2016 Liga MX Apertura: Five Conclusions from the Final

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1) Centenary season with failed objectives.

There is no other way around it for las Aguilas. No Copa MX title, no Club World Cup, and no Liga MX title. If this were baseball, it would be three strikes and you are out.

From where Club America came from this season, changing coaches midway through the tournament and struggling to string together a decent style of play, it was a superb effort. But when you plan on winning big things for your “Centenario” going trophyless can only be described as a failure.

In coming days, as America reflect on the last six months, questions should be asked about the failure of the higher-ups to deliver on their promises.

2) Refereeing was bad.

I think most Liga MX fans would agree the refereeing in this final was atrocious. The fact of the matter is everybody wants for the referees to make decisions that are correct. Nobody goes into a game thinking, “geeze, I really hope the referee messes up today”.

That in mind, whoever is in charge of referees in the FMF should look at the performances of both legs. For starters, there is no way Paul Delgadillo should have been assigned for this final. Delgadillo had been previously involved in a controversial final between these two teams, and to have him ref the first leg was setting him up far failure. So when Delgadillo called a nonexistent penalty in favor of Las Aguilas, absolutely nobody was surprised.

Then in the second leg at the Estadio Universitario, you’d expect Liga MX would assign a referee that understands the emotion of the game. After all, the title is on the line. Instead, Jorge Isaac Rojas lost complete control of the game from the very first whistle.

Delgadillo and Rojas are generally decent officials in the Liga MX, but it is not about that. It is about how Liga MX treated their assignments as a joke, and as a consequence, we got some comedic refereeing. At the end, the Liga MX fan deserved more than what they saw from the refs through the course of two legs.


3) Tuca celebrates 1000 games in style.

What better way to celebrate your 1000th game in charge than by winning a league title? Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti will arguably go down as the best manager in Tigres’ history, and perhaps one of the greatest in the Mexican game.

Over the past few years, the narrative that has developed says that Tuca is a boring manager. Those at Tigres say, “look who is champion once again”.

If nothing more, this title illustrates how Tuca is a man of stability. Never too dazzling, he likes to get the job done. In that regard, he is a special presence. In a day and age where managers come and go, Tuca has been able to evolve and enhance his reputation.

If you are keeping count, this championship represents Tuca Ferretti his fifth Liga MX title. It sounds easier said than done. 1000 games, five league titles, and a legend in San Nicolas de los Garza.

4) La Volpe falls short again.

If Tuca is among one of the greatest managers in the history of Mexican soccer, Ricardo La Volpe is not far behind. Few managers, if any, have been able to influence the Mexican game more than Ricardo La Volpe, which is why it is perplexing “el bigoton” has just one Liga MX title to his name.

There were flashes of good play, and La Volpe’s game management was good. He pushed men forward when he needed to, and the team pressed at all the right places. Ultimately, the quality was just not there.

Clearly, Rubens Sambueza was one player that struggled. La Volpe’s midfield is an entirely different proposition to the one he played on under Miguel Herrera, and as such, rarely did Sambu look as comfortable.

There is also Michael Arroyo who offers plenty of strength and raw speed, but just doesn’t possess the same tactical acumen of his fellow countryman Renato Ibarra.

Lastly, the left-back position has constantly been a struggle for las Aguilas. In short, Osmar Mares is simply not good enough, and while he doesn’t lack any intensity, Miguel Samudio’s skill-set can best be described as limited.

How long La Volpe stays at America depends heavily on him. For now, Christmas is over, but he will no doubt have several players on his wishlist.

5) Tigres is a worthy champion.

All things considered, it wasn’t the prettiest victory. In truth, Tigres never appeared in a commanding position. There was perhaps more tension than actual good play. Tigres deserve a whole lot of credit, though. When they needed to score, it seemed inevitable an equalizer would follow after both teams went down to nine men.

It’s worth remembering that the last time they were champions, they also needed penalties to lift the trophy. In that respect, Tigres’ players, most notably Nahuel Guzman, understand what it means to win a penalty shootout. Guzman made three penalty saves and it was game over for Club America.

The irony, of course, is we always talk about America as the team that knows how to win championships. This time around, it was Tigres who figured it out first.


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About Rafael Diaz

Fan of good futbol. Rafa runs Mexicanfut.com when he is not busy watching Arsenal drop points away to Stoke.