18 January 2002 (www.TEAMtalk.com
) - Despite the absence of 18 of Mexico's finest footballers, the Mexican Verano season should show no signs of slowing down. The Mexican national team will play a pair of Gold Cup matches this weekend and several clubs will feel the effects.
Game of the week:
Celaya at Leon. This is a joke, right? Winless Celaya against winless Leon is the best Mexico has to offer? Sort of. You see, Celaya and Leon will play what will essentially be a death match. Both sides are at the top -- or bottom, depending on one's perspective -- of the relegation race. And both sides are quickly making the dubious race a two-team affair. Neither side has shown signs of life, which will make this match interesting. Leon already replaced their coach, which should only bring new life to the Guanajuato club.
Celaya dropped a heartbreaking 3-2 match last week and need only the threat of the Primera A Division to kick back to life. While this is certainly not the best matchup, it will provide the most entertaining football of the weekend. Pick: Leon, 2-1.
The Bulls from Celaya take this one !!!!!! :smileani:
Upset of the week:
Tecos at Cruz Azul. Cruz Azul will hit rock bottom this week. After looking atrocious against Chivas, Cruz Azul head home to play a weak side. Only Tecos will not be that weak side, at least not this week. Tecos, usually a lousy road club, will be prepared for Cruz Azul's implosion. Cruz Azul have scored just once in two matches, despite fielding a talented squad. Frustration could set in rather quickly this weekend, and Tecos will take advantage. Pick: Tecos, 1-0.
Stinker of the week:
Santos at La Piedad. La Piedad have a solid offense, while Santos scored three goals in their opener. This match will not necessarily be a terrible one, but it could ressemble a pinball match. Last season, La Piedad fell to Santos, 6-4. Both sides can fill up the nets but do not do a good job of keeping opposing offenses under wraps. The football purist should avoid this match. Pick: Draw, 4-4.
Pachuca at Tigres. The two clubs who battled for the Invierno 2001 will do battle again. Though both sides will be missing players, the match could be as emotional as last year's championship series. Both teams have started the season in different directions. Pachuca have won twice, though they trailed at halftime of both matches. Tigres drew in their opener and fell to America last week. Tigres, who did not lose at home last season, may suffer their first home loss in more than a year. Pick: Pachuca, 1-0.
Puebla at Toluca. Fit-to-be-tied Puebla face offensive juggernaut Toluca. Last week, Toluca shredded a very solid Necaxa club. Puebla, which play with none of the offensive flair of Toluca, will be hard-pressed to keep Toluca in check. Toluca's strike force is probably the league's best, now that Carlos Maria Morales is slowly regaining his form. Puebla have little chance to come out of this match alive. Pick: Toluca, 4-1.
America at Veracruz. America are showing signs of life this season, but two solid efforts do not make an entire season. America have scored five goals in two matches and now head to defense-challenged Veracruz. America's Luis Hernandez may finally start for his club after scoring a spectacular goal against Tigres last week. Veracruz's Martin Rodriguez is the best scorer in Mexico right now. He has four goals this season and could add to his tally. Pick: Draw, 2-2.
Morelia at Atlas. If Atlas have yet to reach their potential, Morelia should look out. A new coach and several new players have not held Atlas back, in fact. Atlas have scored six goals in two matches. Newcomer Sigifredo Mercado may be the stabilizing force Atlas have sorely lacked. As long as the offense does not falter, Atlas should be in most matches they play. Morelia, meanwhile, need to work on their defense. But now is not a good time for that. Pick: Atlas, 3-1.
Chivas at Pumas. Through the first two weeks, these two sides may be playing the best football in Mexico. Chivas brought back memories of the powerhouse clubs of old in their domination of Cruz Azul last week while Pumas have played way above their heads. Reality should set in for Pumas this week, though, as Chivas continue to entertain their supporters with impressive football. Pick: Chivas, 2-0.
Monterrey at Necaxa. Necaxa head home to Estadio Azteca to lick their wounds after last week's 3-1 thrashing at Toluca. Monterrey are a good club to face in this situation; Necaxa should have no problems defeating Monterrey. Carlos Castro may find the back of the net for the first time in Mexico against Monterrey's weak defense. Monterrey scored four goals last week, and might make a match out of this, but Necaxa should put the match away early in the second half. Pick: Necaxa, 3-1.
Atlante. Atlante would like to hit the reset button on Verano 2002. Atlante dropped their first two matches by identical 3-2 scores. The defense has played horrendous and have dug a hole in both matches that the offense could not overcome. Atlante's bye week comes certainly at an opportune time.
1. Pachuca; 2. Toluca; 3. Chivas; 4. Santos; 5. Necaxa; 6. Cruz Azul; 7. Atlas; 8. Tigres; 9. Morelia; 10. Atlante; 11. Veracruz; 12. America; 13. Puebla; 14. Pumas; 15. Monterrey; 16. La Piedad; 17. Tecos; 18. Leon; 19. Celaya.