Bravo, ‘Tuca’! Liga MX coaching legend has a new job

Ricardo Ferretti is the new coach of the Bravos of FC Juárez. (Photo by Hector Vivas/LatinContent via Getty Images)
Ricardo Ferretti is the new coach of the Bravos of FC Juárez. (Photo by Hector Vivas/LatinContent via Getty Images) /
Liga MX Tuca plus
Ricardo Ferretti was let go by the Tigres after 11 years in charge there. Next season, “Tuca” will be coaching FC Juárez. (Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

With such a busy week for El Tri, Mexican soccer fans might have overlooked some of the news that rippled across the landscape the past few days.

Team Mexico – the senior team – advanced to the finals of the inaugural Concacaf Nations League set for Sunday night in Denver, while “El Mini Tri” – the Olympic team – defeated Romania’s Olympic team in a friendly in Marbella, Spain, on Saturday.

We’re only a week out from the culmination of the Liga MX season (with Cruz Azul ending a nearly quarter-century drought), but there’s no rest for the weary. Transfers and trades are taking place, contract extensions are being negotiated, new ownership groups are taking action and the rumor mill is working overtime.

So while the headlines focus on El Tri (and the possibility of suspension because of a vile homophobic chant that officials are determined to halt), let’s flip back through some of the latest Liga MX stories

Legendary coach finds new Liga MX job

We now know that “Tuca” Ferretti will continue his impressive employment streak after the Bravos of Ciudad Juárez rocked the Liga MX world by announcing the hiring of Ferretti for the Apertura 2021 season.

The curmudgeonly coach has been in charge of one team or another every season since October 1991, an uninterrupted stretch of nearly 30 years. One reason “Tuca” always has a job is his incredible record of success. The Brazilian manager has been named Liga MX Coach of the Year four times.

In addition, Ferretti’s seven Liga MX championships are tied for most all-time with the legendary Ignacio Trelles. “Tuca” has won league titles for the Chivas (Verano 1997), UNAM (Clausura 2009) and the Tigres (Apertura 2011, Apertura 2015, Apertura 2016, Apertura 2017 and Clausura 2019). He also won the 2002-2003 Champions Cup while in charge at Toluca.

Ferretti was not re-signed by the Tigres after an underwhelming Guardianes 2021 performance. Despite the league’s second-highest payroll, the Tigres were eliminated in the Wildcard Round, Magnifying the disappointment was the poor run of play in Liga MX right after the club’s historic achievement in the FIFA Club World Cup where it became the first Mexican team to reach the Final (where it lost 1-0 to Bayern Munich on Feb. 11).

Contract renewal talks had been moving forward as the Guardianes 2021 progressed, but the late-season collapse prompted the front office to make a change. Former América coach Miguel Herrera is now in charge.

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Once it was known that Ferretti would be out at Tigres, rumors linked him to Atlético de San Luis as the Tuneros organization decided on a complete front office (and ownership) overhaul after finishing in the cellar. So although the San Luis situation appeared to be a less-than-appealing challenge to take on, the Bravos job is no picnic either. Cd. Juárez featured the league’s 14th-highest payroll (i.e., the fifth-lowest) and will open the Apertura 2021 season with serious “Relegation” issues.

Officially hiring “Tuca” for the Bravos was Miguel Ángel Garza, Ferretti’s former boss at Tigres where they won five Liga MX titles together. The Bravos will be Ferretti’s sixth team over his 30-year coaching career (Pumas twice, Tigres three times, Chivas, Toluca and Morelia).

Necaxa makes history

Necaxa’s new ownership was active on social media this past week with the athletes and celebrities comprising the group (Mesut Ozil, Justin Verlander, Eva Longoria and Kate Upton) urging fans to buy interest in the club via NFTs.

The non-fungible tokens are being promoted as a chance for fans to acquire ownership in the Aguascalientes-based soccer club.

The Rayos’ front office has also been busy. “Los Hidrocálidos” are negotiating with veteran defender Nico Sánchez (from Monterrey) who has reportedly expressed interest in taking part in the new Necaxa project despite more attractive offers. Pumas product Luis Fernando Quintana (a 29-year-old central defender) has already accepted a trade and will be wearing the familiar red-and-white striped jersey of “los electricistas.”

Necaxa is also expecting to incorporate a couple Chivas into their locker room. Guadalajara still owes the Rayos several million dollars from a December 2019 transfer deal involving Jesús Angulo, Christián Calderón and Alexis Peña, and is expected to repay the debt via loan deals. Promising young midfielder César Huerta has been mentioned as has unused right back José Madueña. Playmaker Fernando Beltrán might also be included in the deal, but the Chivas have been trying to pry Erick Aguirre from Pachuca and could try to swap Beltrán for the versatile Aguirre.

Mini-Tri opens Tokyo prep with win over Romania

Mexico’s Olympic team is in Spain preparing for the Tokyo Games while coach Jimmy Lozano ponders who will make his final roster.

The players in training camp now are not guaranteed spots, especially as several players working out with the senior team – Edson Álvarez, Diego Lainez, Uriel Antuna, Sebastián Córdova and César Montes – are expected to join “El Mini Tri” once the Nations League ends. Lozano will also be able to pick three “overage” players, further reducing openings for the youngsters who played against Romania in Marbella, Spain.

The friendly showed promise as Lozano’s squad held up physically against the Romanians (one of four European sides to qualify for Tokyo), and demonstrated tactical order. The discipline allowed for quick recovery from mistakes and sound transition play, although possessions were too often interrupted by poor passing.

In minute 76, sub Jesús “Canelo” Angulo gathered in a pass from Chivas teammate Alexis Vega and fired home inside the far post to provide Mexico with the margin of victory.

Next. Cruz Azul ends its curse. dark

The 23 men in Spain will have two more games to play (Saudi Arabia on June 8, Australia on June 12) against potential rivals in Tokyo. Lozano will be making his final selections for the Olympic Games by June 30.