Clausura 2023 at the midpoint: Henry, Nahuel setting the standards

América's Henry Martin leads Liga MX with 10 goals at the midpoint of the Clausura 2023 season. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
América's Henry Martin leads Liga MX with 10 goals at the midpoint of the Clausura 2023 season. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) /
Liga MX midpoint review
Tigres netminder Nahuel Guzmán leads all Liga MX goalies with five clean sheets this season. (Photo by Ricardo Hernandez/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

As we stare down the back side of the Clausura 2023 calendar, it’s worth taking note of who’s hot and who’s not as we move toward the home stretch.

After nine matchdays, América striker Henry Martín has the inside track to the Liga MX MVP award while Monterrey’s Rogelio Funes Mori and UNAM’s Juan Ignacio Dinenno are giving chase in the race for the Golden Boot trophy.

On the other side of the ball, Tigres goalie Nahuel Guzmán (a league-high five clean sheets) and Toluca’s defense (four shutouts) have been particularly stingy. The Diablos Rojos are led by a stout threesome of goalie Tiago Volpi and central defenders Valber Huerta and Andrés Mosquera, each of whom have played every minute of every game thus far.

As for coaches, four teams have already handed out pink slips, three for rotten results and Diego Cocca was replaced at Tigres after the Argentine manager accepted the El Tri job.

Henry chasing Borgetti’s mark

“La Bomba” has become a scoring machine for the Aguilas, returning from the World Cup in fine form. Henry leads Liga MX with 10 goals and, with eight games remaining, he could potentially chase down Jared Borgetti’s record for most goals scored by a Mexican in a Liga MX short season.

The 30-year-old is also seeking to become the first Mexican Golden Boot winner since Alan Pulido knocked 12 balls into the net for Guadalajara during the Apertura 2019 season.

Henry has now reached double figures for a second consecutive season and he has a three-goal lead over his closest pursuers for the Liga MX Golden Boot trophy

Way back during the “Winter 2000” campaign, Borgetti hit the net 17 times for Santos Laguna and Henry is on pace to top that mark.

First he’ll have to pass a pair of Chivas who bagged 11 goals: Omar Bravo (Clausura 2007) and “Chicharito” Hernández (Apertura 2009); the next target would be Pulido followed quickly by Angel Reyna who scored 13 times for América during the Clausura 2011.

The América front man has already made some history this season, climbing into the Aguilas all-time Top 10 goalscorers list. He now has 78 goals and trails No. 9 Carlos Hermosillo by 15 goals.

Standing tall between the pipes

Although “Pato” Guzmán tops Liga MX in shutouts, Necaxa’s Hugo González leads the league in saves. The Rayos netminder has parried aside 38 of the 146 shots he’s faced for a 26.1% save percentage.

For his part, Guzmán has faced 97 shots while posting a similar 26.8% save percentage (26 saves).

Puebla’s Antony Silva has faced the most shots thus far – 170 – and despite making the second-most saves in Liga MX (36), the Camoteros have conceded the second-most goals.

América’s Oscar Jiménez boasts the highest save percentage (29.6%), but he has heard jeers from the Aguilas faithful who blame him for not being Memo Ochoa. The club’s revered ex-goalie is now plying his trade in Serie A.

Another notable keeper, Carlos Acevedo, has also been under duress. Acevedo – considered by many to be the heir apparent to Ochoa with El Tri – has seen his net violated 19 times (third-most in Liga MX). The Santos Laguna skipper has faced 154 shots and produced a mediocre 23.4% save percentage. But to be fair, the Guerreros defense has been rather leaky this season. As evidence, have a look at the 5 goals “los Laguneros” conceded against Toluca last Thursday.

One other goalie of note, Cruz Azul’s Jesús Corona, deserves mention. The 42-year-old legend recorded the 190th clean sheet of his career. In so doing, he surpassed another Cementeros legend – Oscar Pérez – who finished his Hall of Fame career with 189 shutouts.

Liga MX coaching carousel

Four teams have sacked managers already this season, a dramatic increase over last season when only one coach was fired in-season.

The first to be sent packing was Gabriel Caballero who was dismissed by Mazatlán after just three games, all losses. Neither interim manager Christián Ramírez nor new coach Rubén Omar Romano have produced a victory yet, but the Cañoneros did garner their first point of the Clausura 2023 on Matchday 8 (a 1-1 draw at Querétaro).

Next to go was Ricardo Valiño who cleared out his locker after Tijuana opened the season 0-4-1. Many though Valiño would be replaced before the new Liga MX season, but management finally reacted on Feb. 4. Cirilo Saucedo kept the seat warm for a week (a 1-0 home win over Atlético de San Luis) until former El Tri manager and two-time Liga MX champion Miguel Herrera was hired.

Next to be moved out was Diego Cocca. Although the Mexican Soccer Federation said it would allow the Tigres coach to pull double duty and finish the season with “los felinos,” ownership puled the plug and placed Marco Antonio Ruiz in charge.

Next. Chivas earn statement win; América lone unbeaten. dark

On Feb. 13, Cruz Azul axed Raúl Gutiérrez after the Cementeros’ wretched 0-1-4 start. Joaquín Moreno stepped into the breach and led “La Máquina Azul” to two straight victories before giving way to Ricardo Ferretti, the all-time winningest Liga MX manager who watched Cruz Azul win the first game of his tenure this past weekend.