Torta Tuesday makes its dramatic return for the Liga MX Clausura 2013 season. For those uninitiated in the sandwich arts, the torta is a giant Mexican work of wonder. This column, inspired by the torta, sandwiches together recaps of the previous week's matches with previews of the following week's games. In between these, is a delicious concoction that will vary from week to week but will be tied to movie clips that vaguely (at best) relate to something interesting in the weekend's action. Check back every Tuesday to keep up with Liga MX and the varying flavor profiles. Buen provecho.
Morelia 3 -3 Cruz Azul ... Not a great showing for Morelia's keeper, Federico Vilar in this one. Also, not a great performance from players wearing blue jerseys.
America 2 - 1 Monterrey ... A 93rd minute penalty kick for America gave them the win.
Tigres 3 - 0 Chiapas ... Tigres looked great, and Chiapas looked like a total mess. It's becoming a tradition.
Pachuca 2 - 0 Atlante ... The new version of Pachuca got its first win. Time will tell with these two clubs, but this never felt like an even match.
Leon 2 - 2 Queretaro ... Leon had some spotty defending in this one. It was an odd match for them to drop some points.
San Luis 1 - 1 Santos ... Santos appears to be picking up where they left off last season ... some unimpressive soccer.
Pumas 1 - 1 Atlas ... Pumas were the better team, but their low-scoring ways got them in trouble again. Omar Bravo scored in his Atlas debut to give them the important point in the relegation battle.
Puebla 1 - 2 Tijuana ... Tijuana gets the away win, but neither team looked very impressive in this one.
Chivas 1 - 1 Toluca ... Two goals and four cards in the final ten minutes..
Goal of the Week: Hector Herrera
Herrera flashed so much of the talent that made him one of the most coveted young talents in Mexico. He blazed past the Atlante defense on the break. Securing the ball deftly while moving with speed, Herrera found himself in a one-on-one situation with the keeper, but with a very hard angle and little room to unleash a shot. Herrera expertly chipped the Atlante keeper and scored the clinching Pachuca goal.
Herrera's departure to Europe has long been rumored to be imminent. Plays like this will likely further ensure this.
Who's the big winner: America
It wasn't always pretty. Actually, there was very little beauty in this one. It was, however, a nice result for Club America. They started off the season with the tough opponent of the Rayados of Monterrey. America has been mediocre at home against tough competition, and hasn't performed well against this team for the past several years. Hence, coming out with three points in this match could be important for America moving forward.
America was certainly fortunate in this one. They were awarded a penalty in the final moments of stoppage time for a handball. It was the correct call, but it was unnecessary from Monterrey and didn't truly prevent a legitimate scoring opportunity. America played well enough to earn three points, but was also very lucky. Sometimes that's the best thing to be.
May I Have a Glass of Water, Please: Emanuel 'Tito' Villa
Villa has had quite the year. He was sent packing from longtime team Cruz Azul after having a largely ineffective Clausura 2012 campaign. He joined Pumas as a marquee summer transfer. He became a lightning rod of controversy in the debacle that was Pumas last year. He spent plenty of time on the bench with few memorable moments on the field.
His move to Tigres this winter was met with little fanfare. The trumpets and confetti are out now as Villa netted a hat-trick in his debut. I would say that some of this was circumstantial. Tigres make a habit out of handling Chiapas roughly. They knocked them off 4-0 in the fall. This is just what happens. Yet, we could say for sure that Villa is back from the grave and ready for action.
Stop Eating My Sesame Cake: Queretaro
Queretaro had a laughing stock season in the fall. Seven points in seventeen matches qualifies as a debacle, especially when waiting until the final match to secure their first win. Thus heading in to this season they have still remained the butt of many jokes (many appearing in this column).
On Saturday, Queretaro put their collective foot down. No longer would the league eat their sesame cake. They put up an impressive fight in arguably the hardest environment to play in throughout Mexico. As the lead contender for relegation, Queretaro will need every point they can get. They have already gained a very difficult one.
You know, A, B, C, D, E, F, G ... : Miguel Herrera
Miguel Herrera is the Rex Ryan of Liga MX. He's loud, abrasive, and says some strange things. But above all, he loves the attention. Herrera's antics certainly get him that. During Club America's opener on Saturday with Monterrey, Herrera completely lost it. After Monterrey was awarded a penalty, Herrera started his slow spiral out of control until he reached Nic Cage levels of freaking out. He managed to get himself ejected while ensuring that everyone in the Azteca and viewing at home would be looking at him and him alone.
Gotcha. Like 'put up your dukes', right?: Miguel Sabah
Sabah had an interesting debut for his new club, Chivas, on Sunday. Sabah was able to score his first goal for the club and secure the draw against last season's finalists, Toluca. However, he also was able to earn himself a straight red card minutes later for a kick to Edgar Duenas's face. Things had been escalating for several minutes and Sabah was caught in a moment of retaliation. He will also be facing a two match ban for his temporary insanity.
Predictions: Week 2 Schedule and Predictions
Friday, January 11
8:30 ET Chiapas v America ... Chiapas know how to start every season with relegation quality. It's still too early for them to turn it around. America wins 3-0.
10:30 ET Santos v Chivas ... Benjamin Galindo returns to Torreon after being let go by Santos in the winter. With no Sabah or Marquez Lugo and only a dozen days on the job for the manager, I like Santos in this one (2-0).
Saturday, January 12
6:00 ET Cruz Azul v San Luis ... Cruz Azul scared the bejeezus out of me in their first match. Yet, this is San Luis. Cruz Azul wins 2-0.
6:00 ET Queretaro v Pumas ... Pumas couldn't put away Atlas at home. I have no reason to believe they will do much more in Queretaro. Queretaro win 1-0.
8:00 ET Monterrey v Morelia ... Hard to decide what to make of these two after their first week performance. Safe bet is to just roll with the home team here. Monterrey wins 2-1.
8:00 ET Tijuana v Leon ... The great semifinal rematch. In the three matches these teams have played with each other the home team dominated each. Expect more of the same here. Tijuana wins 4-1.
10:00 ET Atlas v Pachuca ... Pachuca looked pretty good in week 1, but that was against the woeful road team in Atlante. I'm thinking Atlas finds a way to steal another draw (1-1).
Sunday, January 13
1:00 ET Toluca v Puebla ... Toluca has some scoring issues, but Puebla has some soccer issues. Toluca wins 2-1.
7:00 ET Atlante v Tigres ... I don't think Atlante is as bad as they looked this week, nor do I think Tigres are as good as they looked. But I still think Tigres will win 2-0.