5 Key Battles for Liga MX Week 3
The third week of the Liga MX 2014 Apertura tournament is set to kick off on Friday, August 1 with the match between Queretaro and Pachuca.
It may not be the most exciting game, but what about Tijuana against UANL? And, Toluca vs. Pumas?
The current season of the Liga MX is getting better by the minute, and it is clear which footballers are pushing their clubs toward greatness.
Fernando Arce has become a thriving force for Guadalajara, while Dorlan Pabon has done his part for Monterrey.
Others, like Oribe Peralta are yet to impress let alone score.
Emmanuel Villa (UANL) vs. Elio Castro (Tijuana)
Last week Emmanuel Villa scored his first goal in 1,094 minutes played. The UANL striker hadn't put the ball away since the 2013 Clausura.
Now, Tito is ready to take a leading role with Tigres, and the timing couldn't be better. Alan Pulido left the club earlier this week and is hoping to sign with Greek side Olympiakos, as per SB Nation's Kevin McCauley, leaving a spot open in the attacking zone.
UANL is set to face Tijuana on Friday, August 1, at Estadio Caliente. Xolos have conceded three goals in two matchdays, while Tigres have four goals for.
Villa will put Elio Castro in distress, so the Tijuana centre-back needs to be on top of his game if he wants to help his club secure its first victory of the tournament.
Oribe Peralta (America) vs. Rodolfo Cota (Puebla)
Oribe Peralta has played 180 minutes with America but he has not scored yet, despite having a couple of clear opportunities in the last matchday.
The former Santos Laguna forward has not been at his best, and he better turn things around because Las Aguilas will rely on him more than ever if Raul Jimenez leaves the club.
Peralta needed seven starts in the 2014 Clausura to put the ball away for the first time. He finished the tournament with eight goals to his name.
If El Cepillo goes back to his old ways, Rodolfo Cota needs to continue his fantastic performances. He has kept his goal unbeaten so far, helping La Franja secure a 1-1-0 record.
Las Aguilas will visit Puebla at Estadio Cuauhtemoc.
Mariano Pavone (Cruz Azul) vs. Leobardo Lopez (Veracruz)
Cruz Azul has had a terrible start in the 2014 Apertura. They sit 12th in the general table with a 0-1-1 record.
Mariano Pavone, the starting striker, hasn't made an impact on the pitch so far, but he has a fantastic opportunity to change that.
La Maquina will play on home soil against Veracruz. Los Tiburones Rojos have yet to win too, but the difference is that they haven't scored so far.
Pavone needs to take advantage of his speed and endurance. His accuracy and mobility inside the box will bring the best out of Leobardo Lopez.
The centre-back arrived in Veracruz this season from Monterrey hoping to get more playing time. Now, he has the perfect opportunity to establish himself as the leader of the back line.
Dorlan Pabon (Monterrey) vs. Oswaldo Sanchez (Santos Laguna)
Dorlan Pabon returned to Monterrey for the 2014 Apertura and he has already proven to be a thriving force for the team.
He has already scored twice this season, which puts him in a six-way tie for first in the top scorers table, plus Rayados sit first in the general table, along with America.
Monterrey has shown a powerful offense thus far due to verticality and rhythm. This could be a stress factor for Santos' defense.
Nevertheless, Los Guerreros have only conceded one goal. Their defense has been solid, and with Oswaldo Sanchez back in goal, Santos will give quite a fight in their visit to Estadio Teconologico.
Pablo Velazquez (Toluca) vs. Martin Romagnoli (UNAM)
Last season Pablo Vazquez put the ball away seven times in 19 appearances. However the 2014 Apertura has not been a walk in the park.
Vazquez has appeared against Morelia and Chiapas, but has struggled to find his old self. Toluca have recorded a draw and a defeat so far.
There's a lot of room for improvement in the last third of the pitch and Vazquez will be key in this task.
UNAM come from a painful loss to Guadalajara, but if they manage to keep the ball long enough they can surprise Los Diablos Rojos.
That will be a special task for Martin Romagnoli, who played for Toluca until the 2012 Clausura. The midfielder has to be sharp with ball possession, but also accurate when he feeds balls to the wingers and forwards.
All stats appear courtesy of ESPN FC, unless otherwise noted.