Gignac, Lainez & more: Goal's Liga MX Team of the Apertura

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Azael Rodriguez
After America's title victory, Goal names its Best XI of the season, with the Tigres star and the America prospect both finding a spot

  1. Pedro Pardo

    Jesus Corona | GK | Cruz Azul

    While the season didn't end well for him, Corona had an excellent Apertura overall. The 37-year-old goalkeeper was the anchor of a defense that allowed just 13 goals in the regular season and led the league in clean sheets with 10 between the regular season and the Liguilla.

    Honorable mention goes to Queretaro's Tiago Volpi and Santos Laguna's Jonathan Orozco. 

  2. Getty Images

    Rodrigo Salinas | RB | Toluca

    Salinas is the best player at a position that's very thin throughout the league. This campaign he chipped in with a pair of goals and several chances created for the Toluca attack. He also was difficult to get by for attackers, with Opta numbers showing he wasn't responsible for a single error that led to a shot, much less a goal. 
     
    America's Paul Aguilar also was in the mix.
  3. Bruno Valdez | CB | Club America

    Valdez's defensive contributions might have been enough to get him on the list. The Paraguayan is a solid player at the back, averaging just under four clearances a game and more than three interceptions each match. 

    His contributions going forward really shore up his place in the team, though. Valdez somehow led America in scoring with seven goals. Five of those came from headers. He also chipped in an assist. 

  4. Manuel Velasquez

    Pablo Aguilar | CB | Cruz Azul

    One of the more influential players in the tournament, Aguilar arrived in the summer and showed no drop-off from previous Liga MX tournaments with Tijuana or America. 

    The 31-year-old made 4.4 clearances per match, won five duels a game and overall took a unit that was average last season and helped turn it into the best in the league.

  5. Alfredo Estrella

    Adrian Aldrete | LB | Cruz Azul

    Aldrete formed part of the Cruz Azul back line that was so difficult to break down this season but also gave La Maquina plenty of help going forward. He would often help the team overload the left side of the field to get a numerical advantage that led to a chance. 

    He ended the year with four assists in addition to his two goals and his contributions at the back.

  6. Victor Guzman | MF | Pachuca

    The best Mexican player in the tournament, Guzman reportedly has interest from La Liga teams after his campaign. It's easy to understand why. In addition to his nine goals and five assists, Guzman showed an ability to play all over the midfield. 

    With strong performances for the national team as well this fall, Guzman could be the next Tuzos product to head across the Atlantic Ocean and stand out in Europe. 

  7. Hector Vivas

    Ivan Marcone | MF | Cruz Azul

    The Argentine didn't need an adaptation period, arriving in Mexico and hitting the ground running at Cruz Azul. He helped protect the team's center backs, recovering the ball frequently and staying calm in possession while looking for an option farther forward. 

    Those performances reportedly have drawn the attention of Villarreal, though it remains to be seen if La Maquina want to sell after just six months with Marcone.

  8. Jesus Gallardo | MF | Monterrey

    In a season during which Monterrey was hit by injuries all over the field, Gallardo was a consistent presence who helped the team move into the playoffs and later the semifinals. 

    After playing left back for Mexico during the World Cup, he showed his versatility by taking on an advance role - though not as advanced as the outright winger position he played at Pumas - with Diego Alonso's side. The end result? Gallardo plugging a bunch of holes and ending the tournament with three goals and an assist.

  9. Hector Vivas

    Julio Furch | FW | Santos Laguna

    How do you replace the league's top scorer? If you're Santos Laguna, you just have Julio Furch step up and fill the void.

    His 12 goals this tournament was good for second in the league, helping fill the void left by Djaniny's move to Saudi Arabia and getting the club into the playoffs in the fourth position. Santos scored in every game this season until the playoffs, and Furch was a huge part of that.

  10. Azael Rodriguez

    Andre-Pierre Gignac | FW | Tigres

    Just when you thought the Frenchman was in for a quiet season, Gignac roared to life at the end of the year. His 14 regular season goals earned him the Golden Boot, with eight goals in the last seven matches of the campaign. 

    The bad news for the rest of Liga MX? Gignac inked an extension and will be at Tigres for the foreseeable future.

  11. Hector Vivas

    Diego Lainez | FW | America

    The 18-year-old wasn't on the field as much as America fans would have liked, but that's water under the bridge now. He had three goals in five starts during regular season but showed why he's on Ajax and other Champions League teams' radar during the playoffs. 

    It the postseason he started both legs of the semifinals and final, scoring once against Pumas and serving as a catalyst for the club as it went on to lift the trophy.

  12. Goal 2018 Liga MX Team of the Apertura

    So, there's our selection. What are your thoughts? Anyone who doesn't deserve to be in there? Any glaring omissions? Let us know in the comments section!