Liga MX coaching carousel continues to spin

Is it possible that Robert Siboldi could succeed Miguel Herrera who in turn succeeds Siboldi at Cruz Azul? (Photo by Saul Gonzalez/Getty Images)
Is it possible that Robert Siboldi could succeed Miguel Herrera who in turn succeeds Siboldi at Cruz Azul? (Photo by Saul Gonzalez/Getty Images) /
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Liga MX coaches
Robert Siboldi (Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

Cruz Azul, América still can’t find what they’re looking for

Twelve of the 18 Liga MX coaches who started the Guardianes 2020 season are no longer with their clubs. And that’s not even counting Miguel González who walked out on the Pumas just days before the season kicked off.

Five teams sacked their coaches since the regular season ended. In fact, each of the Big Four clubs – Mexico City giants Cruz Azul, América and the Pumas, plus Guadalajara – changed managers this season, and the Cruz Azul and América openings remain unfilled as training camps re-open this week.

The Cementeros job became available when Roberto Siboldi resigned a few days after the biggest “Cruzazuleada” of all time (“La Máquina Azul” coughed up a 4-0 first-leg advantage in the semifinals, knocked out of the playoffs when the Pumas scored in minute 89 of the second leg.).

The Blue Machine (?) front office is in a shambles (former team president “Billy” Álvarez is in the wind facing embezzlement and money-laundering accusations) and is strapped for cash thanks to a few hefty contracts handed out back when Ricardo Peláez was in charge.

Striker Milton Caraglio, 32, was ineffective all year and winger Elías Hernández – also 32 – couldn’t stay healthy. Each is on the books for $8 million dollars. Jonathan “Cabecita” Rodríguez – top scorer in the Guardianes 2020 despite missing some sitters, including 3 penalty kicks – was acquired in January 2019 for $12 million dollars.

Moving those contracts would be a huge ask and GM Jaime Ordiales might find his hands tied. The next Cruz Azul coach might have to make do with an imperfect roster.

That won’t sit well with Matías Almeyda, the former Chivas coach now plying his trade in MLS with San Jose Earthquakes.

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Almeyda – the clear-cut No. 1 choice for Cruz Azul GM Jaime Ordiales – has a $3 million buy-out clause in his contract (although San Jose is reluctant to part with him) and would no doubt have high wage demands.

“El Pelado” guided the Chivas to their last Liga MX title (Clausura 2017) and he has made it known that he would want reinforcements to each line (offense, midfield and defense), a request that really complicates Ordiales’ task.

Almeyda has reportedly mentioned a former Guadalajara pupil – Alan Pulido, now with Sporting KC – as a preferred forward and Cementeros product Néstor Araujo is the pick for defense. Araujo seems content at Spain’s Celta Vigo, so his acquisition is thought unlikely.

If Ordiales finds Almeyda losing interest, he has Hugo Sánchez and former Necaxa coach Alfonso Sosa on speed-dial. But time is running out as the Cementeros open training camp on Jan. 29.