Although the Liga MX Apertura is only entering its fifth week, some clubs are beginning to hit the panic button.
Five matches is nearly a third of the season with the Apertura/Clausura structure, so you can understand why some club chairmen aren't willing to offer much patience to their managers. The longer you stick with a problematic coach, the more you risk your club falling behind in the table.
Of course, the converse is that with eight teams qualifying for the Liguilla, a bad start to the season doesn't necessarily mean the death knell for the rest of your campaign. If a couple of results go your way, you're all of a sudden sitting pretty again.
That's the balancing act the Apertura creates for the club's management team.
Below is a look at this week's results so far and how they affect the league table.
|Aug. 15||Tijuana||2-1||Chiapas FC|
|Aug. 16||Monterrey||3-1||Cruz Azul|
|Aug. 16||Atlas||1-0||Universidad de Guadalajara|
Week 5 Results
Leon jumped to sixth in the Liga MX table after a dramatic 2-1 win over Pumas Thursday night at the Nou Camp.
Dario Veron's goal in the 31st minute gave Pumas an early lead. Mexican football journalist Tom Marshall thought that Leon goalkeeper William Yarbrough should've done much better to save Veron's shot:
Goool Pumas in the 31st minute. Veron with it. William Yarbrough with a mistake in goal. Should've kept it out. Leon 0-1 Pumas.— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) August 15, 2014
Jose Luis Trejo's side looked like it would hold strong for the rest of the match and take three big points on the road, in turn giving their manager some much-needed job security.
Then Luis Fuentes became the second Pumas player to score, only he put the ball into the back of his own net in the 76th minute to give Leon a major lifeline.
Gustavo Matosas' men attacked with a renewed vigor after Fuentes' equalizer. They had largely been the more threatening club for most of the match, and that goal gave them the impetus necessary to kick on and win. Playing at home, Leon knew they were gifted a golden opportunity.
Miguel Sabah scored the winner with a header from close range in the 86th minute. He earned himself a yellow card following his celebration:
That left Pumas with little time for a rebuttal. Not only couldn't they muster much of a response, but Leon nearly made it 3-1 with three great chances in front of goal in injury time.
The result could have major consequences for Pumas, with Marshall of the opinion that Trejo could be looking at the sack:
Leon 2-1 Pumas. The end of Jose Luis Trejo as Pumas coach? Good chance he leaves after a third consecutive Liga MX defeat.— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) August 15, 2014
Soccerly's Daniel Morales wrote earlier in the week that this could be a make-or-break fixture for the manager. In addition, the 63-year-old doesn't look at resignation as an option.
"It is not my style to resign, a difficult challenge lies ahead and I need to move forward, I need to survive and we will achieve it," he said. "I have a lot of people that are looking to get my job, but that is part of this business."
The choice may be out of Trejo's hands after Thursday.
Queretaro and Veracruz started out the night with a 0-0 draw at the Estadio Corregidora.
Neither team mustered much of an attack. According to FoxSoccer.com, Queretaro had seven shots for the entire match, three of which were on target. Veracruz were slightly worse, with six total shots, including two on target.
ESPN FC's Cesar Hernandez felt that the hosts were the better side and they'll likely believe they left two points on the table. However, that doesn't overshadow their fast start to the Apertura campaign. With the draw, they remain in third place, three points ahead of Monterrey and Chiapas:
Final score, Queretaro 0-0 Veracruz. Los Gallos Blancos looked like the better side tonight. Still, 10 points in 5 games isn't a bad start.— Cesar Hernandez (@cesarh1030) August 16, 2014
The draw was a nice result for Veracruz, who moved into eighth place—the cutoff for the Liguilla.
The conclusion to Friday's action saw Tijuana get their first win of the season with a 2-1 victory over Chiapas. A brace from Dario Benedetto was all Xolos needed to earn the three points.
The 24-year-old opened the scoring in the fifth minute and doubled his club's lead 51 minutes later. Matias Vuoso halved the deficit, but it was too little too late for Chiapas.
Tijuana remain looking up at the top eight clubs, but only one point now separates them from Veracruz; that's now compact the Liga MX table is. A couple of good results can help a club go from the penthouse to the outhouse and vice versa.
Chiapas are stuck in fifth place on seven points. While the result itself won't be all that frustrating, conceding early is unacceptable in any circumstance. Getting in a hole five minutes into the match on the road makes earning the win almost impossible.
America remain perfect on the season, winning their fifth league match in a row with a 3-2 victory over Morelia.
Oribe Peralta couldn't have waited much longer to find the winner, scoring in the 90th minute with what proved to be the last meaningful kick of the game. The 30-year-old found himself in the right place at the right time to fire home the goal.
Morelia came back twice to level the match, with Duvier Riascos wiping out Pablo Aguilar's earlier goal in the 52nd minute and David Depetris equalizing in the 76th minute. La Monarquia must have felt that they had a point in the bag before Peralta's heroics. As a result, they remain 17th in the table.
Only one match on Saturday ended in a draw, with Puebla and Tigres cancelling each other out, 1-1. Flavio Santos put Puebla ahead, 1-0, in the 59th minute. A little over five minutes later, Joffre Guerron equalized for Tigres.
The draw does little for Puebla, who are 14th in the table. Tigres, on the other hand, are right on the edge of Liguilla qualification in eighth place.
Monterrey jumped into third with a 3-1 win over Cruz Azul, who sit 13th. Two goals in the space of six minutes in the second half were the difference between the two clubs.
With the score tied at 1-1, Dorlan Pabon put Monterrey ahead, 2-1, in the 67th minute, which was his second goal of the match. In the 73rd minute, he thundered home a right-footed volley to complete the hat trick.
Universidad de Guadalajara remain anchored to the bottom of the table with a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Atlas. You don't want to be too harsh on UDG, but they failed to record a single shot throughout the entire match, according to FoxSoccer.com.
Luis Caballero scored from the spot in the 90th minute to give Atlas all three points. It was what they deserved after Universidad de Guadalajara's showed no attacking verve.
Toluca jumped to fifth in the table after picking up a big 3-0 win over Pachuca. Paulo da Silva opened the scoring in the eighth minute. Pablo Velazquez followed up with goals in the 61st and 67th minutes to finish with a brace.
Goal's Jon Arnold believes that the Toluca striker looks much better than he did earlier in the season.
Thought Pablo Velazquez looked a bit off the pace for Toluca at the start of the season. Seems he's found his rhythm.— Jon Arnold (@ArnoldcommaJon) August 17, 2014
With the loss, Pachuca moved out of a Liguilla position. They now sit 10th, behind Tigres and Veracruz on goal differential.