Scattershooting as Matchday 9 (finally) begins to wind down

Querétaro manhandles Atlético de San Luis; Chivas making line-up decisions to please network?

"Chicharito" Hernández returned to Liga MX action a bit earlier than anticipated and inquiries turned up an interesting reason why.
"Chicharito" Hernández returned to Liga MX action a bit earlier than anticipated and inquiries turned up an interesting reason why. / Simon Barber/GettyImages
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The Northern Giants are in action Wednesday night as the 15-day long Matchday 9 finally comes to an end and both are heavily favored to claim a “W.”

The 7th-place Tigres host last-place FC Juárez while the third-place Rayados of Monterrey have a chance to climb atop the Liga MX table with a victory at 16th-place Mazatlán FC.

It so happens that Wednesday’s two underdogs are the only remaining winless teams in Liga MX, further adding to the sense of inevitability.

Tigres – off to their typical slow start – are in need of finding some offensive rhythm as they have a tough two-game stretch on the horizon (at Toluca and at América) while Monterrey’s league-leading defense (5 goals allowed) faces a Xolos side that is in danger of getting its coach sacked.

Gallos Blancos get wake-up call

Quéretaro spanked slumping Atlético de San Luis on Tuesday night, extending its unbeaten streak to four games after a 0-3-2 start to the Clausura 2024. Veteran Pablo Barrera, 36, scored twice to spark the rout.

The 4-1 win was the club’s second straight, vaulting the White Roosters into 10th place, placing Mauro Genk’s team in the thick of the playoff race as the Liga MX calendar heads toward the clubhouse turn.

Atleti is now winless in seven games since starting the season with two straight wins. The stumbling Red-and-Whites have been outscored 6-18 during their horrid 0-6-1 stumble.

Telemundo calling shots for Chivas?

Fans and pundits alike were surprised, but pleased, to see Javier “Chicharito” Hernández make his return to Liga MX this past weekend. 

Guadalajara’s prodigal son trotted onto the Estadio Akron pitch in minute 87 of the team’s 3-1 victory over UNAM, a token appearance that was met with a roar from Chivas Nation.

Club officials had long said they’d wait until “Chicharito” was fully fit and ready to play extended minutes before putting him on the field. So what gives?

Turns out Telemundo – the network owning US broadcast rights to Guadalajara’s home games – urged club owner Amaury Vergara to move up the star striker’s “debut” since they’d be televising the UNAM contest and not next week’s match at Cruz Azul.

Vergara consented then convinced coach Fernando Gago of the wisdom of such a move … and voila! 

Another Liga MX antagonist?

América officials are livid that fitness coach “Paco” Martínez was suspended two games after a post-match altercation with his Cruz Azul counterpart, claiming that the Cementeros coaching staff were the instigators.

As the teams walked off the field after América's 4-1 win over Cruz Azul on Saturday, a melee erupted among the coaches. Players eventually rushed in to break up the rumble.

Just nine games into his tenure at Cruz Azul, coach Martín Anselmi is earning a reputation as a provocateur: chirping at rival players, yelling at the fourth official, screaming at the opposing bench.

Anselmi’s staff is said to be similarly boorish, drawing comparisons to former Puebla and León manager Nicolás Larcamón and his coaching camarilla.

Aguilas management was scrambling to find video evidence that Diego Battaioli had provoked the confrontation but thus far has come up empty.

Next. Pachuca denies Necaxa big home win with late penalty kick. Pachuca denies Necaxa big home win with late-game penalty kick. dark

It will be worth keeping an eye on the antics along the sidelines during Cruz Azul games for the remainder of the Liga MX season.