The 2019 Liga MX Clausura has a favorite, but teams repeating in Mexico isn't the norm. Club America will try it this Spring but without USMNT player Joe Corona. With his loan deal up at the end of America's championship season, Corona is back with Club Tijuana. It's an interesting situation for the midfielder, rejoining a club that had issues during the Apertura.
Improving on their 15th-place finish is the challenge for Corona's Tijuana. They'll be trying without Rubio Rubin, who left for Dorados a league down and coached by Diego Maradona. Tijuana is one of a number of teams trying to show they can compete in the middle of the table. In the 18-team Liga MX, that could mean a playoff position.
Just above Tijuana last season was William Yarbrough's Leon, finishing in 14th-place. Yarbrough is a rarity for USMNT players in Mexico, staying with the same club through multiple seasons. He's one of the best goalkeepers in Liga MX, something that has made the difference even in tough seasons for Leon. Keeping them in the playoff picture during the Clausura is going to take more than Yarbrough's skill in goal.
Jose Torres's Puebla finished 12th, six points out of the playoff picture during the Apertura with the worst goal difference of any team in the top 14. Figuring out the defense is the challenge for Puebla, giving up the second-most goals of any team in Liga MX.
Right behind them in the table in 13th-place was Michael Orozco's Lobos BUAP. Their attack flows through Leonardo Ramos who will have a full season. That's the big picture for Lobos right now, relying on one talented player to push them up the table.
Ventura Alvarado's Necaxa ended up 16th in the Apertura, four points from the bottom of the table and only winning three games. Guillermo Vazquez is the new coach, bringing a different approach to the club where mid-table is a sizeable improvement.
Omar Gonzalez's Atlas finished in 17th-place, scoring the lowest number of goals for any team in Liga MX with 11. That's the issue this Spring, with Atlas looking for balance after giving up 27 goals in the Apertura. Liga MX clubs are known for moving players in and out, and that's the situation for Atlas in the Clausura.
Also in the soccer news, MLSsoccer's Matthew Doyle takes a shot at predicting the MLS SuperDraft. ESPN's Jeff Carlisle talks to PA Classics about Christian Pulisic and the solidarity payment issue. The Athletic's Paul Tenorio talks to new Toronto GM Ali Curtis.
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