Liga MX: Pumas playing 'jogo bonito' in Week 2 as Chivas suffer setback

During Liga MX‘s Jornada 2, we saw Puebla stun Tigres, a bizarre own-goal from Chivas in their loss to Pachuca, Pumas showcase their joga bonito talents, four goals from Monterrey, and much more. In case you missed anything from the recent weekend, here are three big talking points from Week 2 of the 2022 Clausura.

Chivas suffer setback at Pachuca

Initially, there was hope for Chivas. A 3-0 Week 1 win over Mazatlan was supposed to be the start of a much-needed revival for the Liga MX giants that have looked stagnant over the last few years. Then, on Sunday, Chivas shot themselves in the foot twice during a 2-1 away loss to Pachuca.

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In the 20th minute, a poor defensive effort from nearly every member of Chivas’ backline gifted a goal to the home side.

Later in a listless 1st half from Los Rojiblancos, a strange own-goal was scored after a short backpass from Gilberto Sepulveda to goalkeeper Raul Gudino found its way into the net. A slight redirection of the ball appeared to have been caused by a small patch of grass near Gudino.

Attacking progress was made in the 2nd half, especially with the debut of Roberto Alvarado, but Chivas were only able to secure one goal off a penalty from Angel Zaldivar in the 53rd minute.

“We aren’t going to make excuses,” said manager Marcelo Michel Leano after the 2-1 defeat. “Today we didn’t play a good game and we have to improve.”

Following the loss, the trip home will be a long one for the team that traveled 300+ miles to Pachuca by bus in order to reduce COVID-19 risks and avoid possible flight delays.

Pumas, Monterrey and Puebla take charge

After Monterrey kicked off 2022 with an uninspired 0-0 draw, Los Rayados responded with a 4-0 thrashing of Necaxa last Friday at the Estadio Victoria. Maxi Meza was the man of the match with a goal and assist, and in support, new signing Luis Romo was influential with an assist of his own. The outcome was a promising performance for the stacked team that will continue to have high expectations under the experienced management of Javier Aguirre.

On the same night, Pumas claimed a 3-1 away win over Queretaro. Led by their Brazilian trio of Meritao, Rogerio and Diogo, Pumas have been brilliant in the Clausura with eight goals scored in their first two matches. Mexican-American winger Sebastian Saucedo, who provided the assist for the third goal on Friday, has also been on a bright start this season.

It’s premature to make any predictions in January, but there’s no doubt that they’re currently playing the most attractive soccer in the Clausura so far. Pumas, joga bonito.

Elsewhere, Puebla earned the result of the Liga MX weekend with a spectacular 2-0 away victory against Tigres. Through a compact and organized approach from 37-year-old manager Nicolas Larcamon, Puebla found a way to shut out the title favorites. As for Tigres, the loss might prove to be an imperfect goodbye for defender Carlos Salcedo, who tweeted out “The Last Dance” before scoring a painful own-goal in the match. Recent reports have indicated that Salcedo could head to MLS’ Toronto FC.

Cruz Azul and Charly Rodriguez maintain perfect start

Only one Liga MX team has six points and zero goals allowed: Cruz Azul.

Although their latest 1-0 win over Juarez on Saturday wasn’t a dominant one, the same could be said for a long list of their results that carried them to a league title last year. And most importantly, it was new signing Carlos “Charly” Rodriguez who once again made an impact on the field.

One week after scoring in his debut for Los Cementeros, the Mexican midfielder stepped up in the 5th minute with the lone goal in the victory for Cruz Azul. Uriel Antuna, another marquee addition from the winter, dished out the assist for Rodriguez.

Similar to Pumas’ thrilling start, it’s far too early to make conclusions about Cruz Azul, but things are undoubtedly looking good for the club that was once believed to be cursed with bad luck. In other news, manager Juan Reynoso revealed after the match that 34-year-old defender Pablo Aguilar told him that this season will be “my last six months in Mexico, my last six months in Cruz Azul.”

Additional Liga MX notes

Club Tijuana earned a 1-1 draw at the Estadio Caliente against Leon, Toluca bounced back from a Week 1 loss with a 3-1 home victory over Santos Laguna, and current title-holders Atlas sneaked past San Luis with a 1-0 win. Mazatan vs. Club America, which was scheduled for Week 2, has been postponed due to reported issues with the pitch at their stadium.

Speaking of stadiums, Tigres revealed last Thursday that their new home venue will open in 2025. A capacity of around 65,000 will make it one of the largest stadiums in Mexico.

Marco Fabian announced he’ll be playing for Mazatlan on Monday. The ex-Mexico international joins the team after playing last season with Juarez.

One last note, long-time Liga MX striker and Mexico international Oribe Peralta announced his retirement from soccer late last week. The 38-year-old has a storied Liga MX career that saw him suit up for Morelia, Leon, Monterrey, Santos Laguna, Jaguares, Club America and Chivas. Peralta helped El Tri win the Gold Cup in 2015 and also Olympic gold in 2012.

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