Liga MX Best XI - Week 3: Jimenez shines
In a week where the only one Mexican national team player who took the step to move abroad has been there before, others stepped forward to prove that they can still develop at home in Liga MX. For that matter, so can foreigners who play in the league. Here's the best XI from the past weekend.
Raul Jimenez, Club America: Who says distractions are a bad thing? Jimenez seems to have decided that the best way to push up his price for a transfer to Europe is to perform well.
He was unstoppable versus Puebla, scoring three goals. The young forward has always had talent, but sometimes it seemed that it was easier for him to score spectacular goals rather than doing the simple things needed to generate space and score consistently. Now he is really putting it together.
Jimenez was such a threat on goal at all times that his attacks helped open up space for the new Aguilas signing, Oribe Peralta, to finally open up his club account in the 4-0 win. However, it remains to be seen whether Jimenez can keep up a high level against stronger competition than Puebla.
Camilo Sanvezzo, Queretaro: There's a reason Queretaro saw fit to poach Sanvezzo away from Major League Soccer: when injury-free, he can really play. A tidy performance against Pachuca, when he scored one goal and assisted on another in a 2-0 victory offers a example of how this small Brazilian forward is a huge asset.
Luis Caballero, Atlas: Sure, Atlas shared the scoring duties in a 4-2 barn-burner against Chiapas FC, but the crucial go-ahead goal was put in by the Paraguayan. Caballero also had a good game all around to help Atlas make relegation troubles a distant memory.
Carlos Pena, Leon: Perhaps knowing Marquez is moving on spurred Pena to remember his own dreams of Europe. Or perhaps he just woke up and realized that with Marquez leaving, and Luis Montes still on the recovery track, it's past time for him to step up for the defending champions. Whatever the motivation, "Gullit" played like his namesake, scoring a goal as Leon ran rampant in the second half against Morelia, winning 4-0.
Alfonso Gonzalez, Atlas: It's easy to overlook when the final score is 4-2, but Atlas was twice down a goal to Chiapas. It was Gonzalez who first got Atlas on the board with an excellent free-kick goal. His play throughout the match also contributed greatly to the victory.
Antonio Naelson, Queretaro: At 38, Sinha is still pulling the strings to make things happen on the field. He hasn't lost his feistiness, either, earning a yellow card against Pachuca. Now, the veteran is combining well with Sanvezzo to make Queretaro's attack more formidable.
Paul Aguilar, Club America: Perhaps inspired by the recent heroics of Pablo, the Mexican defender decided it was time to show what another Aguilar can do -- assist in both attacking and defending by creating chances with his speedy agile play on the edges of the field.
Juninho, Tigres: The veteran central defender was responsible for his team's only goal against Tijuana in a hard-fought 1-1 draw. The Xolos are a lively squad, but Tigres was able to hold on. When Juninho saw his chance on a corner kick, he took his goal well.
Carlos Izquierdoz, Santos Laguna: The Laguneros don't have Peralta in their attack any more, but even if they aren't scoring the goals needed to win more games, the team has figured out that they can't lose if they don't allow any goals, either. The Argentine central defender was a key part of the clean sheet in the nil-nil game against Monterrey, a team that has looked strong this season.
Juan Gonzalez Ibarra, Leon: Of course the attackers are going to get most of the glory in a 4-0 win, but for Leon to turn their season around, the defenders had to play a key role. It was Ibarra and his cohorts who kept Leon in the game during the first half when their offense hadn't quite clicked yet.
Edgar Hernandez, Veracruz: The goalkeeper made nine saves against a strong Cruz Azul team. He also organized his defense well to repel attacks. The point the team gutted out in the scoreless draw may be a precious one come playoff time.
Andrea Canales covers both Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Follow her on Twitter @soccercanales.