Liga MX hits stretch run, unpredictability winning out

Liga MX stretch run unpredictable

Washington Corozo takes aim in the closing seconds of the Pumas-Bravos match, completing a swift, game-winning counterattack in a Sunday Liga MX match. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

Another Liga MX weekend, another confounding set of outcomes.

On Friday night, 12th-place Mazatlán FC stunned second-place Atlas, scoring twice against the league’s best defense (the Zorros had conceded 5 goals in 12 games) after left back Luis Reyes was red-carded in minute 17.

On Saturday, León handed fourth-place Monterrey its first home loss of the season even though Esmeraldas skipper Luis Montes did not make the trip and leading scorer Angel Mena was only available for 20 minutes. The 1-0 squeaker was the first league win for “La Fiera” since Aug. 18, having compiled an 0-4-2 mark since a 3-0 triumph at Guadalajara on Matchday 5.

Then on Sunday afternoon, the underachieving Chivas earned their first win since Víctor Manuel Vucetich was sacked four games ago, and did so by dominating third-place Toluca.

No rest for the weary in Liga MX

Liga MX fans will barely have time to digest the results and consult the standings after a crazy Matchday 13 before the next round begins.

Matchday 14 kicks off with four games on Tuesday (Oct. 19) and four more on Wednesday. M15 then arrives on Friday with a single match, followed by four on Saturday and another four on Sunday.

With that in mind, we’ll just quickly touch upon some notable details, key stats and the odd piece of trivia or two.

High-Flying Eagles

América is just 3 points from clinching a first-round bye in the Liga MX playoffs. The top four finishers qualify directly for La Liguilla while Nos. 5-12 square off in a wildcard round.

With 28 points, the No. 1-ranked Aguilas have a 6-point lead atop the table with four games remaining, but those games are against Santos (last season’s runner-up), the Tigres (and former coach Miguel Herrera), holders Cruz Azul and Monterrey.

Did Pumas and Chivas awaken just in time?

The two downtrodden members of the Big 4 picked up huge home victories Sunday, reviving dreams of playoff heroics to come.

Playing with a make-shift line-up, Guadalajara handed Marcelo Michel Leaño his first win by blanking the highest-scoring offense in Liga MX. Back-ups César Huerta (starting in place of the injured Alexis Vega) and Ronaldo Cisneros supplied the goals in the 2-0 win over Toluca. Cisneros trotted onto the field in minute 90+4 and scored the clincher seconds later.

UNAM – playing in front of a home crowd for the first time since the pandemic started – claimed just its second win of the season thanks to a spectacular goal by Washington Corozo in minute 90+5. Corozo started and concluded a rapid-fire counter-attack that began when Pumas defender Sebastián Freire blocked a Bravos shot at the top of the box.

The Chivas climbed from 11th to ninth and are only 3 points out of fourth place (and that all-important bye), while the Pumas moved within 4 points of the final wildcard spot though they remain in 17th place.

Scoring woes predominate in Liga MX

Fans hoping for offensive fireworks were left wanting. There were five 1-0 results, three 1-1 draws, the outlier being the Chivas’ 2-0 goal-scoring binge.

That’s 13 goals in nine games, and three of the 13 came AFTER 90 minutes. Two others came after the 87-minute mark. That’s a lot of soccer to sit through before seeing a net get rippled.

Despite being shut out, Toluca still leads Liga MX with 19 goals across 13 games. Two teams have not even hit double figures in goals (Querétaro and UNAM have each scored 7 goals).

It is conceivable that the “Golden Boot” is claimed by a “goleador” with fewer than 10 goals.

Atlético de San Luis midfielder Germán Berterame tops the goal-scoring table with 8 goals, while injury-prone Tigres striker Nico López lags behind with 6 goals, the same as Mazatlán FC point man Camilo Sanvezzo.

Last season’s scoring champ – Toluca’s Alexis Canelo led the way with 11 goals – has just 3 goals and none since August, while Guardianes 2021 runner-up Nicolás Ibáñez – (10 goals with Atlético de San Luis) – just scored his second goal with new club Pachuca on Sunday.