Toluca scored deep into stoppage time to fashion a 1-1 draw against Cruz Azul in a Copa por México match.
The preseason tournament features 10 Liga MX teams with the trophy to be handed out after the Dec. 30 final
Cruz Azul edged into first place in Group A while Toluca was eliminated (the Diablos Rojos needed a victory to keep alive its slim hopes). The Cementeros will battle América on Dec. 27 for first place in the group and a spot in the Cup final.
The Copa por México is proving to be an ideal opportunity for the 10 participants to prepare for the upcoming Clausura 2023, making use of the extended time in between seasons produced by the atypical late-year World Cup.
Is ‘El Pistolero’ coming to Liga MX?
A popular topic of discussion during the Toluca-Cruz Azul game was Cruz Azul’s pursuit of Luis Suárez as the “La Máquina Azul” loads up to chase a 10th Liga MX title.
The 35-year-old Uruguay legend is without a contract after spending the past six months back home with Nacional after 15 years in Europe with iconic clubs including Ajax, Liverpool, Barcelona and Atlético de Madrid.
Cementeros coach Raúl Gutiérrez is reportedly bullish on the Cementeros’ chance of bringing “El Pistolero” to Liga MX.
The club has submitted a legitimate offer and Cementeros assistant coach Oscar Pérez even traveled to Qatar to make a pitch to Suárez while the third all-time leading scorer in Barcelona history was playing in the World Cup with his national team.
Catching up on recent transactions
Toluca has been putting its new acquisitions to use in the Copa por México, most specifically Maxi Araujo and Carlos Orrantia.
Araujo – a dangerous left winger – was acquired from Puebla on Tuesday while fullback/wingback Orrantia was prised away from Santos Laguna in exchange for Raúl “Dedos” López last week. Both saw action in Toluca’s two Cup games this week.
Facundo Waller was one of the most productive wingers/wide midfielders in Liga MX last season and he will now be wearing a Puebla jersey where he will be expected to replace Araujo’s production.
Waller, 25, spent the past two seasons with Atlético de San Luis following two seasons with UNAM.
The Camoteros also added young midfielders Fernando Arce (FC Juárez) and Carlos Baltazar (second division Leones Negros) to their locker room.
Defensive midfielder Omar Govea will be looking to make his Liga MX debut in 2023 now that Monterrey has brought him back home from Romania’s FC Voluntari on a loan deal.
Govea, 26, came up through the América academy system but left for Europe before debuting with the senior team. The San Luis Potosí native bounced around among teams in Portugal and Belgium before finding extended action in Romania.
Monterrey’s crosstown rivals Tigres has also been active. We’ve already told you that midfield dynamo Fernando Gorriarán has joined from Santos Laguna, but we have yet to mention that three players were not re-signed, considered surplus to needs by new coach Diego Cocca.
Defenders Hugo Ayala, Luis “Chaka” Rodríguez and Francisco Venegas are out of contract and will not be back. Ayala as moved to Atlético de San Luis, “Chaka” inked a deal with FC Juárez and Venegas is looking for a job with Cruz Azul trying to get to the front of the line.