In honor of Tijuana's ascent to the top spot in the table, I went with the Frontera Torta (The Border Torta). As always, the headings are links to movie clips that (sometimes very loosely) allude to an aspect of this past week's results. Buen provecho.
What's happening: Jornada 8 Results and Table:
Pachuca 3 - 2 Morelia ... This is probably as good as Pachuca has looked this season (and they nearly blew it late).
Chiapas 2 - 0 Toluca ... It's never easy to play in Tuxtla-Gutierrez, but the magical start seems to be coming to a screeching halt for Toluca.
Leon 1 - 2 Chivas ... Heartbreaking loss for Leon at home as all aspects of the match were to their advantage until the final ten minutes.
America 2 - 0 Santos ... America with a thoroughly convincing win. Are they now putting it all together?
Tigres 2 - 0 Cruz Azul ... This was a beat down. Tigres completely owned Cruz Azul from start to finish.
Atlas 0 - 0 Queretaro ... Juan Castillo with a good night in goal for Queretaro to help keep Atlas off the score sheet. Atlas tend to help themselves in this department as well.
Puebla 2 - 3 Monterrey ... Monterrey continue to be very mediocre. Credit needs to go to Puebla for their fight, but they shouldn't be able to hang with the lineup that Monterrey can put out there.
Pumas 0 - 1 San Luis ... Yes, that score line is correct. That's a home loss to San Luis. Apparently the firing of Joaquin del Omo was not the cure-all that Pumas had hoped for.
Atlante 1 - 2 Tijuana ... Tijuana with a big away win against a frisky Atlante team. Tijuana now sits atop of the table!
Who's the big winner?: Miguel Herrera
Leading in to Saturday's home match with Santos, America were playing mostly mediocre football. There weren't any horrific losses nor were there any big wins. The squad never seemed to gel despite the wealth of talent in the side. Herrera, despite turning the team around from an abysmal previous Apertura campaign, had to be feeling the pressure to take the next step. You can only get away with mediocrity for so long at America. The aguillas performance on Saturday was far from mediocre. Herrera led his team to a complete take down of defending champion, Santos Laguna and their dangerous attacking squad. If America can continue to play like they did this weekend, they may be competing for titles rather than just respect.
Goal of the Week: Carlos Ochoa, Morelia
Tough call this week. The two beautiful free kick goals from 'Gringo' Torres and Rafa Marquez Lugo were both game winners, but they were also aided by goalkeepers either being out of position or dreadfully slow to react. For me, the two best goals came from the same match, Pachuca v Morelia. Pachuca's second goal came from an immaculate build up of passes that Felix Borja was able to finish. It was a thing of beauty that made the Morelia defense look like it was frozen (not ruling it out, either). Yet, the goal that wins this week came from Carlos Ochoa. Ochoa, the 34 year old striker, has played with nearly every professional soccer team in Mexico. His strike off the volley with defenders around him was hit with perfect velocity and accuracy to ensure the goal for Morelia.
That's How Winning is Done: Chivas
John Van't Schip clearly took a page from the Jurgen Klinsmann playbook and brought out the motivational speech for Chivas's road test against Leon. Either he played this clip from the newest Rocky movie or flew in Sly to deliver it himself. Neither would surprise me. Chivas were thoroughly manhandled by Leon for the majority of the match. Leon created a wealth of goal scoring opportunities but were unable to finish them. Chivas were also hit with several setbacks that made things much more difficult. They lost Marco Fabian to injury within the first minutes of the match. Xavi Baez received an absolutely ridiculous red card in the 33rd minute. If anything, Baez was fouled on the play. Down a man and without possibly their best player, Chivas kept fighting. Luis Michel had a great game in goal and Chivas were able to hang around. However, things looked bleak when Leon were awarded a penalty in the 73rd minute. Leon with a goal and man advantage and about twenty minutes remaining seemed to be a lock. But the tide turned dramatically in the final ten minutes. Leon received their own ridiculous red card in the 80th minute, leveling the sides again. Two minutes later, 'Chaton' Enriquez, once again, got his head on to the ball and scored the equalizer. Then, in stoppage time Rafa Marquez Lugo unleashed his aforementioned free kick into the corner of the goal. Van't Schip and Chivas need to get a ton of credit for this one. They had little reason to hope for a victory in this match, but they continued to work. Chivas teams of the past have been known to quit or commit silly fouls when they are down. They would need no excuses after this one. That's how winning is done.
Are You Not Entertained?: 'Tuca' Ferretti
Ferretti is, arguably. the best manager in Liga MX right now. His teams play smart, collective football and often appear to be a reflection of their coaching. Yet, he is often criticized (unfairly) for his teams' defensive posturing. Saturday's performance left little to nitpick. Tigres absolutely demolished Cruz Azul in every facet of the game. They were dangerous going forward while maintaining an impenetrable wall in defense. Tigres were my pick prior to the season to win the championship; I'm feeling pretty good about that right now.
Dude, I'm Sorry: Alfredo Talavera and Jorge Guagua
The above clip contains some language that would probably be frowned upon in the office, much like what was likely coming from the mouths of Talavera and Guagua this weekend. In the 79th minute of their match on Friday, Toluca's goalkeeper, Talavera flubbed what should have been an easily handled ball. Jorge Rodriguez was there to pounce on the ball and easily tap it in to the net for Jaguares. (Talavera blunder - begin at 1:15) While it didn't lose the game for Toluca, this mistake sealed the victory for Chiapas. Jorge Guagua's error for Atlante on Sunday proved to be the more costly mistake. Immediately after Tijuana went ahead with a goal from Duvier Riascos, Guagua played one of the worst back passes I have ever seen. Tijuana was there to scoop it up and score their second goal in the span of about ninety seconds. This would prove critical when Esteban Peredes was able to get one back for Atlante later in the match, thus making the disastrous goal the winning goal. Ouch.
Predictions: Jornada 9 Schedule and Predictions
Friday, September 21
8:30 ET - Puebla v Leon ... Puebla have been kind of scrappy lately. I could see a fairly even match in this one. 1-1 draw.
10:30 ET - Morelia v Tigres ... It's hard to say what Morelia team will show up, but I have a feeling I know what Tigres team will be present. Tigres win 2-0.
Saturday, September 22
6:00 ET - Cruz Azul v America ... Law of averages here. America is up and Cruz Azul is down. I see things temporarily changing. It's the Liga MX way. Cruz Azul win 2-1.
8:00 ET - Monterrey v Queretaro ... I don't care what Monterrey's form is like. They are hosting Queretaro at the Tec. This should be ugly. Monterrey win 4-0.
8:00 ET - Santos v Chiapas ... The Santos rollercoaster season continues. The home crowd in Torreon should carry them to victory here. Santos win 3-2.
8:00 ET - San Luis v Pachuca ... I wouldn't be surprised with any result in this one. Hence, I'm going to play it safe. 1-1 draw.
10:30 ET - Tijuana v Atlas ... Atlas seems to be back to their ways of staying off the scoreboard. Tijuana is not the place to fix those woes. Tijuana win 1-0.
Sunday, September 23
1:00 ET - Toluca v Atlante ... Atlante has Ivan Alonso 2.0 in Esteban Peredes. Toluca is fresh out of Alonsos. I could see Toluca dropping more points before they right the ship. Atlante win 3-1.
6:00 ET - Chivas v Pumas ... What a game! I believe Pumas are a deeply flawed squad, but trying to figure out what's going on with Chivas is a scary proposition. Going to go ride a full blown Pumas collapse and say Chivas win 1-0.