Week 6 of the Liga MX season is underway, and it begins with 17 clubs looking up at perennial powerhouse Club America in the league table.
America lead the pack with 15 points, and are two points clear atop the table. But it's a packed house of contenders right behind them, as Atlas are two points back and Monterrey and Queretaro both have 10 points.
Just five weeks into the season, and the table is already taking shape as some clubs eye a title run and others just hope to stay in Mexico's top division. Let's take a look at how the table currently looks as Week 6 begins.
|Aug. 23||Cruz Azul||2-1||Queretaro|
Note: Information courtesy of ESPN FC
Week 6 Results
Week 6 got off to a high-flying start on Friday, much to the expense of Morelia.
Tigres UANL went in front early with a ninth-minute own goal, and didn't look back. They exploded with goals, sending Morelia to a disparaging 5-1 loss at home.
Luiz Cardozo's early gaffe put Morelia behind, but an equalizer came from David Depetris in the 29th minute to give the home side momentum entering the break. But instead, UANL took it right back early in the second half.
Guido Pizarro scored in the 49th minute, then Emanuel Villa 15 minutes later, then Hernan D. Burbano 11 minutes after that. They added one more in stoppage time to seal the 5-1 victory.
Meta de Pulso captured a photo of Tigres celebrating:
The loss was just another of many for Morelia early on in the season. They're winless through six games, with only two draws to show for four losses and a whopping minus-11 goal differential.
They're firmly in relegation zone at the moment, but ESPN FC's Tom Marshall doesn't see any reason to panic:
Nightmare start to the season for Morelia, but Angel Comizzo has a young team and the club isn't in relegation danger. Should be given time.— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) August 23, 2014
Morelia might be just fine, but the early signs aren't encouraging. An average of anywhere near two points every six matches won't be enough to keep them in Liga MX for another year, and the young squad will have to come together sooner rather than later.
Friday's night cap was between two clubs tied for sixth place in the standings, but that didn't make it a tight affair as Santos cruised to a 3-0 victory over Toluca to close out Friday's action.
Santos wasted no time getting in front, and I mean that literally. Carlos Quintero scored in the first minute of play, giving the home side a 1-0 lead before Toluca knew what hit them.
Four minutes later, they added another. Chuletita Orozco scored Santos' second goal in the fifth minute to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the early minutes.
Football journalist Kim Tate noted Orozco has Toluca's number as of late:
Three goals in last six games against Toluca for Chuletita Orozco as Santos take a 2-0 lead in under 6 minutes. Good start for Los Guerreros— Kim Tate (@KimTateSports) August 23, 2014
Things were much tighter in the second half, but that didn't change the lopsided scoreline. With Toluca unable to generate serious offensive chances late, Santos' victory was never in question and they added a late goal to extend the gap.
Friday's outcome was big for Santos, not only in the way it happened but who it happened against. Previously tied with Toluca for sixth place, they jumped to sole position of third place with most other clubs still yet to play this matchday.
But at this point, it's all about keeping up the momentum. This early in the season, single outcomes don't matter as much as building team chemistry and keeping up good form.
The season is still young, but Santos and Tigres were both big winners in Week 6.
It had to end sometime. America five-game winning streak was snapped on Saturday after a 0-0 draw against Chiapas.
America struggled to break down what was an organized Chiapas defense. Los Millonetas recorded 14 shots, only five of which were on target. Los Jaguares did a great job of disrupting the America attack, as evidenced by their 17 fouls. Chiapas weren't reckless, though, picking up only two yellow cards, compared to five for America.
The point was huge for Chiapas, as it allows them to remain level on points with Toluca, who hold onto the last Liguilla place.
The other surprising result from Saturday took place in the Estadio Azul, where Cruz Azul picked up a 2-1 win over Queretaro.
Rogelio Chavez got the hosts off to a great start, opening the scoring from the penalty spot in the 10th minute (via Soccerly's Jonny Rico Aviles):
Camilo da Silva Sanvezzo equalized for Queretaro in the 32nd minute. It was a nice bit of work from the forward, who created enough space for himself in the 18-yard box to unfurl a right-footed shot into the bottom left corner.
Thirteen minutes from time, Joao Rojas scored the winner for Cruz Azul. Mario Osuna made a mess of his clearance, and the ball fell right to the head of a grateful Rojas, who had the entire goal wide open in front of him.
The win moves Cruz Azul into 10th, but they're level on points with Toluca and Chiapas. Queretaro are fifth, only two points ahead of the Liguilla cutoff.
No longer is Universidad de Guadalajara anchored to the bottom of the table. UDG picked up their first win of the season with a 1-0 victory over Leon at home on Sunday.
Fidel Martinez scored the lone goal of the game, breaking the deadlock in the 70th minute. It was the first goal for the club inside the Estadio Jalisco in over two decades, per Marshall:
Goooool Leones Negros. Fidel Martinez with it. Just over 20 years since UDG scored a 1st division goal in the Estadio Jalisco. UDG 1-0 Leon.— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) August 24, 2014
In Sunday's other match, Pumas drew 1-1 with Tijuana.
Pumas only had one of their 10 shots on target, but Eduardo Herrera made it count in the 40th minute, putting the home side ahead. Richard Ruiz equalized four minutes later.