My Quest to Find a Liga MX Team: Ruling Out the First Eight

Jonathan Daniel

Thanks for your comments and tweets--please keep them coming!

Thank you everyone for your comments and your tweets. They have been really useful. I'm not done yet so if you want to bolster your team's case, please leave a comment below or find me on twitter @mhoff.

After a week of taking your suggestions and hitting up the boards, I've realized I need slightly tweak my criteria:

  • I had pigeonholed myself on some of my criteria specifically in regards to travelability. Doing a quick search on Orbitz, it will cost me about $500 per ticket to fly from LAX to either Guadalajara, Monterrey and about every other city except for Mexico City which is roughly half the cost. None of which compares to the relative convenience of a two hour drive from Carson, CA to Club Tijuana's Estadio Caliente. Of course, the real takeaway here is travelability is way overrated. I made it up to Carson maybe five times last year.
  • Maybe it's the result of having sit through consecutive AEG Cups but it bothered me to learn that some people/groups own multiple clubs. This isn't inherently a bad thing. After all where would MLS be without the Hunt family and AEG? That's a prickly pear; if a team needed a point against its sister club to avoid relegation, it will always be looked upon suspiciously regardless of how legitimate the result was. I'm not going to say it's an immediate mark against a club, but I prefer an ownership group with only one club to fill with their passion.
"Pachuca, Leon and now Estudiantes Tecos are all owned by Grupo Pachuca; America and Necaxa belong to Emilio Azcarraga’s Grupo Televisa and Grupo Salinas owns Morelia, Jaguares and Neza. Then there is the bizarre situation of Jesus Lopez Chargoy controlling Puebla, while his brother, Carlos Lopez Chargoy, is in charge at San Luis." Tom Marshall writing on Goal.com
  • Televised games are much more plentiful than I had initially thought. Each week, Spanish stations Telemundo, Univision and Azteca América broadcast several matches in high definition over the air, no cable box required. I'm apparently the only person who didn't know this. This, in part, may explain why Mike Reynolds of "Multichannel News" wrote: Univision offers the most-watched soccer league in the United States, topping Barclays Premier League views by 126% among persons 18 to 49. [1]
  • Liga MX does indeed have a promotion/relegation apparatus. It's just really complicated. Unlike the English Premiership where every season three teams come up and three teams go down, Liga MX relegates only one team and it's based on the average number of points over a three year period. Club Deportivo Estudiantes de la UAG (often referred to as "Tecos") were the most recent team to be relegated. As it stands right now the most likely teams to be relegated are Querétaro, Atlas, and Puebla.
  • Here are the contestants who will receive the home version of "Matt picks a Liga MX team". It's not in any particular order though I will say the low hanging fruit was the first to be picked:

    18. San Luis. Mired near the bottom of the table and a Google search brought a team that, "Lacks talent, is confused, has no direction, and keeps getting worse and worse." No real upside here, moving on.

    17. Jaguares de Chiapas. This team looks kind of cool but they are pretty far South, making it hard for travel. I read players names on the back of their shirts will be their Twitter online names, not their real names. The idea sounds reminiscent of the XFL. In fact I'm betting Vince McMahon is probably going to sue for stealing his idea (never mind the technological advances since the XFL).

    16. Atlante. Perennially cash-strapped franchise relocates from Mexico City to Cancun and immediately wins the Apertura Championship. The whole thing sounds fishy; it almost sounds like the plot of Stephen King book.

15. Atlas. A club with a reputation for churning out young talent, yet a relegation target who last won a trophy in 1951. Obviously this explains Atlas fans are referred to as "La Fiel", which means "the Faithful". Having lived a few years in Boston and knowing many die-hard Red Sox fans, I want to steer clear of fatalistic conditioned by years of Bucky Dent, Aaron Boone and leaving Pedro Martinez in too long.

14. Querétaro. The most likely candidate for relegation, the Gallos Blancos have a goal differential of -73, easily the worst in the last three seasons. Sad because the area seems like a really cool vacation spot.

13. Puebla. The club of El Chelis has grasped onto mediocrity like a student cramming for a final in the clutches of No-Doz. Since 2010 the team has consistently been outscored (best goal differential? -3) and never had fewer losses than wins or draws.

12. América . Named the best North and Central American team of 2000-2010, América is one of Mexico's most popular football clubs. América is also considered the most hated club in Mexico. This is the team to follow if your a big fan of the New York Yankees and the Dallas Cowboys.

11. Pachuca. Nicknamed the "cradle of Mexican soccer," Pachuca is a town headed toward the grave. The town's sprawl has virtually wiped out its native agriculture yet the economy relies heavily on the city's mining industry; Pachuca produces more than 60% of the state’s gold and more than 50% of its silver. Basing your cash flow on non-renewable natural resources mined by foreign nationals, Pachuca faces a volatile marketplace. "Volatility" is one of several words used to describe manager Hugo Sánchez. Other terms used to describe the former Mexico manager are "tactical stiffness" and "lack of strategy."

10. Chivas de Guadalajara. I wanted to keep this pick towards the end to build up suspense but picking a final eight turned out to be harder than I thought. There's a lot of things to dislike against the mothership. It's policy of disallowing foreign players to play for their national teams for one thing. I'd also say as a supporter of Chivas USA say there's a little brother complex. Or like being a New England Revolution fan.

Onward and upward!

What I'm watching this weekend:

Some really good match-ups this weekend but perhaps none better than two 4-0 clubs throwing down as the Xolos head to Monterrey.

5:00 PM Pacific Pachuca v Toluca

5:00 PM Pacific U.A.N.L v Tijuana

6:00 PM Pacific León v Cruz Azul

10:00 ET UNAM v Santos

[1]Reynolds, Mike. "Follow the Bouncing Ball." Multichannel News 33, no. 32 (Aug 13, 2012): 14-15. http://search.proquest.com/docview/1034974524?accountid=12708.

Got something to say? Did I make a mistake? Want to bolster your Liga MX team's case? Leave a comment below or find us on Twitter!

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