If not for the coronavirus pandemic, the Liga MX would be in the middle of Matchday 12, coming off the late March FIFA break.
The biggest surprise of the Clausura 2020 is evident with a quick glance at the standings. To be more specific, a glance at the bottom of the standings.
There in the cellar are the Rayados of Monterrey. Defending champion Monterrey is off to a horrible start, equaling the worst start to a title defense in Liga MX history.
The Rayados are in last place with only 5 points through 10 matches, the first team to go 10 games without a victory the season after winning the title. Their last win in league play came in the first leg of the Finals against América on Dec. 26.
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Monterrey is a dismal 0-5-5 with a minus-7 goal differential, an embarrassing performance for the club with the biggest payroll.
The only other champion to stumble so badly out of the starting gate were the 2009 Pumas. A season after winning the Clausura 2009 title, the Pumas opened the Apertura by losing 7 of their first 10 games.
UNAM did at least have a win – a 3-0 victory over Querétaro on Matchday 6 – compiling a 1-2-7 record with a minus-10 goal differential. So the Pumas also had 5 points after their first 10 games while wearing the crown.
The universitarios finished the Apertura 2009 with a 4-5-8 record, going 3-3-1 down the stretch.
The only consolation for Rayados fans in 2020 has been the team’s success in the Copa MX. In January, Monterrey defeated Celaya 7-3 on aggregate in the Round of 16; knocked out Santos 1-0 in the quarterfinals in February, then slipped past FC Juárez in a March 11 penalty shoot-out to reach the Copa MX Final.
If not for the forced suspension of the season, we could have been looking at the sacking of a coach only weeks after he hoisted the Liga MX trophy. Antonio Mohamed is still not safe, but he has been given a reprieve … for now.