It’s almost time for Week 14 of the 2019 Clausura! Before Liga MX returns with its latest set of highly anticipated games, here are three things to watch out for.
America plays Clasico Joven after up-and-down week
In recent days, we’ve seen two significantly contrasting moods from Club America manager Miguel Herrera.
Always wearing his heart on his sleeve, the manager pounded his fists last Saturday in a post-game press conference that followed a 3-2 Liga MX defeat by Tijuana. An infuriated Herrera complained about the refereeing in the regular season loss and protested the performance of the match officials. Four days later in a Copa MX final against FC Juarez, Herrera was an entirely different person. Running up and down the sidelines with joy, the elated manager watched his side clinch a Copa MX title thanks to a 1-0 midweek victory.
In a high-profile Clasico Joven match against Cruz Azul this Sunday, which Herrera will we see?
On paper, it should be another night of celebration for Herrera. Las Aguilas have a better attack this season than Cruz Azul and will also be heading into the weekend with plenty of confidence after clinching the Copa MX title.
Nonetheless, Los Cementeros have some momentum of their own in league play. Ahead of the crosstown rivalry battle against Club America, Cruz Azul has extended an undefeated streak to six games. With five goals in his last three starts, striker Milton Caraglio has also proven to be a leader in the frontline that could be a headache for Club America this weekend at the historic Estadio Azteca.
Tomas Boy’s first match with Chivas
On Wednesday morning, Chivas sent shockwaves across the Mexican soccer world after announcing that Tomas Boy would be the club’s new manager. A quick look at the replies to the official announcement on Twitter says plenty about the profoundly negative reaction from the team’s fanbase. Following rumors that Julen Lopetegui was potentially in the running for the job, supporters were likely stunned to hear that a far less illustrious figure like Boy would be in charge.
Then again, whether Chivas fans want to admit it or not, there might be a method in the perceived madness associated with the managerial decision. With a relegation battle potentially looming next season, Los Rojiblancos could benefit from having a leader who has worked with a long list of Liga MX clubs. Assuming that avoiding relegation is the immediate goal, it could be argued that the uninspiring Boy is the right man for the job.
His first test is an away match against Morelia this Saturday night. With the opposition in 16th place, Boy and Chivas should have no excuses this weekend. Los Monarcas are winless in their last 10 league games and currently have the second-worst defense in the league. A victory for Boy, despite the problems that Chivas have had themselves, should easily be within reach.
Teams needing to fulfill the youth minutes rule
Here’s a quick rundown on the Liga MX youth minute rule that aims to give more opportunities to developing talents. This season, every club will need to amass a total of 1,000 minutes of playing time from players born in or after 1998 — 50 percent of that tally (500 minutes) can be accumulated by those born in 1997. For each game, a maximum total of 270 minutes can be added up, thereby avoiding a possible scenario in which a club utilizes young players in only a small window of matches.
So far, the minimum requirement has already been met by 10 teams: Lobos BUAP, Club America, Santos Laguna, Monterrey, Chivas, Veracruz, Puebla, Atlas, Pumas and Cruz Azul.
This leaves eight teams who have yet to comply with the rule.
Leon (31 minutes left) and Queretaro (81 minutes left) are both on the cusp of reaching the minimum by this weekend. Looking further down the list, Morelia (126 minutes left), Pachuca (153.5 minutes left), Tigres (160 minutes left), Toluca (253.5 minutes left) and Necaxa (265 minutes left) will probably need at least another week or two to catch up. Then, at the very bottom, you have a Club Tijuana side (518 minutes left) that must begin providing opportunities for multiple young players immediately.
What this means is that we’ll likely see some altered starting XIs from many, if not all, of the eight teams that have yet to reach the minimum requirement. Inexperienced names from those rosters will be expected to be given more important roles in the next few weeks.
If those clubs don’t act soon, they risk a potential three-point deduction penalty at the end of the regular season.