Manuel Veth –
Liga MX is back underway, and matchday one already showed some fascinating results in Mexico’s topflight. With the league back underway the Golazo Podcast boys Bryce Dunn, Ollie Duxberry and Manuel Veth have highlighted ten players to watch in Liga MX this season.
Ten Players to Watch in Liga MX This Season
Felipe Mora #9 – Cruz Azul
Signed for €3.6 million from Club Universidad de Chile Felipe Mora has become the latest Chilean striker to move to Liga MX. A typical small, yet physical strong, Chilean striker Felipe Mora managed 13 goals in 15 games in the Chilean Primera División during the Clausura stage. Cruz Azul struggled last season and another poor year could see them slip towards the relegation standings. Hence a lot is expected from Felipe Mora in the coming season, and although the Chilean did not feature in the opening win against Tijuana, you can expect that Mora will have an impact for the light blues this season.
Eduardo Vargas #26 – Tigres UANL
Eduardo Vargas is the next Chilean on the list of ten players to watch in Liga MX this season. The 27-year-old Vargas is facing a make or break season at Tigres this season. Brought in to secure titles for his club the Chilean has somewhat disappointed in his first six months in Mexico. It is hard to pinpoint what exactly Vargas lacks to turn a fantastic national team career into a decent club career, but thus far he has failed at any club outside of Chile. Perhaps a switch to a more variable front system with three forwards could finally see Vargas play out his full potential at the club level. If not he will be one of the first players to be moved on by head coach Ricardo Ferretti.
Francisco Palencia Head Coach – Pumas UNAM
Yes, technically this was supposed to be a list of ten players to watch in Liga MX this season. But Pumas head coach Francisco Palencia will be in the spot light. The heavy metal loving head coach known for his extravagant clothing style will have to show that he can be a good coach at the Liga MX level. Last season Pumas stormed out of the gate playing some of the most attractive football in the country. The team then fell apart as Palencia struggled to keep the discipline. Many expected that he would be gone as a result, but Pumas have given him one final choice.
Luis Quiñones #10 – Lobos BUAP
Luis Quiñones is looking for playing time this season and when Tigres announced the signing of first Eduardo Vargas and then Enner Valencia over the last six months it was clear that he would not get that playing time at Tigres. The 26-year-old Colombian winger, therefore, asked to be sent out on loan and Tigres complied moving Quiñones to newly promoted Lobos BUAP. Playing for the newly promoted side from Puebla Quiñones had a tremendous start scoring both goals in Lobos’ first ever Liga MX game against giants Santos Laguna. The game ended in a draw, but Quiñones showed that he could be a top player at this level.
Paolo Yrizar #17 – Querétaro
Paolo Yrizar will be one of the most exciting players to watch this season. The 19-year-old has recently been given a double digit number indicating that he will no longer feature in the club’s youth setup. He was then due to the start on matchday 1, which ended with a 1-0 triumph over Liga MX giants Club América. Yrizar certainly looked sharp in the match and the striker, who also play on the left wing, could make a significant step forward in his career this season.
Lucas Zelarayán #8 – Tigres UANL
Lucas Zelarayán will have to play a significant role for Tigres this season. With the club selling Argentine midfielder Guido Pizarro to FC Sevilla in the summer Zelarayán is expected to fill the hole left by his famous countryman. Playing slightly more forward than Pizarro Zelarayán did just that on matchday 1. Playing as the pivotal midfielder in what looked like a 4-1-3-2 formation Zelarayán was tasked to keep the balance between Tigres’ attacking and defensive play.
Nicolás Castillo #30 – Pumas UNAM
— PUMAS (@PumasMX) July 23, 2017
No Futbolgrad Network ten players to watch in Liga MX list would be complete without Nicolás Castillo. What can we say we love the Chilean striker. The reason is simple the forward is not only effective but can also score great goals while he is on it. His goalscoring prowess has been particularly evident on matchday one where he scored an excellent free kick to win the game for his club against Pachuca. The beautiful goals aside, however, Castillo will have to demonstrate that the first half of last season’s Clausura was not a fluke and that he can be a consistent scorer in what is often dubbed the best league outside of Europe.
Gustavo Bou #7 – Club Tijuana
Gustavo Bou will have some gigantic shoes to fill this season. Brought in from the Argentine club Racing Club de Avellaneda the 27-year-old Argentine is supposed to replace the Colombian striker Avilés Hurtado, who joined Monterrey this summer for €7.13 million. A boxy striker Bou should fit in well in Liga MX where strong strikers with a low centre of gravity tend to do very well. Bou came off the bench on matchday one but was unable to turn things around for Tijuana as they succumbed to Cruz Azul. One thing was clear Bou will still have to do some adapting before he can reach the level necessary to play in Liga MX.
Rodolfo Pizarro #20 – Deportivo Guadalajara
Guadalajara has already produced the likes of Chicharito and Marco Fabian and Pizarro, who is now 23-years-old has the talent to make the jump to Europe. Getting him, however, would not be cheap. Chivas paid €13 million in January to sign Pizarro from Pachuca and Deportivo Guadalajara are known for being a tough negotiation partner. But with Chivas finally having ended their title draught during the Clausura Pizarro could now have set his sights on making the jump across the Atlantic.
Enner Valencia #13 – Tigres UANL
— Club Tigres Oficial 🐯 (@TigresOficial) July 23, 2017
Enner Valencia in the meantime has recently returned from Europe to Liga MX. The Ecuadorian winger played six months with Pachuca before joining West Ham United in the summer of 2014. Valencia, however, failed to make a lasting impression with West Ham and was sent out on loan last summer. Three goals in 21 games, however, was not enough to convince Everton to make the deal permanent and Valencia decided to leave the Premier League rather than re-joining West Ham. Tigres, who never shy away from big money moves, were able to land the quick striker and Valencia had an immediate impact on the league scoring a hattrick in his first game back in Mexico, which made him an easy choice to be included in the ten players to watch in Liga MX list for this season.
Manuel Veth is a freelance journalist and social media junior editor at Bundesliga.com. He is also a holder of a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.