Newfound job security for Liga MX coaching fraternity

Santos coach Gullermo Almada argues with Pachuca head man Paulo Pezzolano during halftime of a Liga MX playoff game in November 2020. (Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images)
Santos coach Gullermo Almada argues with Pachuca head man Paulo Pezzolano during halftime of a Liga MX playoff game in November 2020. (Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images) /
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Liga MX coaches
Mazatlán FC coach Tomás Boy (left) greets Monterrey coach Javier Aguirre before the Guardianes 2021 season finale, Boy’s last match as head man. The two were teammates with El Tri at the 1986 World Cup. (Photo by Alfredo Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

Last season’s Liga MX chopping block

The Guardianes 2021 was atypical in many ways. The pandemic continued to batter teams’ revenue streams as attendance remained curtailed in many stadiums.

No doubt, the financial restrictions gave owners pause about firing managers as they were reluctant to be paying severance packages on top of coaches’ wages.

At least that’s one conclusion to be drawn from the fact that not a single coach was fired through the first 11 weeks of the campaign. In the previous 10 seasons, an average of three coaches were fired through the first 10 weeks of the season.

You have to go back to 1994 to find a season that lasted into its 10th matchday with the exact same coaches as were present on Opening Night.

Two owners finally took action after Week 11. Necaxa fired José Guadalupe Cruz (the Rayos were in last place with a 1-4-6 record) and FC Juárez pink-slipped Luis Fernando Tena (the Bravos were 2-3-6 and had conceded 23 goals).

While Profe Cruz’s replacement Guillermo Vázquez remains in place, Alfonso Sosa was not so lucky. “Poncho” was given his walking papers by Bravos management five weeks after the Guardianes 2021 ended. That’s the vacancy that “Tuca” Ferretti filled.

Three weeks later, Tijuana axed Pablo Guede after the Xolos’ Matchday 14 collapse against Mazatlán FC, coughing up a 2-0 lead at home before losing 3-2. Roberto Siboldi, 55, took the Xolos job ahead of Week 16, succeeding interim coach Ildefonso Mendoza.

The next coach to be sent packing was Leonel Rocco who was fired by Atlético de San Luis immediately after the season finale, a 5-1 loss to visiting Pachuca. Mazatlán FC followed a few days later, dismissing Tomás Boy after “The Purple Gang” failed to make the playoffs.

Five coaches in all were sacked last season with two more getting forced out over the summer when their contracts were not renewed.

The Tigres reneged on an offer to their winningest manager, Ricardo Ferretti, and decided to throw in with Miguel Herrera who went un-hired after his departure from América in December.

In León, Ignacio Ambriz declined a new contract with León, announcing that he intended to pursue opportunities abroad. “Nacho” eventually signed with Huesca, a second-division Spanish side. It wasn’t the spot he had envisioned, but he is in Europe.

Early Liga MX games diluted by key absences. dark. Next

With Covid protocols still impacting ticket revenues (Mexico City teams are prohibited from opening to fans as the Delta variant sweeps across the capital and central Mexico), Liga MX teams might be reluctant to act hastily with regard to their coaches. They again might prefer to avoid unnecessary financial complications. That could be good news for the new coaches in the league, but they ought not expect this patience will be prolonged.