Resurgent Monterrey looks to knock Toluca off the top of the table while Tigres and Pumas hope to claw from the bottom. Goal previews this week's Liga MX action.
|Friday, January 17|
|Saturday, January 18|
|Sunday, January 19|
All times p.m., Eastern.
Queretaro - Santos
The Gallos Blancos of Queretaro were flying high last weekend, up a goal after winning their first two matches of the season. But, like with actual roosters, the flight didn't last long. Monterrey scored three to bring them crashing back to reality. Nevertheless, it's still been a strong start for the club, which now hosts Santos. Los Guerreros were hoping to make noise in both the league and in Copa Libertadores this season, but their early form hasn't indicated the necessary strength to do either. Grabbing the first win of the season Friday could set them on the right path.
Tijuana - Morelia
Xolos looked well on their way to their first away victory in nearly a year last week before crumbling and dropping a 2-1 result to Pachuca. Luckily for Cesar Farias' men, they're returning to the Estadio Caliente turf to face a Morelia team coming off a 2-0 win against Tigres. Both teams have capable attacks, and we're likely to see an open match as Tijuana seeks its first-ever win against Monarcas.
Cruz Azul - Veracruz
Both of these teams come into Saturday's showpiece undefeated, Cruz Azul on seven points and Veracruz on five. La Maquina have faced sterner tests and get the match at home but will have to cope with Jehu Chiapas and Luis Sanchez, who have both scored twice this campaign for Los Tiburones Rojos.
Tigres - Pumas
The key word for this one is pressure, as in both teams, and managers, are under lots of it. They've both only managed one point from three matches, Pumas blowing a lead in their first match for their lone point while Tigres have looked listless, with a scoreless draw in Week 2 the only time they have accumulated a point. If there's a winner, the losing manager might find out the terror of knowing what this world is about with Pumas fans chanting for Hugo Sanchez to replace Jose Luis Trejo and Tigres fans grown restless with struggles under Tuca Ferretti.
Leon - Pachuca
Whether the penalty that took America to victory against Leon last week was just or not, the Apertura champions must deal with the repercussions. They return home to face a Pachuca side buyoed by a late rally against Tijuana last week. After making several changes in the offseason, Los Tuzos will hope things are starting to solidify. A road win against a top team would certainly send a message.
Atlas - America
America beat Leon in an Apertura final rematch last weekend, but it labored to do so and probably got a bit of help from the officials. Struggles against a top-quality opponent are easily forgiven, especially when the match still resulted in a win. Struggling against Atlas, which is off to dreadful start, will be harder for manager Turco Mohamed to explain. Mohamed wants to score early and often against the stragglers, but his club will have to do it without star striker Raul Jimenez, who suffered an injury in training Wednesday.
Puebla - Chiapas
Puebla has shown it's nothing if not consistent early, as the only club in Liga MX to get the same result (a draw) in all three opening matches. With a 0-0 result last week, a 1-1 the week before that and a 2-2 in the first week, perhaps tipsters will put their money on a 3-3. Chiapas would probably take it after losing to big clubs the previous two weeks.
Toluca - Monterrey
Just a week ago, Monterrey looked to be sunk. The club drew its first two matches after a disappointing Apertura and Club World Cup. Humberto Suazo was diagnosed with a season-ending injury. Los Rayados were down 1-0 at the break against Queretaro, and things were looking bleak. But Victor Ramos equalized and keyed a rally that saw Monterrey come away a 3-1 victor. Just like that, we're looking at the game of the weekend with table-topping Toluca coming in with seven points and a plus-three goal differential but yet to be tested by any big clubs early.
Atlante - Chivas
El Guero Real has Chivas looking much better, though it would be hard to look much worse than they did in the Apertura. Meanwhile, Atlante took a small step toward warding off relegation by beating chief contender Atlas 1-0 last week. There needs to be a lot more where that came from if the club is going to stay in the top divison.
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