Though this weekend comprised the first official gameday in two weeks for most Liga MX teams, coaches were seen using subs liberally.
That’s because a Midweek Matchday was drawn up on the calendar and 12 of 18 teams will be playing three games in 10 days or less.
As such, quite a few managers were taking pains to use all five subs permitted, confounding some commentators who couldn’t understand why well-performing players were being replaced midway through the second half of closely contested matches.
After the Liga MX’s month-long hiatus (so its teams could stumble around the United States in the ill-fated Leagues Cup tournament), fans of Mexican soccer will be treated to 36 games from this past Friday through Sept. 3 when the FIFA break allows teams to catch a breath.
Well, that didn’t take long …
Referee Fernando Hernández was back in the headlines after his first appearance in more than four months.
Hernández called his first game since inventing the simultaneous yellow card/low blow castigation back on April 1. Hernández was suspended 12 games by the Liga MX Disciplinary Committee after kneeing León’s Lucas Romero in the privates during a kerfuffle midway through the América-León.
Properly contrite, the ref was given the whistle for Friday’s FC Juárez-Guadalajara match and, afterward, was given poor marks by those who opine on such things.
Hernández’s failure (refusal?) to consult VAR after awarding a controversial penalty in favor of the host Bravos was heavily criticized by the Chivas and all the TV talking heads following the match which ended in a 1-1 draw.
His performance wasn’t one to earn another suspension (don’t ask the Chivas though) but it might earn him a visit from league officials asking him to take a remedial course on proper officiating.
Liga MX spoilsports
Don’t invite Tigres to your birthday party. They’ll probably blow out your candles before you can, shove your face in the cake and then take home all your best presents.
Necaxa celebrates the 100th anniversary of its founding today, Aug. 21, so Sunday’s match at Estadio Victoria was part of a lengthy celebration to memorialize the franchise’s fabled history and legendary achievements … until the whistle blew, that is.
André-Pierre Gignac scored just 10 minutes in (assisted by former Rayos star Sebastián Córdova) and from then on the visiting Tigres toyed with “Los Electricistas” before adding two more late to short-circuit and condemn Necaxa to 16th place in the Liga MX table.
Dória’s revenge game didn’t go as planned
Leading up to the Apertura 2023, Santos Laguna defender Matheus Dória had circled Matchday 4 on his calendar, swearing he’d make Cruz Azul pay.
Back in June, Dória thought he’d been acquired by the Mexico City giant in a blockbuster deal that was going to bolster the Cementeros’ back line. When team doctors raised questions during the medical, Cruz Azul unceremoniously sent the 28-year-old Brazilian back to Coahuila.
Dória was furious at the time and seethed about the perceived shabby treatment. So he might be a bit sheepish about how things shook out at Estadio Azteca Sunday night in his revenge match.
While Santos picked up a key road point thanks to the 2-2 draw, Dória committed the penalty – a silly foul – that allowed Cruz Azul to take a 2-1 lead just before halftime.
Atlas fans denied chance to boo Quiñones
After helping Atlas to back-to-back titles (AP21 and CL22), Julián Quiñones left for greener pastures this season.
The Colombian dangerman received a heart-warming going-away party from the Zorros faithful at Estadio Jalisco in July. But now he is wearing an América jersey and Matchday 4 had him playing against the beloved “Rojinegros.” No doubt he would have expected to hear some friendly jeers and boos from the Estadio Jalisco crowd on Sunday night.
But it was not to be and Quiñones was denied the chance to play in front of Zorros Nation thanks to a Guadalajara visit by Romeo Santos that forced a change of venue.
As it was, JQ was kept in check by his former mates (he missed a very makable header in front of goal, though he did contribute an assist) as the contest ended in a 1-1 draw.
“Wait, who’s Romeo Santos,” you ask? Why he is the world’s most popular practitioner of bachata. “What’s bachata,” you legitimately ask? Why that is a contemporary musical genre originating in the Dominican Republic.
An Aug. 11 Romeo Santos concert at Estadio Jalisco combined with heavy rains from Hurricane Hilary chewed up the turf and forced Liga MX officials to move the Atlas-América game to Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca.
Ironically, this marked the second time this season América saw a game affected by a concert. The Aguilas’ season-opener at Querétaro was postponed after a Carín León concert in late June left the Estadio Corregidora pitch unplayable.