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 By Nayib Moran

Apertura 2016 season-in-a-sentence preview: Can America reach the final?

Pachuca win Liga MX
Pachuca was crowned champion of the Clausura 2016.

After the excitement of the Clausura 2016, which saw Pachuca lift its sixth league title, the Apertura 2016 is upon us. Club America and Atlas will celebrate their centennials this season, and Monterrey and Tigres will hope to transform the city of Monterrey into Liga MX's center of attention. Here's a quick look at what to expect in the Apertura.

CLUB AMERICA: After failing to advance in two consecutive semifinals, Ignacio "Nacho" Ambriz will enter his second season as America head coach desperate to reach his first Liga MX final with Las Aguilas.

ATLAS: Similar to America, Atlas is also celebrating its 100th anniversary, and with Rafael Marquez leading the pack the club will try to make a surprise run to the playoffs.

CHIAPAS: Chiapas was marred by economic troubles a couple of months ago, and in an effort to maintain a place in Mexico's top-flight, the club sold key players like Silvio Romero, Aviles Hurtado and Francisco Silva.

CLUB TIJUANA: Head coach Miguel "Piojo" Herrera's primary goal should be a return to the formidable home form that Xolos used to enjoy and now miss.

CRUZ AZUL: Cruz Azul kept its attacking unit intact and made several defensive additions like Julian Velazquez, Adrian Aldrete and Enzo Roco in order to strengthen the Achilles heel of its Clausura 2016.

CHIVAS DE GUADALAJARA: With the arrival of Jose Juan "Gallito" Vazquez, Chivas will have one of the brightest trios of midfielders in Vazquez, Orbelin Pineda and Carlos "Gullit" Pena.

LEON: Head coach Luis Fernando Tena had an entire summer to carefully plan his offseason moves, and it paid off; Andres Andrade, Alexander Mejia and Maximiliano Moralez will now team up with Elias Hernandez, Mauro Boselli and others to give La Fiera a good enough squad to lift the title this season.

MORELIA: Letting go of young talent like Erick Aguirre (19 years old) and Armando Zamorano (22) -- who moved to Pachuca and Queretaro, respectively -- was the only way Morelia could be active in the transfer market, with its main addition being Peruvian forward Raul Ruidiaz.

MONTERREY: Los Rayados maintained the core group of players that challenged for the Clausura 2016, securing a spot as strong contenders to finish the regular season near the top of the table.

NECAXA: Necaxa is the new team on the block, but it performed like a team that has been in the first division for years by bringing in players like Edson Puch from LDU Quito, Marcelo Barovero from River Plate and Manuel Iturra from Rayo Vallecano. 

PACHUCA: With Hirving "Chucky" Lozano and Rodolfo Pizarro's future still up in the air, Erick Gutierrez will have to take on a more prominent leadership role, and let's not forget that he's only 21.

PUEBLA: Puebla's offseason was uninspiring, provoking a feeling that Los Camoteros might be one of the weakest clubs in the Apertura.

PUMAS UNAM: With Francisco Palencia as head coach, Pumas intend to return to the good old days when their academy was one of the best in the country.

QUERETARO: Ronaldinho's signing (and subsequent departure in June 2015) was just the beginning for Queretaro; Los Gallos Blancos will now look to become main protagonists with a squad that balances experience and youth from its academy. 

SANTOS LAGUNA: Since winning the 2015 Clausura title, Santos has lacked a consistent striker, but it hopes to change that with the addition of Jonathan Rodriguez -- who joined fresh off a loan spell with Deportivo La Coruna in Spain.

TIGRES UANL: Ismael Sosa is Tigres' main summer pickup, and with Balon de Oro winner Andre-Pierre Gignac still in the mix as the club's most important footballer, Los Auriazules will compete for the title.

TOLUCA: After parting ways with Jose Saturnino Cardozo, Toluca brought in another familiar coach in former goalkeeper Hernan Cristante, whose main task will be returning the club to its championship-winning ways.

VERACRUZ: If new head coach Pablo Marini can transmit his ideas to a group of players that at one point led Veracruz to consecutive Liguilla berths, Los Tiburones Rojos will be a fun team to watch.

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