Liga MX Power Rankings: Tigres jump to top, Leon keep pace
MEXICO CITY -- Six clubs, or a third of all teams in Liga MX, have replaced their managers this season - sparking controversy between the press and players, prompting public declarations from well-known figures in the league.
Allegations about players on teams such as Toluca, Queretaro and Puebla not trying their hardest to save their outgoing boss' job have become the norm, spilling over into other teams struggling to keep their heads above water -- such as Cruz Azul. This week, after a newspaper column noted that La Maquina's players reportedly were tired of manager Pedro Caixinha, club captain Jose de Jesus Corona starred in a video posted on social media specifically denouncing the journalist who wrote the piece.
This week, our Power Rankings will focus on how long the current coach has been at the helm for every team, as the issue of continuity versus change is once again front and center in Mexican football.
Managing since: Apertura 2010. By far, Ricardo Ferretti is Mexico's longest tenured manager. Over the course of his reign at Tigres, the team has won four league titles, one Copa MX, three Campeon de Campeones trophies and a Campeones Cup win over MLS side Toronto FC. Sure, the team has been blessed with a near-unlimited transfer budget to back Ferretti, but the Brazilian-born boss has responded every step of the way, including this season, with Tigres in first after their win on Friday in Guadalajara over Atlas.
Managing since: Apertura 2018. Ignacio Ambriz was highly questioned after failing at Club America in the waning days of Ricardo Pelaez's presidency. In response, the former Atletico Madrid assistant spent time in Europe boning up on newer techniques. After taking over for Gustavo Diaz at Leon last season, the team has made enormous strides that continue on to this season. Leon is just two points off the pace following a resounding 3-1 win over Pumas.
Managing since: Apertura 2018. Salvador Reyes Jr. came into a difficult situation after Robert Siboldi resigned, as he took over a team with a fractured relationship with management. The team's talent level was undoubtedly high, however, and Reyes has been up to the task of shepherding to the upper echelons of the league table. The 4-0 thrashing of Toluca led to Hernan Cristante being fired, and Santos moving up to fourth place in the LIga MX table.
Managing since: Apertura 2018. Diego Alonso is closing in on a mostly successful first year as Monterrey's manager. After eight games, Los Rayados are still undefeated. They did stumble, however, to an uninspiring 0-0 draw this weekend against Puebla, which knocked them off the top perch, allowing rivals Tigres to leapfrog them.
Managing since: Clausura 2019. Martin Palermo gained his first managing job in Mexico following the firing of Pako Ayestaran, the product of a rough start for Los Tuzos. The Argentine has been lights out with his new side, as they remain undefeated in Liga MX since his takeover. A 3-1 win over Chivas on Saturday was a statement -- Pachuca is ready to compete for a playoff run this season.
Managing since: Apertura 2017. In his second run as coach of Las Aguilas, Miguel Herrera proved that he was the odd exception to the rule regarding a sequel being better than the original. Herrera won his second title with Club America last season, and after a shaky stretch of injuries and transfer exits, is now positioning his team for another run with the additions of Nico Castillo and Nico Benedetti. The 3-0 win over Lobos on Saturday saw Castillo score a brace -- ending a months-long dry spell.
Managing since: Apertura 2018. Following Matias Almeyda was no easy act for Paraguay great Jose Cardozo, but he's managed to gain confidence from supporters after putting together a strong start to the Clausura 2019 campaign. Though last weekend's loss to Pachuca is a tough result, the future looks bright for one of Mexico's most popular teams.
Managing since: Clausura 2019. Jose Luis Sanchez hopped from behind the ESPN desk onto the touchline to save his beloved Puebla after a horrid start under Enrique Meza. Since taking over, Sanchez has steered Puebla into respectability, and his 0-0 draw at Monterrey was a massive result for a team lacking in positives.
Managing since: Clausura 2019. The signing of Oscar Pareja from FC Dallas was one of the higher-profile signings of the winter, and the well-regarded Colombian manager has slowly begun to change Xolos' fortunes in the current season. A 2-1 away win against Necaxa last weekend has thrust Tijuana into the playoff picture off the back of strong performances by Gustavo Bou and Miller Bolanos.
Managing since: Clausura 2019. Memo Vazquez was brought in to take an underperforming squad into the playoffs following a disappointing Apertura campaign. The strategy has worked so far, with Necaxa just one point off the pace despite having played less matches than 16 teams in the league.
Managing since: Apertura 2018. Angel Hoyos was hand-selected by Rafa Marquez after the team's new president stated his intention to make his childhood club as similar as the team he enjoyed the most amount of success with -- Barcelona. The results have been mixed so far, as Atlas' hot start has tapered off. A 1-0 loss to Tigres on Friday knocked them down to tenth place.
Managing since: Apertura 2018. Following the pronounced peaks and valleys of the Rafa Puente era, Francisco Palencia was an afterthought for many when the former striker came in to steward the team's second year in Liga MX. Thus far, his stated mission -- to keep the club away from relegation -- has been a total success. Beyond that, there's not much more fans can ask of him, even after getting whacked this weekend by Club America.
Managing since: Clausura 2019. Bruno Marioni's fiery nature and glorious past at Pumas has revitalized his team following the firing of David Patino just a few weeks ago. It'll be interesting to see how Marioni rebounds from his first big negative result, a 3-1 home loss to Leon.
Managing since: Clausura 2018. Pedro Caixinha has fallen from grace with fans and reporters, but not his own players, who took to Twitter to defend the beleaguered manager after a column stated the Portuguese boss has lost his locker room. A 1-1 draw on Friday to Veracruz reminds us that, loyalty or not, someone is about to pay the price for Cruz Azul's shockingly bad season.
Managing since: Clausura 2019. Victor Manuel Vucetich returned as Queretaro's manager on Saturday by winning 3-0 at Morelia. Vucetich's debut was also Morelia manager Roberto Hernandez's goodbye, as the long-tenured manager was dismissed after the loss.
Managing since: Clausura 2019. Another long-serving manager was sent packing this weekend in Hernan Cristante. Two big losses, one a 3-0 to Sporting KC in the CONCACAF Champions League, and another, a 4-0 to Santos in Liga MX, signaled the end of Cristante in Toluca. On deck for Los Diablos is one of two familiar faces: Ricardo La Volpe or Chepo de la Torre.
Managing since: Clausura 2019. Robert Siboldi's team finally scored a goal last weekend. The bad news is they also gave up a goal, which meant Veracruz was unable to pick up its first win of the season. With less than ten games to go, it certainly appears like nothing short of a miracle will save Siboldi and Veracruz from the drop.
Managing since: Clausura 2019. Roberto Hernandez makes six managers fired in the Clausura 2019. With Cristante and Hernandez gone, just three of the 18 managers (Ferretti, Herrera and Caixinha) have been at their clubs for more than a year.