As a proud American soccer fan, part of my personal identity is wrapped up in being willfully ignorant about Mexican soccer. It’s just the natural order of things. So, when my editor “suggested” that I start watching Liga MX games regularly once the Clausura started, I gave him a blank stare for what must have been three straight minutes.
People who follow the league told me I’d enjoy it, because they know I have a strong appreciation for entertainment over tactics and structure, and general in-game absurdity that makes me question whether or not cash was exchanged before kickoff. Supposedly, Liga MX would offer me both. I dipped my toes in the Mexican water during Apertura’s Liguilla and was rewarded with the Club América versus Tigres final, one of the most ridiculous and worthwhile spectacles I’ve seen in a long time.
But the journey kicked off in earnest for me tonight with América hosting León. Thankfully, Liga MX rolled out a welcome mat of lackadaisical defending that lead to five chuckle-worthy goals, aggressive attacking, and an Estadio Azteca crown that lived up to is ridiculous reputation. Everything promised to me was delivered.
I know I’m supposed to hate Club América as the “evil empire” of the Mexican game, so its 3-2 win should be a downer, but all I saw was good TV. I’ll take this from anybody. I’m new here.
It only took four minutes for the show to start, as Aldo Rocha delivered a custom-fit goal to a still-lurking Oribe Peralta. Three minutes later, Peralta would again cash in on León’s early terribleness and make me reconsider calling him “Horrible” Peralta.
In the name of generosity, América would return the favor with some criminal defending of its own. The balletic form Moisés Velasco displayed for this own goal was something to behold. If you didn’t know he was firing at the wrong net, you’d want to nominate this for something.
Maybe it was guilt, but América wasn’t satisfied with gift-wrapping just a single goal. The players came together and decided the right thing to do for León to equalize was to stand completely still for a set piece. So generous.
With that score settled, América’s 66th minute winner came the old fashioned way, with a beautiful pass from Osvaldo Martiínez to a flying Carlos Quintero.
If I can get one game like this every week, I think Liga MX and I will do just fine.