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Liga MX Week 15: Where to Watch

liga mxWho’s playing who? When? And on what channel? All the info you need to catch all the games you’re interested in.

All times Eastern, home team listed first. Note that the Friday and Saturday games are kicking off an hour later than usual, due to Daylight Saving Time ending in Mexico. (Clocks go back in the U.S. this Sunday).

Friday, October 31
Monarcas Morelia vs Monterrey – 9:30 PM – Azteca America / ESPN Deportes
Tijuana vs Toluca – 11:30 PM – Azteca America / ESPN Deportes

Saturday, November 1
América vs Chivas de Guadalajara – 7:00 PM – Univision / Univision Deportes
Puebla vs Pachuca – 7:00 PM – Azteca America / ESPN Deportes
Tigres UANL vs Querétaro – 9:00 PM – Univision Deportes
León vs Atlas – 10:06 PM – Telemundo
Jaguares de Chiapas vs Cruz Azul – 11:00 PM – Univision Deportes
Leones Negros vs Santos Laguna – 11:00 PM – Galavision

Sunday, November 2
Pumas UNAM vs Veracruz – 1:00 PM – Univsion Deportes

Carlos Vela Reportedly Accepts Call Up

el triCarlos Vela’s three-year absence from the Mexican national team appears to be coming to an end. Miguel Herrera, coach of El Tri, called Vela up for Mexico’s Europe-based November friendlies against the Netherlands and Belarus, despite Vela repeatedly requesting not to be called up for Mexico games in the past.

Herrera has now announced that Vela has accepted the call up, telling ESPN’s Fútbol Picante talk show that “Carlos will be there in the Netherlands. Of the call-ups, all will be coming.”

Fox Sports’ Rubén Rodríguez also tweeted that Herrera said: “I spoke with Carlos Vela. Clean slate and he accepts the call to [the Mexican national team].”

Vela will be joining nine other Europe-based players: Guillermo Ochoa, Diego Reyes, Héctor Herrera, Andrés Guardado, Jonathan dos Santos, Jesús Manuel Corona, Giovani dos Santos, Javier Hernández and Raúl Jiménez. The Mexico-based players who will be participating in these friendlies have not yet been announced.

Liga MX Referee Assignments: Apertura Week 15

The referees, assistant referees, and fourth officials for the 15th week of the Apertura 2014 Liga MX season.

Monarcas Morelia vs Monterrey
Referee: Miguel Ángel Ayala Ramírez
Assistant 1: Marvin César Torrentera Rivera
Assistant 2: Igor Itzsvan Flores Florian
Fourth Official: Jesús Fabricio Morales Bojorquez

Tijuana vs Toluca
Referee: César Arturo Ramos Palazuelos
Assistant 1: Miguel Ángel Hernández Paredes
Assistant 2: Víctor Calderón Calderón
Fourth Official: Eduardo Galvan Basulto

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Apertura Week 15 Preview: Sunday’s Game

Pumas UNAM vs Veracruz – 1:00 PM – Univsion Deportes
Pumas UNAM (13th) are five places out of the playoff spots, and need all the points they can get if they want to make the Liguilla. They’re winless in three, though, and they haven’t won at home all season (four draws and two losses).

On the other hand, Veracruz (14th) has lost three of their last four and has only won on the road once this season. The Tiburones Rojos are the second lowest-scoring team in the league and are in the middle of a relegation battle. The Sharks have been looking toothless as of late, and this could be the perfect chance for Pumas to finally earn a home win.

Apertura Week 15 Preview: Saturday’s Games

América vs Chivas de Guadalajara – 7:00 PM – Univision / Univision Deportes
The SuperClásico. The most hyped rivalry game in Mexican soccer arrives with its two participants at completely different levels: América is in 1st place and has clinched a playoff spot; Chivas is 17th, has no realistic chance of reaching the playoffs, and is involved in a relegation fight. Both of these teams lost their previous derby matches, with Chivas falling 0-1 to Atlas in the Clásico Tapatío and América succumbing 4-0 to Cruz Azul in the Clásico Joven, which makes the SuperClásico an even more important match in terms of bragging rights.

Chivas has just two wins this season and is riding a six-game winless streak. They’ve lost three of their last four away games and are one of the lowest scoring teams in the league. As for the Águilas, they’ve won their last three home games and will be looking for a big win at home to make up for last weekend’s loss to Querétaro. The cliché is that form goes out the window in a rivalry game, and Chivas will be hoping that’s true.

Puebla vs Pachuca – 7:00 PM – Azteca America / ESPN Deportes
Puebla (15th) suffered a disappointing 2-1 loss to Atlas after taking the lead last week, and they are now winless in their last seven. Although they only lost twice in that span, earning five draws, draws are not enough for a team sitting in the penultimate spot in the relegation standings. The Poblanos are in desperate need of wins, but they haven’t been looking likely to get them.

As for Pachuca (7th), the Tuzos will also be disappointed by last week’s result, a 0-0 home draw with lowly Leones Negros. Pachuca is currently in the playoff places, but they could slip as low as 11th with a loss tonight. The Tuzos are unbeaten in four, though, including their last two road games, and they’ll fancy their chances against an underwhelming Puebla side, particularly one that had a midweek game. Puebla took on Lobos BUAP in the Copa MX semifinals and won on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

Tigres UANL vs Querétaro – 9:00 PM – Univision Deportes
Tigres UANL (4th) gave up a 0-2 lead to draw 2-2 in the Clásico Regio last weekend, and will be looking to return to winning ways at home in the Estadio Universitario. They’re unbeaten in their last seven games and have won two of their last three home games. Tigres are looking to lock up a playoff spot and they could move as high as 2nd with a win here, depending on other results.

As for Querétaro (9th), the Gallos Blancos earned a last-minute 3-2 win against América last weekend, but it wasn’t quite enough to lift them into the playoff places. A win here could do that, and Querétaro will be confident after snapping a three-game losing streak against the league leaders. The Gallos haven’t done well on the road though, losing four of their six away games this season. They will have an advantage over Tigres in terms of rest, however, as UANL played in the Copa MX semifinals in midweek, losing 2-4 to Santos Laguna.

León vs Atlas – 10:06 PM – Telemundo
León (10th) has shot up the table with three straight wins, but they’re still a point and two places out of the playoff spots. The reigning champions need to keep winning if they want to have a chance to defend their title, but Atlas (2nd) is not going to make things easy for them. The Zorros have won three of their last four and are looking to pass América at the top of the table.

Atlas has been inconsistent on the road as of late, though, going 1-1-1 in their last three. On the other hand, León has lost two of their last four home games and has the second-worst defense in the league. After León was knocked out of the CONCACAF Champions League in the group stage, missing out on the playoffs as well would be another failure they don’t want. Expect La Fiera to come out guns blazing in search of a win.

Jaguares de Chiapas vs Cruz Azul – 11:00 PM – Univision Deportes
Jaguares de Chiapas (6th) are on a two-game winning streak after ending a five-game winless streak in Jornada 13. They’re currently in the playoff places and would like to stay there, and they’re unbeaten at home this season with three wins and three draws.

As for Cruz Azul (8th), La Máquina climbed into the playoff spots with a win against Morelia last weekend, but they could slip right back out of the top eight with a loss tonight. They haven’t won on the road this season, with three losses and three draws, but they can’t afford to drop points to Chiapas – especially considering Cruz Azul could leapfrog the Jaguares with a win. This game will go a long way towards determining if these two teams will finish the season in the playoff spots, and both teams very much want to make the Liguilla.

Leones Negros vs Santos Laguna – 11:00 PM – Galavision
Leones Negros (16th) are riding a four-game unbeaten streak (one win and three draws) but are still dead last in the relegation standings. The Universidad de Guadalajara needs to stop drawing and start winning, and they might like their chances of snatching points from a suddenly struggling Santos Laguna (11th).

The Laguneros are winless in six, with three losses and three draws in that span, and they’re winless in their last four road games as well. They’re still harboring hopes of making the playoffs, but they have just three games left to climb into the top eight – and stay there. Leones are in a better run of form, but they’re also the lowest-scoring team in the league, with just seven goals in fourteen games, and Santos has a number of goal-scoring threats at their disposal. If Leones want a win, they’re likely going to have to shut out the likes of Javier Orozco, Andrés Rentería, and Carlos Darwin Quintero, who all had a great game in midweek in the Copa MX semifinals, where Santos defeated Tigres 2-4.

Copa MX Semifinal: Tigres UANL vs Santos Laguna

copa mx logoSantos Laguna mounted a stunning comeback in the Volcán to defeat Tigres UANL 2-4 and book their spot in the final, where they will face Puebla.

Having apparently not learned their lesson from last weekend’s Clásico Regio, Tigres once again let a 2-0 lead slip – and this time they didn’t just draw, but lose. The night started brightly for the hosts, who opened the scoring in just the 8th minute. Emanuel Villa set up Damián Álvarez, whose diagonal shot beat goalkeeper Julio González to make it 1-0.

Tigres would quickly increase their advantage thanks to the unfortunate Javier Orozco. José Francisco “Gringo” Torres swung in a dangerous free kick; it hit the crossbar and bounced into the box, where the ball rebounded against Orozco, who could do nothing to prevent it entering his own net. It was the 11th minute and Tigres were up 2-0.

But Santos didn’t hang their heads. Coach Pedro Caixinha made a tactical change in the 21st minute, taking off Alonso Escoboza and sending on Djaniny Tavares. The Laguneros immediately began generating chances, with first “Chato” Rodríguez failing to capitalize on his opportunity and then Nahuel Guzmán making a good save to prevent Djaniny from scoring.

But the goal was coming, and in the 35th minute, it arrived. Carlos Darwin Quintero played the ball in from the right flank and Djaniny headed it past Guzmán to make it 2-1. It would be tied up before halftime.

In the 40th minute, Quintero sent a beautiful through ball through a crowd of Tigres players, where it fell perfectly for Andrés Rentería. He got around the goalkeeper and passed the ball into the empty net to make it 2-2.

The second half started the way the first half had finished: with Santos on top and Tigres reeling. The goal of the night came in the 59th minute, when Oswaldo Alanís hit a shot from within his own half, about 55 yards from goal. It looked overly ambitious on first glance, but Nahuel Guzmán could not backpedal fast enough and the ball dropped over him and into the empty net to give Santos the 2-3 lead.

Guzmán would play a role in Santos’s final goal as well. In the 64th minute, Quintero served in a free kick from midfield, and with Tigres’ defense apparently asleep, Javier Orozco easily beat Guzmán to the ball, heading it into an empty net to make it 2-4 in favor of the visitors.

It would get even worse for Tigres when a frustrated Damián Álvarez kicked Rodolfo Salinas in the back, earning himself a straight red card in the 72nd minute. The game would quickly be reduced to 10 vs 10, though, as substitute Ribair Rodríguez then kicked Egidio Arévalo to earn a red card of his own minutes later.

Santos Laguna will now host Pubela in the Gran Final, with the date and time set to be announced later today.

Highlights

Apertura Week 15 Preview: Friday’s Games

Monarcas Morelia vs Monterrey – 9:30 PM – Azteca America / ESPN Deportes
Monarcas Morelia (18th) suffered their league-high ninth loss of the season last week and haven’t won at home all season. Even if they managed to defeat Monterrey (5th), they would remain bottom of the table since they’re four point behind 17th-placed Chivas. Morelia is riding a four-game winless streak, with three losses and a draw in that span. They’ve also lost their last three home game and were shut out in their last two. Also of concern is their leaky backline, which has allowed a league-high 29 goals to date.

As for the Rayados, they’re coming off a come-from-behind 2-2 draw with Tigres UANL in the Clásico Regio but they haven’t won since Jornada 11. They’ve been alternating wins and losses away from home all season, and if that pattern holds they’re due for a win in this one. Although they haven’t been in the best form of late, Monterrey is still just five points off the lead with a game in hand.

Tijuana vs Toluca – 11:30 PM – Azteca America / ESPN Deportes
Tijuana (12th) was denied their first road win of the season thanks to a stoppage-time goal in their game against Chivas, but they’re now returning home to the Estadio Caliente, where they’re unbeaten in six. The Xolos always play better at home and they’ll need a good game tonight since they’re still outside of the playoff spots with just three games left in the season. The table is tight, though, with just two points separating 8th and 13th, so Tijuana could jump into the top 8 with a win here.

As for Toluca (3rd), their spot in the playoffs is not yet mathematically guaranteed, but a win here could clinch it depending on other results. Toluca suffered their first home loss of the season last weekend, when they fell 2-3 to León, but they’re been doing well on the road as of late. The Diablos Rojos are unbeaten in their last three away games and have two wins in that span. Their last road loss came way back in August against Santos Laguna and they will not want to suffer two consecutive defeats, especially not when they’re so close to guaranteeing their spot in the Liguilla.

Walter Ayovi Set to Miss Remainder of Regular Season

red crossPachuca’s Walter Ayovi picked up a muscle injury in training last week, and after sitting out the Tuzos’ game against Leones Negros, he’s now said he’ll miss the rest of the season.

The left-leg injury is not an overly serious one, but it does require two to three weeks of recovery time. There are only three games left in the Apertura 2014 season, and Ayovi is expecting to miss all of them.

However, the Ecuadorian is confident of being recovered in time for the playoffs, should Pachuca remain in the top 8 places and qualify for the Liguilla.

Copa MX Semifinals: Puebla vs Lobos BUAP

copa mx logoOnce again, Puebla took the game to penalty kicks, and once again, Puebla advanced.

La Franja had to fight back for the draw that took the game to penalities after the visiting Lobos BUAP of the Liga de Ascenso opened the scoring in the 30th minute. The Lobos looked like the better team throughout the first half, organized at the back and dangerous going forward, while Puebla was not firing on all cylinders.

The opening goal came from a set piece, with captain Omar Tejeda heading home a corner kick at the half-hour mark. “Chelís” rearranged his Puebla side for the start of the second half, and the insertion of Luis Loroña in particular would bear fruit: in the 75th minute, Loroña headed home a corner kick to tie the game 1-1.

Then it was just a matter of game management, made easier once Alberto Lucio was sent off for Lobos in the 87th minute.

The game then went to penalties, and if Alfredo Frausto wasn’t quite as heroic as in the quarterfinal shootout (where he made two saves and also scored one himself), he still managed to make his mark.

All five of Puebla’s shooters scored: John Freddy Pajoy, Mario de Luna, Francisco Torres, Luis Loroña and Cuauhtémoc Blanco, although it took Francisco Torres two tries: his first shot was saved, but the assistant ruled the goalkeeper had moved off his line and Paco scored on the retake. Blanco got it in one, but was then yellow carded for his traditional “arrow-shooting” celebration.

For Lobos BUAP, Omar Tejeda, Jorge Ibarra, Diego Jiménez and Ever Guzmán scored before Frausto saved Michel Velázquez’s effort to give Puebla the 5-4 win.

Highlights (including penalty shootout)

Mexico to Call Up Carlos Vela

el triCarlos Vela last played for the Mexican national team in March 2011, and has not featured since due to disagreements with team management, the fans, and FMF.

Vela has repeatedly demonstrated his lack of interest in returning to “El Tri” and has directly requested not to be called up on at least three occasions. In May 2012, he asked “not to be selected for any of the Mexican national teams,” according to Héctor González, and therefore was not a part of either Mexico’s Olympic roster or the senior team that had two World Cup qualifying games that summer. In January 2013, he cited “personal issues” when José de la Torre wanted him on the roster for a World Cup qualifying game against Jamaica that February. And then, after Miguel Herrera took over the national team, Vela released a letter in February of this year stating that he wasn’t ready to be part of the team.

Miguel Herrera has now decided to force the issue. Herrera is now calling him in for Mexico’s two Europe-based November friendlies (vs the Netherlands on Nov. 12 and vs Belarus on Nov. 18).

Should the 25-year-old turn refuse the call up, he could face sanctions from FIFA. According to Annex 1, Article 3, Paragraph 1 of the FIFA Regulations on Status and Transfer of Players, “As a general rule, every player registered with a club is obliged to respond affirmatively when called up by the association he is eligible to represent.” Should the player refuse, Article 6 states “Violations…shall result in the imposition of disciplinary measures.”

Real Sociedad and Carlos Vela are set to receive the call up today, October 27th. If Vela turns it down, he could face a suspension with his club team. He has six days to respond to the call up from Miguel Herrera.