Cruz Azul scandal, UNAM vacancy, América injury list
The three Mexico City soccer teams dominate the Liga MX headlines heading into Week 2.
An arrest warrant issued for Cruz Azul president Guillermo Álvarez will be big news for the foreseeable future as the financial scandal plays out in the media and at the courthouse. “Billy” is being accused of money laundering, fraud and links to organized crime.
Although Liga MX bylaws dictate that a club can be disaffiliated if ownership is caught in criminal acts, team officials are expressing confidence that the Cementeros will not be banished from the league. In fact, league headquarters issued a press release on Thursday saying Cruz Azul was not in danger of being kicked out.
Still, it will be interesting to see how the scandal affects “La Máquina” on the pitch as they strive to end the franchise’s 23-year Liga MX title drought.
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Another Mexico City team – the Pumas – is also mired in controversy. The front office conducting a coaching search after Miguel González quit just days before the season opener.
Whispers about Jorge Campos are growing louder and the Pumas legend has acknowledged interest in taking over the team that launched his gloried career. It has been reported that the former goalie has reasonable salary demands, but the sticking point is his insistence that he be allowed to hand-pick his coaching staff.
“El Brody” wants to bring in former Pumas and El Tri teammates Claudio Suárez and Juan de Dios Ramírez Perales, as well as Miguel España and Juan Carlos Vera. Current management appears reluctant to hand over so much control, but it surely recognizes that the club’s loyal fans could turn on them further if they screw up this decision.
For now, academy director Andrés Lillini will remain as interim coach for the Week 2 game at Atlas and the coaching search will intensify next week. Other potential candidates are Hugo Sánchez, Ricardo LaVolpe, Hernán Cristante, Jaime Lozano and Víctor Manuel Vucetich.
Elsewhere in the capital, Aguilas fans breathed a sigh of relief upon being told that defender Emanuel Aguilera suffered only a mild knee sprain in the season opener. “Ema” was carted off the field only minutes into the match at Pachuca but the Mexico City club’s medical staff says the Argentine strongman should be back on the field in two weeks.
Winger Andrés Ibarguen also left the pitch injured on Monday, departing just after the hour mark with a thigh strain. The impact of his absence (2-3 weeks) will be lessened by the quick recovery of Gio dos Santos and Leo Suárez who missed the Pachuca game with minor knocks but are expected back in time for Saturday’s home opener against Tijuana.