Soccer: What Did the Apertura 2010 Tournament Leave Us With?
Another season is gone, and another champion is crowned. The tournament had its ups and downs week after week. Through out the season we saw many great games and great players. But in contrast we saw many teams that did not live up to the hype, as well as players who came up short of expectations. We had a first place team in the season lose in the first round of the Liguilla. One of the "big four" in Mexico did not make the Liguilla. Eight coaches where kicked out of their teams throughout the season for bad results, and one of the favorite teams at beginning of the season won the title.
Here is an overall view of this year's Apertura 2010 season in the Mexican League.
The Curse Of The "Superlider"
Through out the season, Cruz Azul played great. They were the team with the most points and ended the season at the top of the table. They were the best offense recording 33 goals, and ending the season with 12 wins, 3 ties, and only 2 losses.
But yet again the "curse" of the superlider crept up on Cruz Azul, and added the drought of titles Cruz Azul has suffered in past years. Going into the liguilla, Cruz Azul was a strong candidate for the title, but a surprising Pumas team ended their hopes with a 3-2 loss (aggregate) in the first round.
One of The "big 4" Did Not Make The Liguilla
Considered one of the big four in Mexico, Chivas del Guadalajara had a very disappointing season. With the lack of consistency and especially the lack of offense, Chivas ended the season in 10th place with 22 points. During the summer, Chivas reached the 2010 Copa Libertadores final, losing to Internacional de Porto Alegre.
But still, their fans felt that they could have made a great local tournament, which was the total opposite. The lack of goals for Chivas was the main problem for the team. Being this their first year in their new stadium, Chivas disappointed its fans with only 4 wins all season. Chivas now has the opportunity to turn the page and look into next year.
Atlas, Estudiantes and Atlante Continue in Their Slump
Atlas, Estudiantes and Atlante all continued in their slump of poor play. All three teams were the bottom 3 teams all seasons, Atlas being the last one with 13 points. The most disappointing of all is Atlas, a team with great tradition and history is in danger of being relegated to the second division next season. Estudiantes seem that they have not picked up or had a decent tournament in years and this year was no exception, being the worst defense with 36 goals against. Atlante continued to disappoint its fans with another bad season, summing up to only 16 points by the end of the season.
The Lack of Mexican Strikers Continues
6 out of the 25 top goal leaders this season were Mexican, leaving a not surprising 19 foreign players as the major goal scorers in the Mexican league. This has been a constant "problem" in the Mexican league, and has reflected in the national team with the lack of attacking players.
From the top 10 goal scorers this season, 9 were foreign players, while the only Mexican was Morelia's forward Miguel Sabah who netted 7 goals in 16 games.
Home Sweet Home
The best local team in the regular season was Cruz Azul, winning all 8 games at Estadio Azul and only allowing 3 goals against, while scoring an impressive 18 goals at home. The only loss to Cruz Azul had in the Apertura 2010 was in the Liguilla, losing to Pumas 0-2 eliminating them from the tournament.
The worst teams at home? Chivas and Necaxa, both only getting 2 wins at home all season.
Toluca Burns in Hell
The defending champion, Toluca, was no where to be seen this season and the liguilla. After having a great tournament last season, winning the Bicentenario 2010 championship, this season Toluca only won 5 games, ending the tournament with 22 points.
In past years, Estadio Nemesio Diez has been "hell" for visiting teams, making Toluca a real strong home team. But this year Toluca only won 3 of its home games, their biggest home win being vs America (2-1). Their long time head coach, Jose Manuel "Chepo" Del La Torre has now left the team to become the national teams head coach, leaving the new coach, Sergio Lugo, with the responsibility to bring back Toluca to its winning ways.
The Surprise Team?
This season there wasn't a team that stood out as the "surprise" team, but there were few that were close to being that team. Pumas had an average season, but their biggest surprise came in the liguilla, eliminating Cruz Azul in the first round. San Luis, the "youngest son" of the Televisa family, had a surprising run towards the end of the season, placing themselves in a 5th place overall seed in the Liguilla.
A team that usually does not have much to talk about and surprised a few people out there was Jaguares. Jaguares maintained a decent overall season, only losing twice in the last 13 games of the tournament. Jaguares went on to give a good fight to Santos in the quarter-finals, losing in the end to a stronger team that ended up reaching this year's final.
Defense Wins Championships? Not Always
Another positive for Cruz Azul this tournament was that they had the best defense all season, only allowing 13 goals. Great performances from Cruz Azul Gk, Jesus Corona, added to the good defense, continuing to be a solid goalkeeper for the team.
The Most Anticipated Game Every Season Ended 0-0
The most anticipated game every season is the "Clasico Nacional" between the two biggest teams of the league, Chivas and America. Going into this season's clasico, the anticipation was big, but the outcome was poor. A game that is usually played with great passion, failed to reach the expectations it always has. Both Chivas and America played a poor game, making it probably one of the most boring games in recent years. The only passion and excitement from this seasons classico was its fans that packed the Azteca Stadium like always.
Cruz Azul Finally Beats America
Cruz Azul finally beat America this season, after 7 long years of constant disappointment of Azul fans. Cruz Azul ended the negative streak with a 1-0 win over America. This win was a huge relief for Cruz Azul players, coaches, owners and most of all its fans, breaking a 16 game streak that lasted 7 years where Cruz Azul could not beat their rivals.
Monterrey, The Well Deserving 2010 Champion
Monterrey went into the season as a top favorite to win the title and they did not disappoint, winning their 4th title in their club history. And there was no secrete to their success, players like Humberto Suazo, Aldo De Nigris, Neri Cardozo, and Walter Ayovi helped Monterrey win the championship. The team was also well managed by National Team candidate, Victor Manuel Vucetich who organized his team well on the field and brought the title to Monterrey.
Honorable Mention: Tijuana Wins Liga De Ascenso (2nd Division)
An honorable mention is Xolos winning the Liga de Ascenso Apertura 2010 title (Mexio second division). A team based in the northern part of Mexico, in the city of Tijuana, Xolos have one foot in, in the race to ascend to Mexico's top division. Xolos beat Veracruz to take the title with a 3-0 aggregate score.
Stats, Stats and More Stats...
Other stats that the Apertura 2010 left us.
Leading Scorer: Christian Benitez (Santos; 14 goals)
Leading Mexican scorer: Miguel Sabah (7; Morelia)
Best offensive team: Cruz Azul (33 goals)
Best defensive team: Cruz Azul (13 goals)
Best home team: Cruz Azul (8 wins)
Best visiting team: Cruz Azul (4 wins) Monterrey (4 wins) America (4 wins)
Players with most assist to goal: Edgar Pacheco (4; Atlas) Juan Carlos Rojas (4; Puebla)
Players with most missed penalties: Johan Fano (2; Atlante) Miguel Sabah (2; Morelia)
Most Yellow cards: Andres Olivera (9; Puebla)
Most Red cards: Enrique Vera (3; Atlas)
Most Penalties made: Edgar Benitez (2; Pachuca) Alfredo Moreno (2; Atlas)
Worst Offense: Necaxa (14 goals)
Worst Defense: Estudiantes (36 goals against)
Team with the most ties: Chivas (10 tied games)
Team with the most losses: Atlas (10) Estudiantes (10)
Total Own-goals in the regular season: 12
Total goals all season: 385 goals