It's almost time for Week 10 of the 2019 Clausura! Before Liga MX returns with its latest set of highly anticipated matches, here are three things to watch out for:
Clasico Regio: Monterrey vs. Tigres
It doesn't get much bigger than this. A crosstown rivalry clash between the two title favorites will be one of the defining moments of the Clausura.
Sitting in the top two spots of the Liga MX table, Tigres and Monterrey have so far been the most impressive teams in 2019. Thanks to a reliable backline and a six-game winning streak, Tigres are currently sitting in first place on 22 points. Although Monterrey are one point behind their local rivals, Los Rayados' attack remains the most dominant in the league.
At the risk of overlooking some of the X's and O's of the Clasico, there is very little between the two rivals who both boast an embarrassment of riches on the pitch. Even if Tigres striker Andre-Pierre Gignac isn't 100 percent fit and available this week, the upcoming match will still be a star-studded affair that will feature many of the league's top talents.
There's also much more to the spectacle then what is solely happening on the field. When it comes to passion and fervor, few supporters in Mexican soccer are as dedicated as those rooting for Tigres and Monterrey. Despite the fact that this passion sometimes leads to scuffles and fights amongst supporters, the scene at the Estadio BBVA Bancomer will not be one to be missed.
The beginning of a new La Volpe era for Toluca
Ricardo La Volpe is back! After a short stint as head coach of Egypt's Pyramid FC in 2018, the Argentine has returned to Liga MX as the new manager of Toluca.
Although La Volpe, one of the league's most prominent figures, is no stranger to the league, he'll still have an immense amount of work to do with Los Diablos Rojos. Toluca are a mess right now. An early exit in the CONCACAF Champions League and sitting in 14th place in the league table is far from ideal for a squad that initially had the potential to be one of the strongest in Liga MX. New signings have had difficulties adapting to the league, the attack has been dismal, and the defense has been fairly average at best.
The good news for both La Volpe and Toluca is that it looks like things are already starting to turn around. Last week's 3-1 win over Veracruz -- which was one day before La Volpe's official presentation -- was the first victory for Toluca in all competitions since January. The manager has also had previous success with Los Diablos Rojos. Back in 2001 and 2002, La Volpe helped carry the team to three playoff runs in three seasons. Now, he'll have the responsibility of leading them back into the top eight after a horrendous start to the Clausura.
La Volpe's first test? A difficult away match against fifth-placed Necaxa this Saturday night.
Can Pareja lead resurgent Tijuana to first-ever win at Pachuca?
Before the season started, there were plenty of doubts regarding new Xolos manager Oscar Pareja. With no previous experience in Liga MX and only a few weeks to prepare for the Clausura, it was difficult to imagine that the former FC Dallas coach would immediately find much success with a squad that finished in 15th last season.
With some help from a restored attack, Tijuana has surpassed all expectations. A current position of fourth in the league table and a place in the quarterfinals of the Copa MX has caught even the most optimistic of Tijuana fans off guard. Benefitting from Pareja's leadership on the sidelines, Xolos are also on an eight-game unbeaten streak in all competitions.
Will Pareja extend that streak to nine this Saturday against Pachuca?
Even though they've have had some serious defensive issues this season, Los Tuzos have remained quite strong at home. In the last 11 league games at the Estadio Hidalgo, Pachuca have collected eight victories and three draws. When looking at their previous Copa MX and Liga MX matches, Xolos have also never gained an away win over Pachuca.
After his early success with Tijuana, will Pareja be the first Xolos manager to steal three points at the Hidalgo?