5 matches to watch in Liga MX Week 5
It still feels as if the Apertura season had just started yesterday.
The arrival of Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Francisco Javier Rodriguez's transfer to Cruz Azul, and even Oribe Peralta's move all still seem so fresh in my mind.
Since the start of the season, Club America have easily looked like the most dominant team, while others like Pumas and Leon have proved to be completely underwhelming. Yet as the season begins to gradually take shape and the league spots slowly become more solidified, there is still plenty of time for changes to happen.
The league has only gone through four matches so far. That is only four-seventeenths of the way through, which is only 23.53 percent, in case you were dying to know or didn't have a calculator on hand.
Recognizing the fact that there is still plenty of time for adjustments, here are five matches to watch during the fifth week of the Liga MX Apertura.
1. Leon vs. Pumas
The exact two teams I mentioned earlier and the exact two teams that could also be recognized as disappointing or uninteresting. Unless one were to consider off-the-pitch drama with coaches.
No other coach in the Liga MX right now is under more pressure than Pumas' Jose Luis Trejo. Many expected the head coach to be fired after last weekend, and another loss this week might confirm those expectations. Pumas have only scored once in their past three games and have failed to find ideas in their attack.
As for Leon, the current champions are second in the league with goals scored, but first in goals allowed. Rafael Marquez's vacancy has been detrimental to the squad, and it is up to Gustavo Matosas and his squad to find a bit more organization in the back.
2. Club Tijuana vs. Chiapas
Los Xolos have made progress recently, albeit rather slowly. The Tijuana team has gained two points in four games and has yet to win at home -- a place where it has in recent seasons gained a majority of its points. There should be some confidence with Hernan Pellerano and Javier Gandolfi back in defense, but Chiapas have been one of the more exciting teams to watch when it comes to their attack.
Led by Emiliano Daniel Armenteros, Chiapas have scored eight goals so far this season; just don't ask about the eight goals they have let in as well. Either way, the team has gained seven points this season and are comfortably sitting in fifth place. A win against los Xolos would be massive and gain them more respect in the league.
3. Club America vs. Morelia
This for me, is the game of the weekend. It might seem a little perplexing but the setup is this: an undefeated club playing at home against a team that hasn't scored.
For those fans who love to watch one-sided games, this match is for them. America are clearly the best team at the moment and it should be noted that they have been able to gain 12 points in three away games and only one home game this season. Sure, Raul Jimenez will be gone, but Oswaldo Martinez and Oribe Peralta already have two goals each at this point in the season.
Morelia, unfortunately for them and their fans, will be ripe for the picking. They are the only team without a goal this Apertura and are lucky to have a measly two points in four games.
The match may be painful to watch, but it may also be remarkably entertaining.
4. Atlas vs. Leones Negros
If my math (or futbol history for that matter) is correct, Leones Negros' last matchup against Atlas in 1994 was in fact their last game in the Mexican first division until this year. The crosstown teams don't exactly have a historic rivalry, but it should prove to have an electric atmosphere in the stadium.
Atlas are the current Cinderella squad with an impressive 10 points in four games. Along with America, they are the only undefeated teams in the Liga MX. There are still a few hesitations over the squad, but another win will surely silence another group of doubters.
Leones Negros are the newcomers to the Liga MX party and are still attempting to assimilate. Although they tied their last two matches, their performances left much to be desired. Morelia are recently the laughingstock of the league, but Leones Negros are just another loss or two away from stealing that distinction.
5. Chivas vs. Santos
It's hard to discuss Chivas without mentioning the loss to Deportivo Tepic earlier this week. Tepic, who have numerous Chivas player on loan, defeated the Guadalajara team 3-1 in the Copa MX on Tuesday. Even the 35 year-old Adolfo Bautista (who once played for Chivas) joined in the embarrassment and scored a goal against his former club.
Chivas have the benefit of being a game behind but have had two painful losses to Tepic and Pachuca recently, which hasn't helped their motivation. Chivas have yet to win at home, and three points over Santos this weekend is the exact prescription the team currently needs.
As for Santos, the once-mighty team appears to be listless after gaining only one win so far this Apertura. Head coach Pedro Caixinha must recognize the need to take advantage of Chivas' current vulnerability.
Cesar Hernandez covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @cesarhfutbol.