It may not have been the title they wanted most, but Monterrey did win some hardware to round out the year-they are the Apertura 2017 COPA MX Champions after a 1-0 win at home over Pachuca. Aviles Hurtado scored the only goal in the 2nd half. Unlike the Liga MX playoffs, the COPA MX is a single winner-take-all game each round and not a 2-game aggregate. With the victory, Monterrey will play the Clausura 2018 winner in SUPERCOPA MX next summer unless they win the Liga MX tournament. The Rayados got to the final by beating Leones Negros in the Round of 16, Santos in the Quarterfinals, America in the Semifinals and Pachuca in the finals.
Apparently fans & players were not the only ones maybe behaving badly at the Apertura 2017 Gran Final-the league today sanctioned a number of media members for various rules & regulations violations during the Finals. The full list:
Reporter Ivan del Angel & ESPN Camerman Ramon Arevalo, for helping a fan access the field who later incited violence, 1 Year Suspension
Straffon Images photographer Jose Juan Martinez Tamez & Imago 7 photographer Jose Macias, for taking photos of said violence-inciting fan, 1 Year Suspension
Televisa Monterrey cameraman Jose Lugo, for not respecting rules, insulting & assaulting operations personnel, 1 Year Suspension
RG 690 radio reporter Roberto Hernandez & Tigres photographers Jair Ramos & Andrea Trevino, for not respecting post-game guidelines, 6 Month Suspension
All suspensions are effective immediately and apply to ALL Mexican Soccer-related events in addition to ALL Liga MX, Ascenso MX, Liga MX Women, U-20, U-17 and U-15 events.
The winter League Draft was held earlier this week at League Headquarters in Toluca, with a total of 38 players being moved. Not as many as maybe expected, but there were some big moves made. The League didn’t reveal any moves but ESPN FC touched on a few in a recap. Highlights:
There seems to be a firesale at America-because Miguel Herrera apparently is not a defense-minded coach (see last year in Tijuana), America sent Pablo Aguilar to Tijuana and Miguel Samudio to Queretaro. Also possibly leaving are Darwin Quintero, Silvio Romero and Cecelio Dominguez, but if they move it likely will be to non-League teams. America got Henry Martin from Tijuana among 2 others for Aguilar.
After missing out on Martin, Guadalajara signed Ronaldo Cisneros away from Santos, stealing a young star making a name for himself in the U-20 division. The Chivas also signed Walter Sandoval from Santos in a trade for Joe Juan Vazquez. They also renewed the loan deal of goalie Rodolfo Cota, who was wanted back by former team Pachuca. There are also rumors head coach Matias Almeyda could leave the team anytime between now & next year to coach elsewhere, likely his native Argentina.
Amidst rumors of dire financial straits, Veracruz was only able to sign one player-Carlos Esquivel, who leaves Toluca for what almost certainly is a demotion ticket after the next tournament. There also has been a rumor new coach Guillermo Vazquez is gone as a result of all this.
The big winner may have been Queretaro, who got Samudio from America and also Puched…I mean, plucked, Edson Puch away from Pachuca. It’s Puch’s 3rd team in just the last year, having first played with Necaxa when they earned promotion back to the league then Pachuca, and his 8th team in 9 years. With the Gallos Blancos fighting to avoid demotion, Puch & Samudio can really help Queretaro pad their 8 point gap over Veracruz there. (Correction: I originally said 11 points in error. This has been corrected to reflect that it actually is 8 points)
All was quiet at the top but Monterrey has more time to make moves because of their playing Pachuca in the upcoming COPA MX Apertura 2017 Finals. There is one rumored face moving on from the Rayados, and it’s a big surprise-Antonio Mohamed. He’s rumored to be on the hot seat despite another regular season title and runner-up finish this past tournament. It could happen now or after the year. As for Tigres, the champs haven’t made any moves so far, as they denied Pumas in a bid to sign back Ismael Sosa. There are reports Lucas Zelarayan wants out, but no takers in the league.
The countdown to the second half is now underway-the league unveiled the full Clausura 2018 Tournament schedule today. Among the major dates & highlights:
The tournament begins January 5. Week 1 begins with Tigres at Puebla on 1/5 at 7 PM (5 PM PT/8 PM ET).
There will be one midweek slate, Week 7 will be played on 2/13 & 2/14.
The regular season will conclude on 4/29. The playoffs will then begin on 5/2, culminating in the Gran Final on 5/17 & 5/20.
The first of the Clasicos happens in Week 3 with Pumas vs. America on 1/21, then Guadalajara-America in Week 10, America-Cruz Azul in Week 13, Atlas-Guadalajara in Week 16, and finally the best perhaps last again, Tigres-Monterrey in Week 17.
The Demotion Watch plays out in Week 5 with Queretaro-Veracruz, the loser could be well on their way down after the tournament.
There is only one off week this tournament, coming between Weeks 12 & 13 for Mexican National Team games.
Click here for the full schedule (in Spanish):
The Apertura 2017 Gran Final is now in the books, and the winner…and now the 3-TIME CHAMPION, is Tigres after handing Monterrey their first and only loss at home this half 2-1. Monterrey took the early quick lead on Dorlan Pabon’s 2nd minute goal, but Eduardo Vargas & Francisco Meza scored unanswered goals in the 29th & 33rd minute, while sealing the win when Aviles Hurtado was denied on a PENAL! in the 82nd minute. Monterrey had 6+ minutes of extra time to tie it up but may have been done in near the end when Neri Cardozo drew a Rojas! HE GONE! That means he starts the second half on the sidelines. Amazingly, that was the only card issued in the game. As a result, Tigres wins by a 3-2 margin and claims their 3rd straight Apertura Championship and will go for the league 3-peat next summer. All is not lost for the Rayados though, they still can win some hardware as they will play Pachuca in a couple weeks for the COPA MX Apertura 2017 title, but the big one eludes them yet again.
Goals-Dorlan Pabon (Monterrey, 2′, 1st of playoffs), Eduardo Vargas (Tigres, 29′, 1st of playoffs), Francisco Meza (Tigres, 33′, 1st of playoffs)
Shots on Goal-Monterrey 2, Tigres 1
Corner Kicks-Monterrey 7, Tigres 3
Rojas-Monterrey 1 (Neri Cardozo, 90+5′)
Venue: Estadio BBVA Bancomer, Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon
Attendance: 52,067 (101.4% capacity)-SELLOUT
Next up: Clausura 2018 Tournament
Ahead of the Gran Final kickoff Thursday, Tijuana introduced their 3rd head coach in just a year-Diego Martin Cocca takes over the Xolos for the Clausura 2018 Tournament. Cocca replaces Eduardo Coudet, who who was fired after only 15 games (before Week 16) replacing Miguel Herrera, who left the club for America. Cocca, from Buenos Aires, Argentina, comes to Tijuana from Argentina’s Racing Club team where he won an Argentina First Division Championship in 2014. He coached in Argentina most of the last decade, leaving briefly for Colombia before returning to Racing Club to start this year. He began his soccer career as a player in 1991, debuting in Argentina at age 19 and playing around the world over 15 years including parts of 6 years in Liga MX (Atlas, 1999-2001; Veracruz, 2003-04; Queretaro, 2005) before retiring in 2006 back in Argentina. Cocca will also have several new staff joining him in Tijuana-Mauro Nestor Gerk as assistant coach and Leonardo Javier Bustos & Renso Valinoti as trainers.
Source: Club Tijuana press release
The Disciplinary Commission has published the list of sanctions & warnings from the Apertura 2017 Gran Final Game 1. As noted in the results there were 2 ejections, one from each team: Monterrey’s Leonel Vangioni & Tigres’ Hugo Ayala each got 2 Amarillas and will sit out Game 2, ending their seasons. There were 12 total cards issued.
The list, all Amarillas are for unsportsmanlike conduct unless otherwise noted:
Amarillas-Jose Basanta, John Medina (repeat rule violations), Jesus Molina, Carlos Sanchez (dissent by word or action), Rogelio Funes Mori, Leonel Vangioni
Rojas-Leonel Vangioni (2 Amarillas in same game), 1 Game Suspension
Amarillas-Hugo Ayala, Jesus Duenas, Luis Rodriguez (repeat rule violations), Nahuel Guzman (dissent by word or action)
Rojas-Hugo Ayala (2 Amarillas in same game), 1 Game Suspension