Liga MX’s action continues this weekend behind closed doors amid the coronavirus pandemic, with Chivas v. Rayados headlining Saturday’s quartet of fixtures.
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Chivas, who sit fifth in the table and are four points removed from leaders Cruz Azul, enter the bout on a three-game winning streak. 20-year-old starlet striker J.J. Macias has recorded four goals in the last seven games, giving Chivas much-needed boost after a slow start to the season.
Rayados, on the other hand, sit dead last with zero wins to their name. The Concacaf champions, despite dealing with a severe championship hangover, are just days removed from punching a ticket to the Copa MX final.
Action, however, kicks off at Estadio Alfonso Lastras, as middle-table sides San Luis and Puebla clash. Saturday’s opener is followed by Juarez’s visit to El Volcan and Pumas’ visit to Leon.
Saturday’s Liga MX schedule
Atletico San Luis v. Puebla — 7:00 p.m. ET
Tigres UANL v. Juarez — 9:00 p.m. ET
Leon v. Pumas UNAM — 9:00 p.m. ET
Guadalajara v. Monterrey — 11:00 p.m. ET
Inter Miami are reportedly on the brink of announcing their first-ever head coach.
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According to ESPN’s Jorge Ramos y su Banda, David Beckham’s new expansion side have reached an agreement to appoint Diego Alonso as the team’s first head coach. The report states that an official announcement from the MLS side is set for Monday.
Alonso, 44, most recently was at the helm of Monterrey, winning the Concacaf Champions League with the deep-pocketed Mexican club in May of 2019. Prior to his time with Rayados, Alonso was in charge of Pachuca, where he won the Clausura in 2016 and Concacaf Champions League in 2017 during his four-year spell with the club.
As a player, Alonso’s 16-year career saw him play in Mexico, Argentina, China, Spain and his native Uruguay. In addition to his club career, Alonso recorded eight caps with the Uruguayan national team.
Inter Miami, who will debut in MLS in March against LAFC, had reportedly been in talks with Patrick Viera and Carlo Ancelotti recently.
Less than a month removed from preseason, the Florida franchise has yet to complete its roster, although the Beckham and company are set to sign MLS veterans Juan Agudelo and Roman Torres at “significantly lower salary figures,” according to The Athletic’s Paul Tenorio.
Sporting Kansas City were humbled at the hands of Monterrey on Thursday, as Major League Soccer’s lone representative left in the CONCACAF Champions League were thumped 5-0 in Mexico.
Liga MX’s Monterrey struck twice early on against SKC, with the hosts in control the entire match.
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Dorlan Pabon scored twice, while Aviles Hurtdao, Jeses Gallardo and Nicolas Sanchez added a goal each. In truth the defeat could have been heavier for Peter Vermes SKC, as Rayados ripped them apart out wide.
Below is a look at the highlights in full (painful viewing for Sporting fans, and any MLS fans), as the second leg takes place next Thursday in Kansas City.
The winner of the this semifinal tie will play Tigres or Santos Laguna in the final. Tigres have a 3-0 lead from the first leg, so it’s looking like a Tigres v. Monterrey final. That would mark an eighth all-Mexican final in the 11 years of the competitions.
MLS’ woes in CCL continue, as no MLS club has won the competition since it was revamped in 2008.
Monterrey was able to dominate Ulsan Hyundai on Sunday, remarkable considering they were without their best player. While Chilean international Humberto Suazo had a down tournament in Mexico, he’s still the Rayados’ one true world class player, and while the 2012 CONCACAF Champions may have gotten through the FIFA Club World Cup quarterfinals without him, they’ll surely need his help to upset European champions Chelsea on Thursday.
Unfortunately for Monterrey, head coach Victor Manuel Vucetich is going to have to come up with a Suazo-less plan after news that ‘Chupete’ has returned to Mexico and is set to miss the remainder of the tournament with a muscle tear in his thigh.
Suazo is expected to miss a month, meaning he should be ready for the start of the Clausura. Vucetich, however, has says Chupete should be considered to be out indefiitely.
Despite missing three games, Chupete’s six goals led the Rayados in the Apertura. In Vucetich’s system, Suazo is not only the team’s main goal scoring threat but also their playmaker, serving as a No. 10 behind forward Aldo de Negris.
In Suazo’s place, 19-year-old attacker Jesus Corona will stay in Vucetich’s starting XI. Corona scored Monterrey’s first goal on Sunday after failing to score in 13 appearances in the Apertura.