Liga MX Apertura 2023: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

With the Liga MX Apertura final upon us, we take a look back at drama-filled season and examine the league’s biggest surprises and disappointments. 

The 77th edition of the Liga MX Apertura is at its conclusion, with Club America and Tigres set to meet in the final. Being two of Mexico’s most successful clubs, the clash is highly anticipated and should be yet another intense battle between the two sides. However, we first wanted to take a look back at how we got here.

This wasn’t quite your average Liga MX season. Between Leagues Cup and the regular season, this five-month stretch left a lot to digest.

We decided to look at the good, the bad, and the ugly from July to December. We saw some surprise runs along with a few absolutely catastrophic seasons, and no two clubs had the same story to tell.

The Good

Atlético San Luis

Atlético San Luis had a historic season. It was the first time the club reached the semifinals in club history, and only two teams — America and Tigres — scored more goals than Atléti.

Players like Vitinho, Léo, and Unai Bilbao were instrumental pieces for the team, scoring 17 goals in total. Despite their irregularity in wins and losses, San Luis fans can be proud of their team.

The Return of UNAM

Pumas is one of the most decorated teams in Mexico. Having one of the biggest fanbases in the country, their recent seasons have failed to live up to the prestige the badge carries. However, this season felt like Pumas could have taken the silverware back to UNAM. Subsequently, Mexican winger Cesar ‘El Chino’ Huerta had a triumphant return to form. His nine-goal tally and performances got him on Jimmy Lozano’s radar for the Mexican national team.

The pinnacle of Pumas’ season came in their two-legged win against Chivas in the quarterfinals. Antonio Mohamed’s savvy play style has given Pumas fans plenty of reason for optimism next season.

Club De Fútbol Monterrey 

Hot take: Monterrey had a good season. That might sound crazy considering they crashed out against San Luis, a matchup where they were heavy favorites, but their regular season second-place finish showed that they continue to be one of the best squads in the Americas. Dealing with injuries like Sergio Canales was a huge blow, but their squad on paper is enough to strike fear into any team’s heart.

The Bad

Santos Laguna

Los Laguneros had so much potential to become a wonderful underdog story this season. Despite finishing in ninth place and narrowly making it into Liga MX’s new play-in round, there was plenty of talent throughout the club’s roster. Harold Preciado and Juan Brunetta combined for a total of 20 goals and 12 assists alone, which is why Santos Laguna’s crash out in their second play-in match against Leon was so disappointing.

With Brunetta almost set to be shipped off to Tigres, there is no certainty that Santos can recapture their prowess next season.


pachuca apertura 2023

Pachuca have been at the forefront of Mexican fútbol for the last decade. Under the ownership of Grupo Pachuca, they have produced notable names like Hirving Lozano, Hector Herrera, Kevin Alvarez, and Erick Gutierrez. Even though none of these players play with Los Tuzos now, their squad is always full of players that can elevate the team to the next level. However, the void left by Luis Chavez has become apparent and their performances left them out of the playoffs.

Chivas Guadalajara

Chivas made the Clausura 2023 final. Despite losing to Tigres, head coach Vjelko Paunović seemed to have steered Guadalajara into a new era. Players like Erick Gutierrez, Victor Guzman, and Oscar Whalley were sure to get Chivas their long-awaited 13th title. That did not happen.

Chivas were inconsistent all season, and their quarterfinals defeat against Pumas saw the team become a victim of the scandals that plagued them throughout the 2023 Apertura campaign.

The Ugly(est)

Cruz Azul

cruz azul apertura 2023

No other team this season has had disaster fall before them like Cruz Azul. With Ricardo Ferretti gone after Leagues Cup, Joaquin Moreno took the helm for Los Cementeros. Nevertheless, the nightmare continued. Despite their horrible start to the season, Cruz Azul players decided to continue to party during the week and after losses. This created a huge rift between fans, players, and the board.

The result? 16th place.

A team that just three years ago achieved the impossible with their first league title in over 20 years returned to their old selves. Or, as everyone else calls it, a cruzazulearla.

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