Onward to Week 4!
The Liga MX Apertura has yet to let fans down when it has comes to excitement. There have been a surprising amount of red cards, high-scoring games and the return of a certain Cuauhtemoc Blanco to Mexican first division futbol.
With the Copa MX and CONCACAF Champions League set aside for now, the Liga MX teams should now be able to focus on gaining early valuable points through their upcoming games. Here are five exciting matches to watch during Week 4 of the Liga MX Apertura:
1. Morelia vs. Tijuana
Technically, Leones Negros are at the very bottom of the Liga MX table. Yet Leones Negros have only played two games so far this season. If one were to take out the Guadalajara squad, Morelia and Tijuana would be left at the bottom of the table. It's the battle at the bottom between these two squads that each have had a mediocre start to their respective seasons.
Things are looking especially bad for Morelia, who have yet to even score a goal, which hasn't stopped other squads from scoring on them. Morelia have let in six goals in their first three matches. It's imperative that the squad begins to build on their attack and gain at least one point at home this weekend.
As for Los Xolos, the team has struggled but somehow stumbled their way into a positive 1-1 tie against Tigres last week. Will Dario Benedetto save them with another beautiful goal or two against Morelia?
2. Cruz Azul vs. Puebla
Cruz Azul, like so many other teams this Apertura, are still striving to find some kind of rhythm. They've gained only two points in their three matches this season, two of which were at home. La Maquina have failed to find answers up top for goals, and Anibal Zurdo (who received a red card on his debut) does not appear to exactly be solving the problem for the squad.
Considering the mass overhaul of the team over the summer, Puebla haven't been as terrible as predicted. Although that doesn't mean they have been excellent either. Blanco has the ability to be a talisman for La Franja but only for about 20 minutes maximum.
Cruz Azul can easily dig themselves out of a hole with a win over Puebla. Puebla, on the other hand, can gain a vital three away points over Cruz Azul if they can take advantage of the La Maquina's current slump.
3. Chiapas vs. Leon
This match has the makings of being the best game over the weekend. Chiapas have gained an impressive four points against three decent opponents at the start of the season. Los Jaguares have the makings of a Cinderella team with their surprising attack lead by Emiliano Daniel and Matias Vuoso. Chiapas have shown no apprehension in their movement forward and will likely press against Leon in their second home game of the season.
Speaking of which, Leon were below par in their first two matches but had a sudden watershed moment against Morelia last week when they beat them 4-0. The back-to-back champions have shown sporadic moments of beautiful soccer, and the big question will be whether their defense will step up their game this weekend.
Other than Morelia, Leon and Chiapas have allowed more goals than any other teams this season. Yet they are also in the top five when it comes to goals scored. It should prove to be an exciting game.
4. Pumas vs. Atlas
Before the season had even started, one might have guessed that this game would have been an easy three points for Pumas. Now, three weeks into the season, it appears as though Pumas are the struggling side. Atlas have surpassed all expectations and are now one of only three teams who are undefeated. Pumas had a positive start against Queretaro but then embarrassingly lost two games in a row to squads who went down to 10 men.
Atlas would love to steal another three points while Pumas need said points for salvaging any opportunities at remaining a top Liga MX team.
5. Leones Negros vs. Toluca
At this point in the season, it might be unfair to see Leones Negros as the "worst" team in the Liga MX. Granted, they are at the very bottom of the table, but one would imagine that the squad will be itching for an opportunity to beat Toluca in Guadalajara.
The Leones Negros have much to prove, and a Toluca team that has relied on Pablo Velazquez on goals seems ripe for the picking. Toluca have only gained one win so far and as mentioned have relied on Velazquez as their catalyst going forward. Los Diablos Rojos have lacked motivation so far this season and need to secure a win against an opponent that many would deem beatable.
Cesar Hernandez can't remember a time when soccer hasn't been a part of his daily life. Within that is a lifelong passion for El Tri. Twitter: @cesarhfutbol.