22
Sep

Ronaldinho impresses with goal, assist in Queretaro win

imageAfter missing a penalty on his Queretaro debut last week, Ronaldinho bounced back in impressive fashion against Chivas Guadalajara on Sunday.

The Brazilian legend made no mistake from the penalty spot this time for his first goal in the black and blue, but even better was his set-up on Camilo Sanvezzo’s goal in the 4-1 win.

Watch as Ronaldinho threads the needle through traffic for the perfect assist:

H/T Bleacher Report

13
Sep

Ronaldinho chose Queretaro to “continue winning titles… and girls”

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Oh, Ronnie…

Brazil legend Ronaldinho Gaucho raised plenty of eyebrows by choosing to play for Liga MX club Queretaro, but he may have shed some light on his surprising decision at his official unveiling on Friday.

Per Mundo Deportivo), Ronaldinho told reporters:

"I’ve always lived in the same way and with every team I’ve been a champion. I hope to keep doing the same and continue winning titles and girls."

It’s no secret Ronaldinho loves the female attention that’s accompanied him his entire career (remember this NSFW pic?), and after playing in France, Spain, Italy and Brazil, the two-time FIFA World Player of the Year is now looking to dip into a whole new pool of chicas. And keep winning titles. In some order.

Image provided by Getty

30
Nov

Liga MX Apertura Liguilla: Quarters Preview - Second Legs

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Liga MX provides higher-seeded teams with a considerable advantage at the quarterfinal stage of the Liguilla. The usual away goals tiebreaker applies first, but the second criterion to separate the sides involves sending the higher seeded side through if both teams remain deadlocked.

The structure places considerable emphasis on strong away performances. Three of the top four seeds — not you, Cruz Azul — delivered by securing two or more goals in those critical first leg affairs. Their exploits leave them in a promising position to book a place in the semifinals. The job isn’t done yet, though.

As an added bonus of the neutrals, the operating principles ensure the open fare from those first legs (18 goals in four matches) should continue. The lower-seeded sides must recover those goals lost at home and snatch an extra one or two to advance to the last four. Expect the goals to flow once more as these eight sides tussle for the right to continue their campaigns for another fortnight:

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23
Nov

Liga MX Liguilla quarterfinals, first leg preview

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The chase to dethrone Club América kicks off in earnest this weekend. Las Aguilas sit atop Liga MX after winning the Liguilla during the Clausura, but seven challengers to the throne emerged during the Apertura in a bid to end their reign over the next few weeks.

The potential usurpers will take heart from the FMF’s decision to adopt America as its de facto national team during the past month or so. The prospect of knocking off the holders increased when coach Miguel Herrera and 10 of his players shifted their focus to El Tri’s World Cup bid.

It is still a mighty assignment to knock them from their perch, though. The first step along the difficult path for the champions and their potential conquerors: navigating through tricky first leg ties this weekend.

(5) Toluca – (4) Cruz Azul (Saturday, 6:00p.m. ET)

Do the Red Devils have one last attacking explosion left in the arsenal? José Cardozo’s side scored three or more goals on five separate occasions during the Apertura. A sixth would place them in good stead ahead of a difficult return trip to Estadio Azul. Anything less could place their hopes of a semifinal place in some doubt given the seasoned opposition.

(6) Morelia – (3) Club León (Saturday, 8:00p.m. ET)

Can Morelia choke off the supply lines to Mauro Boselli? The former Wigan man functions as the only reliable threat in a capable, but somewhat impotent, León side. Morelia isn’t a particular resolute side, but it must use its defensive resources to limit Boselli’s involvement and pile the pressure on the likes of Luis Montes and Carlos Peña to contribute more than approach play from midfield.

imageStop Boselli, and you can stop Leon

(8) Tigres – (1) Club América (Sunday, 6:00p.m. ET)

Are the champions up for the fight? Miguel Herrera and a significant contingent spent much of the past month focused on carrying Mexico to the World Cup. They returned from a trip halfway around the world in midweek before commencing the disjointed preparations for this tricky test against talented, yet underachieving, Tigres. The first leg represents a genuine opportunity for Tigres to snatch a result as Las Aguilas settle back into the domestic scene. The home side must take it in order to fuel its upset bid.

(7) Querétaro – (2) Santos Laguna (Sunday, 8:00p.m. ET)

How will Pedro Caixinha manage Oribe Peralta? Peralta lifted Mexico to the World Cup with his goals over the past week or so. The burden placed upon him internationally and the lingering concerns about his balky knee raise questions about how the clever Santos boss will use him in this first leg. Caixinha can afford to leave Peralta in reserve and play Javier Orozco (a natural target man) in his place at the outset. The one caveat: the rest of the side must lift its level accordingly to ensure that potential selection decision does not place the hopes of a semifinal berth in peril.

imageWill Peralta’s hot form with El Tri translate over to the Liga MX playoffs? (Images: MexSport)

8
Nov

Preview: Liga MX final weekend

Chiapas and Querétaro faced uncertain futures in top-flight football at the conclusion of the Clausura. It took a typically circuitous solution from the oligarchy behind Liga MX to provide a solution and rescue both clubs from insolvency and irrelevancy.

The franchise swapping started in earnest when Querétaro finished the campaign at the bottom of the relegation table and slid out of the top flight. Instead of accepting its fate and trying to secure promotion out of Ascenso MX after a year in purgatory, the ownership group in Querétaro constructed a workaround: it purchased the license of Jaguares de Chiapas to retain a place in the first division and promptly moved the club to Querétaro (yet somehow kept many of the old players from the relegated side).

Querétaro’s machinations created an opportunity for San Luis to fill the void in Chiapas. The owners in San Luis opted to close their club – a going, if never wildly successful, concern since 1957 – and shift their operations to Chiapas. The people of Chiapas retained their side, though the new entity currently boasts a roster primarily comprised of loan players (as do many other sides in Mexico, it must be said).

The merry-go-round also included the unseemly dissolution of La Piedad after earning a spot in Liga MX and the virtual promotion of Veracruz, but the Tiburones Rojos – rather appropriately despite a bright start, it must be said – aren’t in the postseason discussions heading into the final round of the Apertura. Chiapas and Querétaro, however, enter the final weekend in position to qualify for the eight-team playoffs.

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Chiapas needs only a point at bottom side Atlante – a decent side in Cancún (2-3-3) given the abject home displays from most sides mired near the bottom – to confirm its Liguilla place. Querétaro likely requires a win at Pachuca to prevent ninth-place Tigres (away to Copa MX runners-up Atlas) and tenth-place Club Tijuana (away to already-qualified Club León) from overtaking them with a victory.

For both sides, there is plenty of work still to do to snatch a postseason berth few expected at the start of this campaign. And given the plight both clubs faced at the end of May, the achievement would prove rather remarkable indeed.

4
May

Liga MX Clausura 2013, Jornada 17: Five Things to Watch

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By Kyle McCarthy

1. Forget about final day drama: it’s all about final weekend drama in Liga MX: All of the key matches are spread out over two days to maximize viewing pleasure. If the events break in a certain way (more on that potential sequence of events in a moment), the final game of the Clausura (Pumas’ visit to Atlante on Sunday night) could determine the composition of the Liguilla field. Moral of the story: clear off the calendar on Saturday and Sunday to keep careful track of the events as they unfold.

2. Two teams, one regular-season title at stake at the Azteca: Club América hosts Tigres in a virtual playoff for top spot in the Liguilla on Saturday night. The two combatants – plus surprise package Atlas – enter the weekend tied on 32 points. If either side emerges victorious from this tense affair, then it will secure the first seed due to its vastly superior goal difference (America: +17, Tigres: +14, Atlas: +8). If the match ends in a draw, then Atlas can vault both of them with a home victory over Club León.

One other point to monitor in this match: Ecuadorian striker Christian Benítez (12 goals) could win his third consecutive scoring title (a first since Mexico switched to the split-season format in 1996) if he maintains his two-goal edge over Morelia’s Héctor Mancilla (10 goals) through the weekend.

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22
Apr

Five points from Liga MX: Atlas’ magic; Tijuana on the brink

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1. Atlas continues its magical run with derby win over Chivas: Rodrigo Millar decided the latest edition of the Clásico Tapatio in favor of the title chasers when he turned home Amaury Ponce’s cross on the half-hour. The latest step forward for the second side in Guadalajara came with an additional benefit: the triumph essentially placed Benjamin Galindo’s side in a position where it must win both of its remaining games to maintain its Liguilla hopes.

Chivas will likely have to accomplish that task without Erick Torres. The lively striker suffered a graphic injury to his left elbow after a clumsy tackle by Luis Robles in the 79th minute. Immediate calls for the medical staff – plus the quick attention paid by several Atlas players, including goalkeeper Miguel Pinto – underscored the severity of the situation.
 
2. Cruz Azul puts one foot in the Liguilla by eliminating Toluca: One win from their final two matches – admittedly difficult affairs against Santos Laguna and Monterrey, mind you – should prove enough for La Máquina to claim a place in the top eight after a 2-0 victory at La Bombonera on Sunday.

Christian Giménez (with the aid of neat buildup work from Gerardo Torrado and Teofilo Gutierrez) and Luis Perea (from a Pablo Barrera corner kick) ended the Red Devils’ remote playoff hopes and prolonged Cruz Azul’s recent run of form. No team will relish drawing this group in the playoffs.

3. Tijuana on the brink after Morelia defeat: Héctor Mancilla showed the difference an extra touch of class can provide when he scored twice – including a truly stunning bit of skill to equalize – to hand Morelia a 2-1 victory at Estadio Caliente. Consider the Apertura defense just about concluded for Tijuana at this point with a Copa Libertadores round of 16 tie against Palmeiras on tap starting next week and a three-point gap to close with two games left to play.

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