As Liga MX wrestles with Covid, Mozo acts out

Liga MX Matchday 3 wrap

Pachuca striker Mauro Quiroga squandered a late chance for an equalizer when he sent a sitter into Row Z from right in front of net. (Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images)

With two Matchday 3 games postponed due to a Covid outbreak, the Liga MX weekend was short on drama. A glance at the standings is a bit jarring, however, as Toluca sits on top with 7 points while Guadalajara (2 points) and champions León (1 point) are a step above the cellar.

Scoring was in short supply again – in only one of the seven weekend games did both teams score and we saw the fourth scoreless draw of the season already (Mazatlán FC vs Santos).

We did see Cruz Azul score its first goal of the season, edging Pachuca 1-0 Monday night despite a slip-shod performance (outshot 21-6 and completing only 70% of its passes). That leaves Atlas and León as the only Liga MX teams without a goal in their ledger.

Results of significance included Toluca’s 2-0 win over visiting Necaxa, while Guadalajara lost to Atlético de San Luis (3-1) for the first time ever.

Elsewhere, Querétaro climbed into fifth place with a dominating 2-0 win over the Pumas while Tijuana recorded its third clean sheet by blanking host Puebla 1-0.

Despite outbreak, Liga MX can’t shake discipline problems

Although UNAM has handed out 20 Liga MX debuts in five years, Alan Mozo is the only Pumas debutante to establish himself as a professional. The right back has even drawn interest from Europe.

So it’s unfortunate that the 23-year-old Mexico City native is becoming his own worst enemy. Mozo did not take part in the Pumas’ Matchday 3 loss at Querétaro because he violated the club’s pandemic protocols, the second time in five months he’s been punished for breaking team rules. Mozo was also fined for this latest indiscretion.

In addition to these infractions, Mozo was bumped from the starting line-up early last season after reporting to training camp overweight.

Coach Andrés Lillini is said to be livid over the poor example being set by a Pumas academy starlet. In just his second season in charge of “Los Felinos,” Lillini was the Pumas academy director before taking over the top job in July. So he knows the players coming through the pipeline. His stated goal is to develop the potential of in-house players and turn them into Liga MX headliners.

That task is not made any easier when the lone successful academy grad in the locker room demonstrates a lack of commitment and a dearth of professionalism.

The 2-0 setback at Querétaro’s Estadio Corregidora was the Pumas first regular-season loss since Sept. 21, 2020 (at León, by the same 2-0 score line), but the locker room issues are surely the bigger concern.

It should be noted that Lillini handed out another debut on Sunday, sending 21-year-old forward Jacob Morales on in minute 67 against the ineffective Emanuel Montejano who was playing in only his second Liga MX game.