing, it begs the query: Why not Cruz Azul?

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