The Apertura 2022 is two weeks old, arguably providing us with enough data to make some early projections about this Liga MX season.
However, the extended transfer window (open until Sept. 5) means trying to draw any definitive conclusions would be foolhardy.
Some clubs with roster needs have been slow out of the gate (we’re looking at you Cruz Azul and Guadalajara), while injuries will force other clubs to do some recruiting later on. Defending Liga MX champs Atlas saw new acquisition Mauro Manotas go down with a season-ending knee injury on Matchday 1 and they are back in the market.
While keeping these factors in mind, here’s a quick look at three takeaways from Matchday 2.
1. Visiting teams making themselves right at home
Home field advantage is proving to be a myth in Liga MX thus far. Locals have won just five of 18 matches, posting a dismal 5-4-9 record. That’s right. Visitors have won exactly half of the games played and the road teams have scored 31 goals while conceding just 25. And it’s not just a scheduling quirk where visiting favorites are beating up on Liga MX minnows. Lowly FC Juárez won away from home and Atlético de San Luis slipped past the Chivas at Estadio Akron. Cruz Azul, after looking impressive in a Week 1 win at the dreaded “El Volcán,” stunk it up at Estadio Azteca this past weekend, battered by Pachuca (last season’s best road team)
2. Toluca roster overhaul paying dividends
Diablos Rojos ownership was embarrassed by last season’s fiasco as the proud franchise devolved into a complete mess. The general manager was fired and coach Ignacio Ambriz was given some familiar players to work with, namely three players from the juggernaut he had created at León in the recent past. Striker Carlos González was brought in from Tigres and former All-Star goalie Tiago Volpi returned to Liga MX after four years back home in Brazil with Sao Paulo. “Los Choriceros” sit atop the table with 6 points and a +3 goal differential after a 3-1 rout of Necaxa in Aguascalientes and a 3-2 home victory over holders Atlas.
3. Liga MX Big Four aren’t scaring anybody
América, Cruz Azul, Guadalajara and UNAM each spoke about stocking up this summer and taking a run at the Liga MX trophy. Though it is too early to count out any of the Big Four (OK … the Chivas will struggle to make the playoffs), none of the so-called Liga MX giants look ready to make postseason waves. Cruz Azul is the only one of the four in the top half of the table and “La Máquina” is coming off a pedestrian performance at home against Pachuca. The Cementeros have added just one new face to the locker room, infuriating new coach Diego Aguirre who was promised a number of transfers.
América was held to a scoreless draw at home by Atlas in Week 1, then debuted their two big acquisitions – two-time Liga MX scoring champ Jonathan Rodríguez and El Tri defender Néstor Araujo – in a tough 3-2 road loss at Monterrey.
UNAM leaped out to a 3-0 lead on the road at León, getting contributions from newly acquired wingers Gustavo del Prete and Eduardo Salvio but then fell apart, allowing the 10-man Esmeraldas to fight all the way back and equalize.
And Guadalajara … well, the club’s precarious financial situation prevented them from signing some targets then they were forced to scramble for a striker after J.J. Macías tore up his knee in the preseason. They’ll evidently roll the dice with Santiago Ormeño although the Peru international struggled to get playing time while with León the past year.