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Latin America 2741 8 Liga MX 2012-13 season review 31780493 Back on top Back+on+top Latin America

Few would have expected the image makeover the Mexican top flight received to create similar upheaval on the field. And yet, it did: the first full year in the Liga MX era fit the bill as a new power emerged in Tijuana, an old afterthought in Guadalajara pushed into the upper reaches of the Clausura table and the usual heavyweights were made very uncomfortable.


Regular service resumed in the latest Liguilla campaign – one of Club América who defeated city rival Cruz Azul to win the title – without obscuring the entertainment value of the year on the whole. As América emerged as champions by the end of May, the rest of the country can start to reflect on yet another eventful year in domestic football.


-Kyle McCarthy

Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP - Getty Images
Latin America 2741 8 Liga MX 2012-13 season review 31777748 Regional dominance Regional+dominance Latin America

Even in the wake of its domestic struggles in both the Apertura and the Clausura, Monterrey deserves honorable mention for its continued success in the CONCACAF Champions League. Victor Manuel Vucetich's side became the second outfit to win the competition in three consecutive seasons with a rousing comeback against Santos Laguna in May.

Latin America 2741 8 Liga MX 2012-13 season review 31780495 Best ongoing drama - C.D. Guadalajara Best+ongoing+drama+-+C.D.+Guadalajara+ Latin America

The incessant turmoil at C.D. Guadalajara could snap up this gong after most seasons, but this year exceeded even those lavish expectations. Everything from peculiarly-timed managerial changes (Benjamin Galindo replaced the beleaguered John van't Schip mere days before the start of the Clausura) to purported sale prices (strenuously batted away by Jorge Vergara) meandered through the press as Chivas chopped and changed without claiming a Liguilla berth in either campaign

Omar Sabik/ - Getty Images
Latin America 2741 8 Liga MX 2012-13 season review 31780494 Manager of the year - Miguel Herrera Manager+of+the+year+-+Miguel+Herrera+ Latin America

América boss Miguel Herrera molded a genuine unit at a club that tends to accumulate talented players rather than build coherent teams. Instead of frittering away its advantages through internal strife and poor performances, América now churns out results, dispatches some opponents with ease and mounts title challenges under Herrera's guidance. The former Atlante and Monterrey manager will ultimately find himself judged on whether he can deliver the Clausura title as the top remaining seed in the Liguilla, but his ability to guide his side to the top combined record in the Apertura and the Clausura – albeit with plenty of resources at his disposal – warrants plenty of plaudits, too.

Latin America 2741 8 Liga MX 2012-13 season review 31780491 Player of the year - Christian Benítez Player+of+the+year+-+Christian+Ben%26iacute%3Btez Latin America

Birmingham City supporters must be cursing at the potency of their former striker Christian Benítez. The Ecuador international topped the goalscoring charts in both the Apertura and the Clausura to become the first player to win three consecutive scoring titles since the Mexican first division changed to the split season calendar in 1996.


Benítez's pace and power continues to flummox opposing defenses. He misses more chances than most top strikers, but he always works his way into the right positions to pounce on the next opportunity without dropping his head. His consistency – 13 or 14 goals scored in each of the past three tournaments – offers América a reliable touchstone up front, though one must wonder exactly how long he must wait before his Liga MX form (49 goals in 75 matches since joining the Mexico City-based side) earns him another chance in Europe.

Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP - Getty Images
Latin America 2741 8 Liga MX 2012-13 season review 31780492 Club of the year - Tijuana Club+of+the+year+-+Tijuana Latin America

It took half a decade for Club Tijuana to advance through the ranks and climb to the top of Liga MX. Antonio Mohamed's deft stewardship of this compact, counterattacking side guided Tijuana through its first top-flight campaign in 2011-12 and laid the groundwork for the massive leap taken during the Apertura. The comparably modest outfit finished second in the table behind Toluca and then marched through the Liguilla to claim its first league title.


The Apertura triumph exerted a significant toll on the Clausura efforts as Mohamed balanced Copa Libertadores demands with Liga MX concerns. For a club of its size, Tijuana has exceeded every reasonable expectation set in front of it. The trick now is to figure out a way to sustain this success next season with the future of Mohamed and several of his players in doubt.


Gregory Bull - AP Images
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