Most of the focus in Mexico this weekend fell on the tasks ahead, not the situations unfolding at home and abroad. El Tri faces a pair of critical World Cup qualifiers against Honduras (Sept. 6 in Mexico City) and the United States (Sept. 10 in Columbus, Ohio). Every event – and particularly the emergence of a key figure off the Manchester United bench on Sunday – functions within that prism given the importance of the matches to come. Read on to learn more about Javier Hernández's appearance at Liverpool, Javier Aquino's breakthrough at Villarreal and all of the weekend action in Liga MX.
The lack of movement around Deadline Day
Most of the activity involving Mexican players – Héctor Herrera and Diego Reyes to FC Porto, Jesus Corona to FC Twente – occurred earlier in the window. The absence of substantive links prompted a series of rumors involving Javier Hernández (Tottenham Hotspur?) and Memo Ochoa (AC Milan? Any willing club in Europe?) to fill the void. The scuttlebutt might have piqued the interest, but it didn't yield the sort of enticing transfer required to close out the window in style.
Javier Aquino grabs his first La Liga goal with high-flying Villarreal
Aquino celebrated his place in José Manuel de la Torre's squad by notching his first goal in the Spanish top flight during Villarreal's 3-0 victory at Osasuna on Friday. His contribution ensured Villarreal snatched a third straight triumph to start the La Liga season. The tricky winger will hope that sort of form carries over when he links up with El Tri this week.
Javier Hernández climbed off the bench to make his first Premier League appearance of the season in Manchester United's 1-0 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday. The late cameo – Chicharito replaced Ryan Giggs for the final 17 minutes of the setback at Anfield – could not have come at a better time with the vital World Cup qualifier against Honduras looming on Friday. Hernández must prove his match fitness to José Manuel de la Torre over the next few days after struggling with injury in the early stages of the campaign, but his potential presence will provide a considerable boost to El Tri's efforts over the next 10 days.
Cruz Azul loses at home...to Querétaro?
La Máquina entered the weekend with 10 points from four matches at Estadio Azul. It somehow completed the weekend with the same point haul after succumbing to a 2-0 defeat to Gallos Blancos on Saturday. Querétaro finds itself firmly entrenched in midtable at the moment, but this sort of match – at home to one of the league's weaker sides – represents exactly the sort of affair top of the table sides must win.
Morelia swarms poor Pachuca
Need justification for Morelia's current perch at the top of Liga MX? Just watch the opening 20 minutes of the 4-1 home victory over Pachuca. Morelia scored three times through three different players – including talismanic forward Héctor Mancilla – to effectively render the final 70 minutes meaningless.
Is Club León for real?
The question – similar to the queries confronted by Atlas during the Clausura – about the ability to stay the course might linger, but León continues to impress nonetheless. Gustavo Matosas' side relied on goals from Mauro Boselli (an astute summer signing from Wigan) and Matías Britos to hand potential title challengers Santos Laguna their first defeat at Estadio Corona. The triumph highlighted León's increasingly compelling credentials and showed the remarkable turnaround engineered in the wake of a poor Clausura campaign.