Liga MX: Apertura 2021 season gets off to a wobbly start

League-leading América will visit León with a chance to move 6 points clear of the second-place Esmeraldas. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images)
League-leading América will visit León with a chance to move 6 points clear of the second-place Esmeraldas. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images) /
4 of 4
Liga MX, one-third
The Chivas and the Pumas have failed to convince anybody that they should be considered title contenders this season. (Photo by Refugio Ruiz/Getty Images) /

Chivas and Pumas vie for Biggest Bummer

The remaining 10 clubs can best be described as underachievers, overachievers, calamities and minnows. So we’ll go through them quickly.

Two members of the Big 4 – Guadalajara and UNAM – are battling to be seen as the poster boy for dysfunction. The Chivas have been a huge disappointment, despite their recent record of mediocrity, although the Pumas are a close second.

Guadalajara coach Víctor Manuel Vucetich has been given an ultimatum – beat Necaxa Saturday or you’re gone. The failure of “El Rebaño Sagrado” to corral a home win against 10-man Monterrey appears to have been the last straw.

We should expect to hear “¡Fuera Vucetich!” chants at Saturday’s game unless the Goats can make quick work of the streaking Rayos. Chivas captain Jesús Molina thinks players must accept their share of the blame. Too true. The Goats have looked aimless and out of synch on far too many occasions since “King Midas” took over in August 2020.

The Pumas were winless through their first five games and now are looking for a new director of football operations after Jesús Ramírez turned in his resignation (he was asked to resign). “Chucho” never seemed a good fit on the UNAM campus and his track record on acquisitions combined with bad trade deals (Carlos González and Juan Pablo Vigón – key players in the Pumas’ run to the Guardianes 2020 final – are now with Tigres and the Pumas have little to show in return). It might take some time to become a contender again.

Last year’s finalist Santos Laguna is undefeated, but has only won once. Coach Guillermo Aldama is just getting all his pieces back (especially Bryan Lozano’s return from a year-long absence), so they will be a dangerous rival during the stretch run and can be expected to make another deep run in the Liga MX playoffs.

Elsewhere, Pachuca is laden with talent but hasn’t shaken its tendency for slow starts. Atlético de San Luis has been a surprise, providing decent early results, but can they continue to punch above their weight? Mazatlán has played with panache, but the Cañoneros’ talent level is middling.

Puebla dismantled its team and reigning Rookie Coach of the Year Nicolás Larcamón is struggling to construct a contender with duct-tape. Not gonna be easy.

Querétaro fired Héctor Altamirano after the Gallos Blancos lost their third straight to continue their winless start to the Apertura 2021. Leo Ramos is coming in to take over the reins for the team with the lowest payroll in Liga MX.

Next. Proposed travel restrictions worry Team Mexico. dark

“Tuca” Ferretti is desperately trying to establish order and discipline at modest FC Juárez, while at the other end of the border Tijuana is reaching new heights in fecklessness. Xolos coach Robert Siboldi could be out of a job soon unless he finds a way to pick up points.