Apertura 2022: Home teams stumble out of the gate

Liga MZ Opening Weekend

Pachuca’s Avilés Hurtado sprints toward the sideline after scoring a spectacular goal against Querétaro in Monday night Liga MX action. (Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images)

Road teams dominate as Liga MX kicks off new season

Matchday 1 of the Apertura 2022 started out as a weekend fiesta for visiting teams who were unbeaten until Santos Laguna and Pachuca won in the final two season openers.

Even with that, home teams scuffled to a 2-3-4 mark with visitors scoring 16 times (while conceding 13).

Santos Laguna salvaged home pride thanks to a late penalty that decided a thrilling 4-3 win for the Guerreros who overcame an early 2-0 deficit. Harold Preciado scored for Santos in minute 85 to knot the score at 3 before a controversial foul call against Jesús Gallardo allowed Brian Lozano to step up to the spot.

Despite a slight mis-kick, Lozano powered the ball past Monterrey’s back-up goalie Luis Cárdenas to put the first “W” in the column for home sides.

Generous hospitality shown to visitors on Opening Weekend

Cruz Azul, Puebla, León and Toluca were triumphant road warriors, with Cruz Azul’s 3-2 victory at “El Volcán” against Tigres the most impressive of the four. Youngster Santi Giménez converted a penalty kick in stoppage time to rescue Cementeros goalie Sebastián Jurado from being branded a goat.

Cruz Azul appeared headed for victory until Jurado’s gaffe on a Sebastián Córdova shot in minute 75 left the score at 2-2 as the clock hit 90. Then a rash tackle by Javier Aquino left Uriel Antuna in a heap and ref Óscar Mejía pointed to the spot, setting the stage for Santi’s heroics.

The Cementeros have opened their campaign with wins over two-time defending champions Atlas (in the Super Cup) and last season’s No. 2 seed, the Tigres, the same team that eliminated “La Máquina” in the quarterfinals just seven weeks ago.

Tuzos pick up where they left off

Querétaro’s loss at Pachuca was the easiest bet on the board on Matchday 1.

As a result of Monday night’s 2-0 loss at Estadio Hidalgo, the Gallos Blancos have now gone 39 games since last winning on the road. Querétaro was the lone Liga MX team to fail to win away from home last season while Pachuca was the lone Liga MX team not to lose under its own lights.

The Tuzos were regular-season champs last season, reaching the Clausura 2022 Final before succumbing to Atlas.

Put it on the ballot

Already have a finalist for Goal of the Year: A golazo by Pachuca’s Avilés Hurtado who started the play himself about 35 meters out, changing pace quickly to get past two Gallos Blancos defenders before laying off to Luis Chávez in the middle of the pitch. Chávez swung it wide left to Mauricio Isais who sent a long cross to the back side where Nico Ibánez headed into the box and – BOOM! – Hurtado executed a perfect bicycle kick, getting great altitude with his right boot.