MEXICO: One perfect quartet

August, 2, 2011
8/02/11
4:22
PM PT

Santos Laguna and Monterrey, who met in last year's Apertura final in Mexico's Primera Division, are smoking foes. Rising Guadalajara's approach is more measured. And reigning champ Pumas UNAM is defying expectations.


They're the four sides that have won in each of the first two weekends of the current Apertura, and three of them faces a difficult slate in this week's “doble-jornada.”

Santos, atop the standings with a plus-6 goal difference -- Atlante last weekend was the Guerreros' second three-goal victim -- have it easier, taking on promoted Club Tijuana, which continues to seek its first Primera victory.

Pumas, which dismantled its side after winning the Clausura in May, has shut out both of its opponents, San Luis and Morelia. Things get much tougher this week: Monterrey on Wednesday in Mexico City and Saturday at Chivas.
  • THE TOP 3

1. XOLOS XLIP AGAIN: Tijuana so dominated the Liga de Ascenso most of last season, and it added real quality with the jump to the Primera Division, so perhaps expectations for the Xoloitzcuintles' first campaign in the top division were a tad high? Too early to tell. Their early schedule certainly has done favors.

After dropping their opener at home to Clausura runner-up Morelia on a controversial penalty kick, the Xolos went to powerhouse Monterrey last weekend and dialed up a quick 2-0 advantage on newcomer Dayro Moreno's superb strike and American Joe Corona's header -- his second goal in as many games.

The last hour was all Monterrey, which got a Sergio Santana goal just before halftime, tied it up on Luis Perez's penalty kick, then dismissed the Dogs with goals about a minute apart, by Walter Ayovi (from Humberto Suazo's feed through traffic) and Cesar Delgado (on a breakaway).

Next up for Tijuana should be Guadalajara -- that'll heat up Estadio Caliente -- but the game has been pushed back to Sept. 2 so Chivas can take on Barcelona in a World Football Challenge friendly in Miami.

2. HERC OPENS ACCOUNT: Former Galaxy star Herculez Gomez scored his first goal for Estudiantes Tecos, his new team, and it should have been enough for a share of the points. San Luis pulled out a 2-1 home win on Wilmer Aguirre's stoppage-time PK.

Gomez, a halftime substitute, clinically headed home Hugo Colace's corner kick at the near post five minutes into the second half to pull the Student Owls even. It would have been a 2-1 lead had Rubens Sambueza converted his penalty in the 40th minute.

Orange's Michael Orozco Fiscal, for San Luis, and Tecos institution Juan Carlos Leaño were red-carded after squaring off, with punches thrown, three minutes into stoppage, after Aguirre's winner.

3. ON TO GROUP PLAY: Morelia is through and Santos well on the way to the CONCACAF Champions League's group stage after big wins in the first leg of their preliminary-round series. Nobody, except perhaps the hardest-core fans of Tempête and Olimpia, doubted they'd get that far, and real expectation is that they'll join Monterrey and Pumas -- the other Mexican team in the region's club championship -- in next year's final four.

Morelia routed Tempête, 5-0, in their first leg, but it wasn't until the last half-hour that they put the Haitians away. Four goals from the 63rd through 76th minutes ended the suspense, and there's no way Tempête rallies -- not when it's playing its home game in the Monarcas' stadium.

Santos won, 3-1, at home against Olimpia, which ought to put up a real fight in Wednesday's second leg in Tegucigalpa.

Morelia is bound for Group A, a real tough one, with the Galaxy, Costa Rica's Alajuelense and Honduras' Motagua. Santos hopes to join MLS champ Colorado, Honduras' Real España and either Puerto Rico Islanders or Salvadoran power Isidro Metapan in Group B.
  • QUICK KICKS

DaMarcus Beasley set up the first strike as Puebla bolted to a two-goal advantage on Pachuca, which somehow rallied for a 2-2 draw. The Tuzos, considered a title contender as the season kicked off, has looked pathetic in its first two games. ... Also looking poor: UANL Tigres, who have shown little attacking spark with, arguably, the league's best collection of attackers. They went 0-0 with minnow Gallos Blancos, and Los Alamitos' Jonathan Bornstein again saw no action. ... Guadalajara had been outscored, 10-1, by Jaguares over the past five years, and the Goats went down just after halftime in Sunday's meeting. This time they rallied, with Omar Arellano and Marco Fabian de la Mora scoring four minutes apart to a 2-1 triumph. ... Ivan Alonso scored another early goal and Toluca survived a quick yellow-yellow-red showing to Edgar Dueñas, over 90 seconds in the first half-hour, to claim a 1-1 draw with America. ...

Preseason favorite Leon found itself down three goals barely 10 minutes into the second half of its Liga de Ascenso opener at Correcaminos. No problem. Eder Pacheco scored three times in the final 20 minutes to forge a 3-3 draw. ... Former Chivas USA forward Roberto Nurse gave La Piedad three leads over Irapuato -- the last goal of his hat trick delivering a 3-2 Liga de Ascenso victory. ... The four most highly regarded Liga clubs square off this weekend: Irapuato at Veracruz and Necaxa at Leon.

  • THE NUMBERS

PRIMERA DIVISION
Last week's results (home teams listed first)
Jornada 1
Saturday
Cruz Azul 2 (A. Cortes 47, E. Villa 71), Atlas 1 (H. Rodriguez 32)
Gallos Blancos de Queretaro 0, UANL Tigres 0
Santos Laguna 3 (C. Suarez 17, C. Quintero 48, C. Ochoa 84), Atlante 0
Monterrey 4 (Santana 40, L. Perez pen. 49, W. Ayovi 71, C. Delgado 72), Club Tijuana 2 (D. Moreno 25, J. Corona 29)
San Luis 2 (J. Gonzalez 12, W. Aguirre pen. 92), Estudiantes Tecos 1 (H. Gomez 50)
Sunday
Puebla 2 (Riascos 20, L. Garcia 32), Pachuca 0 (Esqueda 68, J. Ayovi 83)
Toluca 1 (I. Alonso 2), America 1 (Vuoso 22)
Morelia 0, Pumas UNAM 1 (L. Fuentes 17)
Guadalajara 2 (Arellano 67, de la Mora 71), Jaguares de Chiapas 1 (J. Martinez 47)

Standings: 1. Santos Laguna 6 points; 2. Monterrey 6; 3. Guadalajara 6; 4. Pumas UNAM 6; 5. America, Cruz Azul, Puebla and Toluca 4; 9. Morelia 3; 10. San Luis 3; 11. UANL Tigres 2; 12. Gallos Blancos 1; 13. Pachuca 1; 14. Estudiantes Tecos 0; 15. Atlas 0; 16. Tijuana 0; 17. Jaguares 0; 18. Atlante 0.

Relegation percentage: 1. Tijuana (2 games/0 points) 0.0000; 2. Estudiantes Tecos (70/71) 1.0143; 3. Gallos Blancos (70/75) 1.0714; 4. Jaguares (70/77) 1.1000; 5. Atlas (70/78) 1.1143.

This week's games (all times Pacific)
Jornada 3
Wednesday
Estudiantes Tecos at America, 5 p.m.
Cruz Azul at Pachuca, 6:30 p.m.
Gallos Blancos at Atlas, 6:45 p.m.
Toluca at Tigres, 6:45 p.m.
Monterrey at Pumas, 7 p.m.
Puebla at Atlante, 7 p.m.
Guadalajara at Tijuana, ppd. to Sept. 2
Santos Laguna at Jagures, ppd. to Sept. 2
Morelia at San Luis, ppd. to Sept. 3

Jornada 4
Saturday
Morelia at Monterrey, 3 p.m.
Atlante at Cruz Azul, 3 p.m.
Pachuca at Gallos Blancos, 3 p.m.
Pumas at Guadalajara, 5 p.m.
Tijuana at Santos Laguna, 5 p.m.
Sunday
Jaguares at Puebla, 10 a.m.
Atlas at Toluca, 10 a.m.
San Luis at America, 2 p.m.
Tigres at Estudiantes Tecos, 4 p.m.
Schedule subject to change

LIGA DE ASCENSO
Last week's results (home teams listed first)
Jornada 1
Friday
Necaxa 1 (Lojero 14), Merida 0
Correcaminos 3 (J. Sara 34, Sanchez Guerrero 51, R. Saucedo 56), Leon 3 (Eder Pacheco 70, 81, 88)
Leones Negros 1 (Folle 69), Celaya 1 (og Berber 89)
Saturday
Lobos BUAP 1 (A. Martinez 48), Cruz Azul Hidalgo 0
Pumas Morelos 2 (H. Gonzalez 39. 54), Veracruz 0
Irapuato 2 (J. Gutierrez 60, 70), La Piedad 3 (Nurse 35, 62, 81)
Indios de Ciudad Juarez 1 (D. Galvan 79), Dorados de Sinaloa 0
Sunday
Toros Neza 3 (Luciano Emilio 14, D. Mejia 16, J. Robles 37), Altamira 0

Standings: Toros Neza 3; 2. Pumas Morelos 3; 3. La Piedad 3; 4. Indios, Lobos BUAP and Necaxa 3; 7. Correcaminos and Leon 1; 9. Celaya and Leones Negros 1; 11. Irapuato 0; 12. Cruz Azul Hidalgo, Dorados and Merida 0; 15. Veracruz and Altamira 0.

This week's games (all times Pacific)
Jornada 2
Friday
Lobos BUAP at Altamira, 5 p.m.
Saturday
Irapuato at Veracruz, 2 p.m.
Indios de Ciudad Juarez at Merida, 5 p.m.
Necaxa at Leon, 6 p.m.
Toros Neza at Dorados de Sinaloa, 6 p.m.
Pumas Morelos at Celaya, 6:30 p.m.
Sunday
Leones Negros at Cruz Azul Hidalgo, 10 a.m.
Correcaminos at La Piedad, 10:30 a.m.
Schedule subject to change

CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Last week's results (home teams listed first)
Preliminary round, first leg
Wednesday
Santos Laguna 3 (Peralta 29, Rodriguez pen. 61, Quintero 63), Olimpia (Honduras) 1 (Bekeles 66)
Thursday
Morelia 5 (Higui 15, Sabah pen. 63, Rojas 67, Sepulveda 70, Lozano 76), Tempête (Haiti) 1

This week's games (all times Pacific)
Preliminary round, first leg
Wednesday
Tempête (Haiti) at Morelia, 5 p.m.
Santos Laguna at Olimpia (Honduras), 7 p.m.

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