Liga MX: Larcamón takes over in León as Puebla starts rebuild

Former Liga MX Coach of the Year Nicolás Larcamón is the new head coach of León. (Photo by Alfredo Moya/Jam Media/Getty Images)
Former Liga MX Coach of the Year Nicolás Larcamón is the new head coach of León. (Photo by Alfredo Moya/Jam Media/Getty Images) /
Liga MX Larcamon leon
Luis Montes (left) embraces Elías Hernández after scoring in a 2016 Liga MX playoff team. The pair are leaving León for Puebla in a swap for coach Nicolás Larcamón. (Photo by Leopoldo Smith Murillo/LatinContent via Getty Images) /

The World Cup is dominating social media and sports pages across the globe, but we’re going to look below the fold and check out the latest Liga MX news.

While Spain takes on Morocco in an intriguing Round of 16 match-up on Tuesday, the Chivas will be settling into a week-long training camp that will include two “cascaritas” against LaLiga sides Getafe and Athletic de Bilbao.

The scrimmages will be the first test for new Guadalajara coach Veljko Paunovich, who was Fernando Hierro’s surprise pick to take charge of “El Rebaño Sagrado.”

The Chivas will not feature Team Mexico players Alexis Vega or Roberto Alvarado who will have 10 days off before they must report to training camp.

Liga MX transactions

With all the drama in Qatar during the group stage, nobody really noticed that León manager Renato Paiva submitted his resignation after only one season with the Esmeraldas. The Portuguese coach produced a a 6-4-8 record and a wildcard berth but León bowed out meekly to Cruz Azul.

But the announcement that “La Fiera” was chasing in-demand coach Nicolás Larcamón perked up ears across the Liga MX landscape.

Larcamón has worked wonders with a modest Puebla club, not only guiding “La Franja” to the playoffs in each of his four seasons in “El Angelópolis,” but also making noise therein.

Los Camoteros stunned Liga MX watchers in Larcamón’s first season in control, claiming the No. 3 seed and reaching the semifinals, then proceeded to advance out of the of the wildcard round each of the next three seasons.

Early last year, América made a bid to hire the 38-year-old Argentine, but Larcamón opted to remain in Puebla.

This winter, Camoteros management was more amenable to a transaction but drove a hard bargain. León has sent legendary skipper Luis “El Chapo” Montes and veteran winger Elías Hernández to Puebla in exchange for Larcamón.

Montes – a four-time Liga MX champ – will add experience and savvy to a roster that has been depleted since the Apertura 2022 ended. Hernández– with three Liga MX titles on his résumé – will contribute offense and playmaking though at 34 he’s not a 90-minute man anymore.

New boss in Puebla

To fill Larcamón’s shoes, Puebla promoted from within, introducing Eduardo Arce as new head man. Arce – Larcamón’s top assistant the past two years – has been a Camotero for nearly a decade, playing for the club in 2013-2014 then coaching in the junior ranks. He led Puebla’s Under-17 team to that category’s Liga MX championship a few years back.

Arce move into his new office knowing his roster has new holes to fill.

Puebla sold up-and-coming defender Israel Reyes to América last month then announced the departure of midfielder Jordi Cortizo, the club’s most dynamic playmaker last season.

Reyes, 22, developed into an anchor of Puebla’s back line under Larcamón, earning a Team Mexico cap last December in a Concacaf Nations League match. He will be hard to replace.

Cortizo, 26, scored 5 goals – including a couple Goal of the Year candidates – and added 3 assists last season. He will join the deep-pocketed Rayados who outbid the Chivas for the services the Querétaro native.

Cortizo will fill the void in the Monterrey midfield left by Rodolfo Pizarro who returns to MLS club Inter Miami as his loan deal ended. Pizarro’s year-long return to Liga MX did not go as planned. Pizarro contributed just 1 goal and 2 assists across 30 games with the Liga MX giants who came up short in the playoffs in both seasons.

Next. Defensive slip-ups hurt USA vs Holland. dark

Next Liga MX offseason snapshot on Monday

Atlético de San Luis acquired a new young goalie who might soon have a future with El Tri. The Pumas have been busy since a rocky start to their winter proceedings and Cruz Azul has been shuffling players around.