Pumas' hot start continues, Cruz Azul gets massive win in Week 2
Two weeks have come and gone in the nascent Clausura 2018 in Mexico, and already some captivating storylines have grabbed fans' attention. In true Liga MX fashion, there's much to be talked about both on and off the pitch. Here's what we learned after another weekend of play:
Pumas continues its comeback trail with a home win
For a moment, it seemed like the days of yore at the Estadio Olimpico when Pumas dominated an Atlas team that looked overmatched from the start of the match.
Following a horrendous Apertura 2017, Pumas is off to a great start in 2018 with two quick wins to put them at the top of the table after a pair of fixtures.
Matias Alustiza is proving quite the offseason signing for UNAM, and he's quickly developed a rapport with striker Nico Castillo to deliver plenty of danger into opposing boxes. Castillo, for his part, remains one of the most feared strikers in Mexico, combining raw power with fantastic ball movement and finishing ability.
Ravel Morrison scored a wonderful free kick for Atlas near the end, but the Guadalajara side will need to step up its defensive efforts to contend this season. There were too many gaps for Pumas players to exploit on Sunday, and Atlas paid the price dearly in a 3-1 loss.
Cruz Azul is starting to click with Caixinha
One of the more exciting offseason moves in Mexico was Cruz Azul's signing of Portuguese manager Pedro Caixinha. The former Rangers boss and Liga MX champion with Santos Laguna got to work quickly, signing players fitting his style and seeking to build on Paco Jemez's body of work.
After a 0-0 draw to open the season against Tijuana, Cruz Azul dominated Chivas in Guadalajara and eased to a 3-1 win despite being down in the first half.
Bolstered by an iffy penalty call on Carlos Fierro, La Maquina stepped up their game in the second half and their momentum carried them to two second half goals -- including a final score on an empty net, when Matias Almeyda was forced to move goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota up for set pieces in search of a potential draw.
It's still early, but Cruz Azul looks the part of a contender with their new manager at the helm.
Defensive woes cost America
It's not encouraging for Club America fans to see their team address offensive woes by signing the likes of Jeremy Menez and Andres Ibarguen, only to watch their defensive players falter at the start of the new campaign.
America was ahead twice at the Azteca against Pachuca on Saturday, only to see goalkeeper Marchesin cough up their 1-0 lead on an errant clearance attempt, and Edson Alvarez whiff on coverage towards the end of the match when they were up 2-1.
By the way, America's new signings might have trouble breaking into the lineup if Henry Martin and Darwin Quintero keep playing the way they have. Martin, recently signed from Tijuana, has scored twice in two games and is connecting well with Oribe Peralta and Quintero up front.
Pachuca, on the other hand, continues to be a tough opponent for America -- Los Tuzos have not lost at the Estadio Azteca since 2014.
Tigres bounces back
After an embarrassing opener against Puebla, UANL showed a bit of why they captured the Apertura 2017 crown by beating a determined and talented Santos Laguna team.
Ismael Sosa put the champs ahead in the first half, but an early second half strike from Djaniny levelled it up. Later, French dynamo Andre Pierre Gignac justly gave his team the win with a goal in the 69th minute.
Tigres attempted 23 shots on goal, putting Jonathan Orozco under duress for most of the game, exploiting avenues on the wings with Sosa and Javier Aquino, who had no problem getting around Santos' wing-backs on Saturday night.
Though Tigres is a notoriously slow starter, it was nice to see the team show a better level of play than the one displayed in the first game of the season. Santos, despite the loss, showed they have the potential to get back in the Liguilla this season with a sober system dependent on balance in the midfield and speed up front.
Eric Gomez is an editor for ESPN's One Nación. You can follow him on Twitter: @EricGomez86.