1) Carlos Barra may be in the hot seat – Last season, I found it rather surprising that not many people questioned Carlos Barra when Monterrey lost to Club America in the semifinals. Sure, it was going to take a miracle for Monterrey to score four goals at the Azteca, but the attitude in which Monterrey went out was truly woeful. They looked seemingly uninspired and careless. In that manner, it is exactly how Monterrey have looked in large periods of this tournament. Carlos Barra is just not getting enough out of his players, and a 4-1 defeat to a struggling Santos may raise the alarm levels in Monterrey.
2) America’s midfield problems continue – Nobody is denying the potential Club America have in the final third. Players like Darwin Quintero and Oribe Peralta are game changers, but the heart of their midfield continues to struggle. In all three of America’s games, Las Aguilas couldn’t keep possession in important parts of the game. With so many players pushing forward for America, Puebla were successful in controlling the midfield. America’s biggest mistake in the transfer market may be not paying enough money for Quintero and using Jesus Molina as a token for trade. Matosas’ team has really missed a midfielder of his presence.
3) Chiapas has a growing hegemony at home – With Chiapas’ victory over Atlas this weekend, it is now 15 games where they are undefeated at the Estadio Victor Manuel Reyna. In the past, teams like Pumas and Toluca have made made important league runs while maintaining undefeated streaks at home. In a league where the top eight teams have a chance at winning the league title, doing well at home might be all you need to be lifting the trophy at the very end.
4) Vasquez’s changes worked wonders for Pumas – After a poor showing against Chivas, Pumas bounced right back with a 3-2 victory against Toluca. Pumas manager, Guillermo Vasquez, made some important changes like removing Jose Van Rankin from the right-back position and playing Ismael Sosa more centrally. Van Rankin had been a focal point for exposure by many teams who face Pumas, and his move to the midfield was probably for the best. Sosa, on the other hand, has been Pumas’ most consistent scorer and playing him on the wing seemed futile. Today, Sosa scored two goals and made a good case as to why he deserves to keep playing in the middle.
5) The relegation battle may go until the very end – Unlike in previous years, it looks like the relegation battle will go to the very end. After three weeks, none of the teams are budging. The rule among teams fighting relegation this year seems to be “when in doubt, play for a draw”, but sooner rather than later that’s going to have to change. The most fun part of this tournament may be watching the relegation battle unfold.