1) Tijuana’s collapse can only be described as a complete failure.
On March 15, Xolos were sitting at the top of the table with a four-point gap over second-place Veracruz. Fast-forward to today, and Xolos are out of the Liguilla.
In truth, Xolos had shown some over-dependency in their star players, but they had shown at least enough to grind out results in close matches in the first-half of the season. What followed, however, was an endless spiral of negative results in which they lost six out of their last seven games. Horrific is an understatement, and they might have to do more than banners this time around to apologize to their fans.
2) Leones Negros failed to step up in the Liga MX.
Despite their best efforts, Leones Negros were relegated on Saturday after defeating Cruz Azul 2-0. Puebla’s 2-2 draw with Santos meant that Alfonso Sosa’s side will be returning to the Ascenso MX after only one season in the top-tier.
It is always sad watching a team get relegated, but not many will complain about the outcome. UDG failed to show the necessary grit in and out of the field to be part of the 18 teams of the Liga MX.
3) Changes may be looming for Cruz Azul.
Xolos’ collapse perhaps overshadows Cruz Azul’s own collapse, but the Cementeros went five straight games without conceding a single goal in the first five weeks and were sitting at the top-half of the table for large periods of the season. On Saturday, Cruz Azul fell 2-0 to Leones Negros at home and finished out of a Liguilla place.
With Luis Fernando Tena’s time at Cruz Azul probably coming to an end, a new manager is first in the agenda. Cruz Azul missed out on Gustavo Matosas last season, but the rumor mill is going strong. Whoever the manager is, it is now 18 years and counting for Cruz Azul without a league title.
4) Monterrey fell just short in Tec goodbye.
Monterrey fell just short of a Liguilla place on Saturday after drawing 2-2 with Pumas UNAM at the Estadio Tecnologico. The game marked the end of Rayados’ 65-year stay at the Estadio Tecnologico ahead of the opening of their new stadium in August.
Credit has to go to Antonio Mohamed who turned this team around and gave them a chance until the very end. Next season promises to be much different for Rayados supporters as Mohamed will be in charge from the very start.
5) Liguilla match-ups conjure up a nice mix of playing styles.
It is hard to find consistency among the eight teams that qualified to the Liguilla. In fact, you can argue that the top eight teams are a perfect reflection of a league where balance is the norm.
However, there is no shortage of different styles on portrayal in the quarterfinals. Ricardo Ferretti, Pedro Caixinha, Gustavo Matosas, Jose Manuel de la Torre, Tomas Boy, Carlos Reinoso, and Victor Manuel Vucetich are all experienced managers with a very defined style of play. The odd one out in the group of eight is young Pachuca manager Diego Alonso, who is still developing his managerial ethos in the Liga MX.
One just hopes that this Liguilla is more entertaining than the last, where only 20 goals were scored. Get ready for the Liga MX Liguilla.