If you had a chance to watch some Liga MX action this weekend, odds are you enjoyed the game or games you were able to see. Across the board, most of the 2013 Clausura Week 5 matches were loaded with entertainment, goals, or stellar defense.
The week was highlighted by a clash of the titans - Club Tijuana and Tigres, both 4-0 coming into the weekend. The game certainly did not disappoint, but on the other hand - none of this past weekend's games did.
On Friday, Atlas continued their strong start to the year with a 2-1 road win over Jaguares. Atlas has given itself a bit of room to breathe from the relegation battle, but they'll need a consistent full season to avoid it completely. The new look team has really made others take notice and they're slowing becoming a topic of conversation in the Mexican league.
On Saturday, Club America continued to put in strong performances with a 3-0 crushing of the other team with relegation struggles, Queretaro. Raul Jimenez scored a brace and Chucho Benitez added a penalty kick go give America their fourth victory of the year. The real question facing America is if they can be consistent not only during the season, but carry that into the liguilla. Queretaro on the other hand, can't seem to field a winning side and surely looks like the favorite to return to the second division later this year.
In what many were expected to be the game of the week, the top two Mexican clubs - Tijuana and Tigres - faced off in Monterrey. It's tough to beat Tigres at home, but Tijuana took the early lead in the 14' when Alfredo Moreno scored for the Xolos. In the second half, Tigres forward Lucas Lobos added two goals in a 15 minute span to put the home team on top. The lead wouldn't last for long, as Duvier Riascos got the equalizer just nine minutes later. With the point, both teams continue to share the top spot in Mexican soccer with 13 points through five weeks.
In Pachuca, Toluca continued to struggle after finishing runner up in the championship last season, falling to the home side 1-0. Puebla was able to get a much needed home victory as well as they beat Morelia 3-1 in Estadio Cuauhtemoc.
Leon was looking to rebound and get their first win of the season against Cruz Azul, but in the end a 2-2 was all they would walk away with. I missed the first half of this one as I watched Tijuana/Tigres, but the second half was a great half of soccer. Mariano Pavone got his second goal of the game in the 74', but Nacho Gonzalez equalized for Leon just a minute later. There were so many missed chances in this one and the scoreline could have been much higher.
Chivas continue to struggle and no are winless through the first five weeks of the Clausura. Mexican Gold Medalist Marco Fabian put his side up in the 23', but Mauro Matos equalized for San Luis in the second half. When you look at the talent Chivas has on paper, it's baffling how they continue to be one of the worst clubs in recent seasons.
Here's a really cool statistic regarding the 2013 Liga MX Clausura: through the first 43 matches, there hasn't been a 0-0 draw between two teams. In Mexican soccer, this hasn't occurred in over 10 years.
On Sunday, two teams fighting for points finished with the first 0-0 draw of the year. Must have been the worst game of the weekend, right? Wrong. Pumas hosted Santos in Estadio Olimpico Universitario and behind roughly 20,000 fans, both teams put on a spectacular display of soccer. The game featured a blocked penalty kick by a Mexican soccer legend (Oswaldo Sanchez), a couple of defensive goal line clearances, and a large amount of missed (yet exciting) chances. In the end the two teams combined for 33 total shots. Sanchez made an incredible 8 saves on the day and let Santos leave with a point. For Pumas, as the home team they have to be disappointed with all the missed chances and have to find a way for their strikers to score.
Finally, the weekend was capped off with Monterrey being demolished 3-1 by Atlante in Cancun. Los Rayados had possession for 62% of the game, but were only able to get two shots on goal. Aldo De Nigris had Monterry's lone goal, while Kikin Fonseca (yes he still plays), Christian Maidana, and Esteban Paredes scored for Atlante. Paredes now has two goals on the season, after finished at the top in the Apertura with 11.
Week 6: What to Watch
Pumas at Cruz Azul: La Maquina is one of the three Liga MX clubs that has yet to see defeat, but they haven't been dominant, and are a beatable team. The Pumas just fought to a 0-0 draw with Santos but played well, and are set on not repeating their Apertura season. If Pumas can't pull out a win this weekend, they're likely going to create too far of a gap to catch up to the other clubs. Cruz Azul may be the favorites, but I'm calling for a Pumas win.
Club America at Tijuana: The Xolos' Estadio Caliente has basically become a fortress for the young club. America is one of the best clubs in the Clausura, but Tijuana is the best. This is a giant game and one that should live up to the hype. Even though America has been at the top of their game, I expect Tijuana to continue to show their dominance and get all three points.
Chivas at Monterrey: The Goats are all but sinking fast. Five weeks in they have yet to taste victory, and sadly I don't think they will this week. Los Rayados are a strong home team and not many road teams leave Estadio Technológico happy.