We thought most of our attention would be focused on World Cup news but the Liga MX had other ideas this past week.
There was a league owners meeting but their business was mostly about confirming previously announced agreements – details about the Leagues Cup format that will pit 18 Liga MX clubs and 29 MLS teams in a bigger tournament, for instance.
The bosses also revealed that they will consider re-instituting demotion/promotion procedures with Ascenso MX at their next meeting in May. League president Mikel Arriola also announced that Liga MX would start implementing Fan ID, including a formal membership registration process for all team fan clubs.
Atlas and Santos Laguna were alone among Liga MX teams last season, adopting Fan ID to promote greater security for fans.
Liga MX coaching carousel provides surprises
The big news on the week, however, involved a couple managerial moves.
Following another disappointing playoff result, Tigres sacked Miguel Herrera after just three seasons in charge of the northern powerhouse.
“Los felinos” boast one of the biggest payrolls in the league, but they stumbled to a fifth-place finish in the Apertura 2022 while scoring only 24 goals in 17 regular-season games.
The controversial coach apparently sealed his fate after getting eliminated in the quarterfinals. In the post-game media session, “Piojo” suggested the team came up short because of an aging roster.
The players were furious and his comments illustrated, yet again, the manager’s reluctance to accept responsibility for results. Instead, “it was the referee,” “it was bad luck,” or “the team is getting old” are Herrera’s typical explanations for poor results.
The Tigres were 26-13-12 under Herrera and never exhibited the explosiveness on offense that was supposed to be his calling card. Fans had hoped to see the team transition from the stodgy, conservative style preferred by “Tuca” Ferretti who managed the Tigres with an iron grip. But “Tuca” won five Liga MX titles, three Liga MX Champions Cups, a Concacaf Champions League and a Copa MX during his 11-year reign.
That same day, Puebla announced the departure of Nicolás Larcamón after four seasons in charge of the Camoteros.
The Argentine led “La Franja” to the playoffs in all four seasons despite a very modest payroll. Larcamón’s teams were aggressive and irrepressible, attacking with speed and flair, striking on the counter and stingy on defense.
After each of the past two seasons, there were rumors that one deep-pocketed team or another was trying to pry Larcamón away from Puebla, but the 38-year-old manager insisted he was happy where he was.
Some wags jumped to the conclusion that Tigres had orchestrated the moves to bring Larcamón into the San Nicolaás de los Garza headquarters in the Monterrey suburbs, but Larcamón insisted he has not talked to Tigres.
Another report hinted that Tigres were finalizing contract details with Diego Cocca, the former Atlas coach.
Cocca stepped down at season’s end after the Zorros failed to make the playoffs saying he was in search of new challenges. The 50-year-old native of Buenos Aires guided “los Rojinegros” to back-to-back Liga MX titles (Apertura 2021, Clausura 2022) but injuries and fatigue ruined their chances at a three-peat.
The reports suggest that Tigres will wait to announce their new manager after the Liga MX Femenil Finals are completed on Monday night as the club’s women’s team attempts to win their fifth league championship.
On Friday night, Tigres Femenil emerged from a rowdy Estadio Azteca with a 1-0 win in the first leg of the Finals. More than 52,000 fans packed “El Coloso de Santa Ursula,” setting a new Liga MX Femenil attendance record, but a golazo by Jackie Ovalle in minute 48 allows Tigres to return home for the return leg with an advantage.