The Liga MX kicked off this past weekend with an average attendance of 24,662, 16 goals over the nine games and only one home team emerging victorious.
There were big wins for America, Monterrey, Pumas and Puebla, while Chivas struggled in its 1-1 draw with Chiapas, and Atlas and Tigres both failed to deliver in their 0-0 draw on Saturday.
Here are five things we learned from the first round of fixtures:
America, Leon will be up there
There was no doubt about the best game of the weekend, both on paper beforehand and after the 90 minutes. America and Leon went at each other, attacking, getting stuck in, picking up cards and providing a suitable crescendo when La Fiera scrambled for the equalizer.
Mexico teammates such as Oribe Peralta, Rafa Marquez, Miguel Layun, Carlos Pena, Paul Aguilar and Jose Juan Vazquez left that famous El Tri union behind and went at each other with real vigor, with America coming out a 2-1 winner.
A few of those names – as well as Raul Jimenez – are still being linked with European clubs, but if they don’t lose too many players, it is entirely conceivable that America and Leon will meet again in this tournament, in the Apertura’s very last game and with a title at stake.
Chivas is in a relegation battle
Guadalajara’s standard of play is still a way below that of America and Leon, at least on what we saw in a 1-1 draw with Chiapas in week one.
Chivas struggled on Sunday against a Chiapas side that caused consistent problems for its defense. There was no sense of fluency in the side and the truth is that the new signings made little difference. It was the same stale Rojiblancos.
Chivas needed a victory to get some momentum and positivity flowing through the club. Instead, there are yet more doubts and the wrong set of results next weekend could see Chivas bottom of the relegation table.
Talk of titles and playoffs seem irrelevant when the possibility of relegation is on the table.
Leones Negros set to join Chivas
Atlas could only draw 0-0 at home to Tigres, but the quality at the club now should easily move it away from the relegation battle. Guadalajara’s third team Leones Negros – recently promoted from the Ascenso MX – look set to replace Atlas in the fight for Liga MX survival
Saturday’s 3-1 loss to Monterrey was far from a disaster, but Leones Negros look like they lack quality at the minute and will need to pick up points at home.
Don’t discount the little guys
Puebla looked more solid than it has for a good few seasons at the back in claiming an excellent 1-0 victory in Tijuana, which is one of the most difficult away trips the Liga MX offers.
There looked to be a decent balance in the side and with Eisner Loboa, Wilberto Cosme, Luis Lorona, John Pajoy and Marlon de Jesus, there is plenty of firepower.
Unfancied Chiapas also impressed against Chivas and the combination of Christian “Hobbit” Bermudez, Andres Andrade, Matias Vuoso and Franco Arizala is a fascinating one in the final third.
Some teams are slow starters
It’s too early to make too many sweeping conclusions. It would be easy to criticize Atlas and Tigres for being slow out the block. Santos Laguna didn’t exactly set hearts beating and the same can be said for Toluca and Morelia, as well as Cruz Azul, which lost 1-0 to Pachuca on Saturday.
You should still expect them to be challenging come the midpoint of the Apertura regular season.