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Jul 21, 2014

Takeaways from Apertura kickoff

Tijuana opened the Apertura at home with a 1-0 loss to Puebla after giving up an early goal in the 9th minute to Luis Loroña.

What a short break it was.

Just five days after Germany lifted the World Cup trophy, the Liga MX season started. Most Mexico fans will see this as a nice distraction after the infamous drama that surrounded El Tri's exit from the tournament in Brazil.

The Apertura season kicked off with a few surprises and an unpredictable amount of red cards. With the transfers that were made over the summer and the introduction of a new squad, this season should prove to once again be compelling.

Here are five takeaway stories and events from the first weekend.

1. Leones Negros' problems in defense

Leones Negros were impressive during the first moments of their match against Monterrey. They attacked confidently and seemed poised to alter any and every expectation that was thrown at them during the past couple of weeks.

Then, their lack of defensive skills began to be exposed. Humberto Suazo and the rest of the Monterrey attack easily sliced through the Leones Negros' defense throughout the match. At times the Black Lions' defense looked completely lost when attempting to control their own half of the pitch.

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The Guadalajara squad showed some potential in their attack but will need to refine their back line if they wish to continue their stay in the first division.

2. Red cards galore

By the time the final whistle blew after the fourth match of the weekend, four red cards had already been given.

After all nine weekend matches had been played, there were six red cards, but that is still significant and hopefully not foreshadowing for the rest of the season. Perhaps everyone is trying to compensate for Marco Antonio Rodriguez's retirement.

3. Chivas underwhelming once again

There was plenty for Chivas fans to be excited about before the season started. The club brought in some decent players and new coach Carlos Bustos was touted as being attack-minded.

Although Angel Reyna had a great first game, Chivas had a multitude of problems in the back and were fortunate to steal a point from the match.

Considering their position in the relegation table, there will continue to be an immense amount of pressure for Chivas to do well this season.

Chivas and manager Carlos Bustos could manage only a point in Guadalajara's Apertura opener.

4. Only one home win

Perhaps it was the pressure of the first match at home. Maybe it was just a coincidence (it probably was), but only one home squad was able to find three points after the weekend.

Club Tijuana, who have traditionally done well at home, lost 1-0 to Puebla. Cruz Azul had an embarrassing 1-0 loss to Pachuca -- a Pachuca side, by the way, that were down to nine players by the second half. Toluca, who were playing without much motivation or drive, couldn't score against Morelia. Chivas, who were apparently all talk during the preseason, had a dismal 1-1 draw against Chiapas. Monterrey was the only home team to walk away with a win over the weekend.

5. Leon losing at home to America

Losing to America is never shameful, especially since they just brought in Oribe Peralta as a striker.

Yet this loss for Leon will be much more damaging than expected. Leon were considered by many as the top squad this season, and better than their Mexico City rivals. With Rafael Marquez, Carlos Pena, William Yarbrough and Mauro Boselli back in the mix, fans awaited another successful start to the season but instead witnessed a dominant performance from America.

Leon will likely still do well this season, but the loss to America at home will serve as a reality check and a reminder of the competition this season.

Cesar Hernandez

Cesar Hernandez can't remember a time when soccer hasn't been a part of his daily routine. Within that personal immersion of fútbol is a lifelong passion for the Mexican national team. He has blogged on El Tri for four years mainly through his blog The Big Verde. Follow him on Twitter @cesarh1030.