Alan Pulido, one of Tigres and Mexico's upcoming stars, kicked off the new season with a goal in Tigres 4-0 romping of Jaguares. (Credit: Kelvin Kuo-US PRESSWIRE)
The newly revamped Liga MX kicked off this weekend with much fanfare, but by the conclusion of Sunday's primetime game, fans were left wanting a bit more action. While most MLS fans were witnessing goals galore in the last week, Mexico's nine games this weekend saw only 16 goals total, with three 0-0 draws. Six of those 16 goals were scored by the first two games, played on Friday.
Fans of Mexican soccer won't have to wait long for more action, as the Copa MX kicks off today for the first time since 1997. 14 teams from the Liga MX (first division) and 14 teams from Ascenso MX (second division) will face off with each other to see who will be crowned champion of Mexico. We'll talk more about the Copa MX after we review this past weekend's action.
Tigres, winners of the Apertura 2011, kicked off the season by making a 4-0 statement against Jaguares de Chiapas. Chiapas couldn't get any offense started and will likely struggle after the loss of last years major offensive threat, Jackson Martinez. Martinez left Mexico and signed with Porto in Portugal. Tigres got all four goals in the first half from four different players.
Elsewhere, highly popular Tijuana overpowered Puebla 2-0 in Estadio Caliente.Tijuana, which retains three young Americans on their roster, continued their good form which saw them make the liguilla last season. Fernando Arce had a nice free kick to give them an early lead and had a hand in a corner that gave them the insurance goal in the second half.
Take a look inside to see the rest of the action and what to look forward to in Copa MX.
Saturday saw the majority of games, but also a few disappointments. Leading up to the action, the game of the week surely was Club America against Monterrey, but the game ended in a 0-0 draw. Considering Monterrey rarely loses at home, I think America fared well to escape with a point.
Another game expected to be one to watch was Cruz Azul against Morelia. Cruz Azul went out and brought in Mexican National Team midfielder Pablo Barrera and goal scorer Mariano Pavone to bolster their lineup. While Pavone had a great preseason, he couldn't put his team ahead, as the game finished 0-0.
Newly promoted Leon was welcomed back into the big leagues with a 2-0 victory over Queretaro on the road, while Pumas and Atlas played to a 1-1 draw.
Reigning champions Santos Laguna got a late winner by American forward Herculez Gomez in the 71', after both team exchanged their first goals in the first three minutes.
Toluca beat Chivas 2-1 on Sunday. Chivas, who brought in Dutch coach John van't Schip in the offseason to turn the stuggling team around, will likely struggle in their first few weeks with some of their young stars playing with Mexico in the olympics.
The weekend finished up with Atlante and Pachuca playing out a 0-0 draw in what was a highly anticipated game considering the history between both coaches, Richardo La Volpe and Hugo Sanchez.
Copa MX Starts Today
The Copa MX is a new addition to 2012 and will kick off tonight with 6 games. The national tournament will put first and second division teams against each other looking to crown Mexico's champion. While the Copa MX fixtures are in between Liga MX games, the tournament is likely to showcase the best of Mexico's youth in both first and second division clubs. How successful the tournament becomes is yet to be seen, but it's a great way to expand your knowledge of the Mexican league and their system.
Below are the fixtures for the first leg of the round. Nearly all are televised and you won't want to miss out on some more exciting futbol.
Tuesday, July 24 (Liga MX teams on left, Ascenso MX on right)
7 PM - Morelia vs Estudiantes (ESPN3)
7 PM - Jaguares vs Nexaca (Azteca America)
7 PM - Gallso Blancos vs Correcaminos (Univision Deportes)
9 PM - Leon vs Dorados (ESPN3)
9 PM - Tijuana vs Merida (ESPN3)
9 PM - Toluca vs Lobos (Univision Deportes)
Wednesday, July 25th
4 PM - San Luis vs Pumas Morelos (Univision Deportes)
7 PM - Cruz Azul vs Neza (ESPN3)
7 PM - Pachuca vs Leones Negros (Azteca America, Univision Deportes)
7 PM - Pumas vs Celaya
7 PM - Puebla vs Irapuato (ESPN3)
9 PM - Atlas vs Altamira
9 PM - Atlante vs La Piedad (Univision Deportes)
9 PM - America vs Veracruz
I'll provide you a recap of both Liga MX and Copa MX games next week. Look for a feature coming soon about the resurrection of Copa MX and what it could mean to Mexico's growth.