Hot Stove League, Liga MX-style: Part Dos

The Liga MX resumes play on Jan. 8 when the Clausura 2021 kicks off with a triple-header. (Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images)
The Liga MX resumes play on Jan. 8 when the Clausura 2021 kicks off with a triple-header. (Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images) /
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Liga MX Hot Stove 2
Chile international Víctor Dávila moves from Pachuca to León for the Clausura 2021. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images) /

Mid-table clubs shake up rosters

Sticking with Necaxa, last season’s No. 10 seed added defender Jorge Aguilar and subtracted defensive midfielder Claudio Baeza.

Aguilar, a 27-year-old Paraguayan, played 8 games for the Xolos in the Guardianes 2020. Baeza was Necaxa’s captain most of last season, but lost his starting spot late on due to injuries and a penchant for getting red cards. The 27-year-old Chilean moves to Toluca where he’ll likely slot into the Red Devils midfield in place of Javier Gúemez, who left for Atlético de San Luis.

As might be expected from a last-place club, there was considerable turnover. Güemez, 29, still hopes to recapture the impressive form he displayed with Tijuana that earned him a spot with El Tri during the 2014 World Cup cycle.

Another new Tuneros player is Damián Batallini who comes to Liga MX from Argentinos Jrs. The 24-year-old winger was being courted by Boca Juniors but decided to accept an offer to play in Mexico. New coach Leonel Rocco will be entrusted with lifting Atleti out of the cellar and he has been given lots of new pieces to work with.

Elsewhere, Tijuana aims to bolster its defense by bringing in veteran Chilean defender

Gonzalo Jara. The 35-year-old has 114 caps with La Roja, including twice winning the Copa América with Chile.

Matías Catalán is on the move again, leaving Atlético de San Luis for Pachuca. The 28-year-old defender/fullback will add veteran leadership and versatility to the Tuzos back line. Catalán joins former Tuneros teammate Mauro Quiroga and Santiago Mosquera as new Tuzos.

Quiroga will be asked to replace Pachuca’s top scorer, Víctor Dávila (another ex-Necaxa player) who scored 5 goals during the Guardianes 2020. Mosquera, a Colombian winger, was acquired from MLS club FC Dallas, where he had his best season this year, recording his first career hat trick in September.

Dávila was traded to Pachuca’s sister team, León, so the flashy, left-footed Chilean will get to play with the champs this coming season.

In other transactions, Mazatlán FC skipper Aldo Rocha traded places with Atlas captain Lorenzo Reyes. Both players are accomplished defensive midfielders.

Mazatlán also picked up playmaker Gael Sandoval from Guadalajara though he spent last season on loan to Santos. Sandoval started his career in Santos before signing with the Chivas in 2017, but played poorly. His new coach at Mazatlán, Tomás Boy, even OK’d a loan to FC Juárez in 2019.

Next. Antonio Valencia joins Liga MX. dark

Sandoval revived his career during this last loan deal which saw him thrive with Santos Laguna, playing well enough to earn an invitation to an El Tri training camp in November. The 25-year-old playmaker let Chivas management know he had no interest in playing for the club, setting up the trade to Mazatlán … and a reunion with Tomás Boy.