Mexican League Preview Week 6: What to watch/not watch with some Chicago Fire focus on the side

Is the Humberto Suazo saga dragging Monterrey down?

Week six of the Mexican Apertura is going to feature some key games in the fight to stay in La Primera. Some teams all of you may be familiar with are in really bad shape while others are mid-table waiting for that spark to put them at the top. After the break, we give a short preview of when and where you can watch the games this weekend along with a Fire/MLS connection where applicable.

Friday, February 10

Monarcas Morelia v Santos Laguna - Estadio Morelos, Morelia 8:10pm KO, TV Azteca America/FOX Deportes

Monarcas, the club the Fire use to have an alliance with, is lingering mid-table. Tomas Boy has a pretty good squad that's just mediocre. Last week could have been a turning point in their season with the come from behind victory at The Omnilife to beat Chivas. Miguel Sabah was the hero scoring one in the 53rd to tie and in the 83rd to win. They're facing the top team, Santos. Benjamin Galindo has them playing well. The team has a pronged attack with Darwin Quintero, Christian Suarez, and Oribe Peralta. They also have Herculez Gomez (an old Fire foe) on the bench, who has had the history of scoring off the bench with his previous teams.

Watch or Avoid: Watch

Saturday, February 11

Jaguares v Queretaro - Estadio Zoque, Tuxla Gutierrez, Chiapas 5:00pm KO FOX Deportes

These two teams are in the midst of the relegation battle. Queretaro is in 3rd place and Jaguares is in 4th place in the relegation table. During the 2011 Clausura, Liborio Sanchez and Carlos Bueno were the catalyst to the great Queretaro season. They lost Carlos Bueno and they've dipped. Jaguares are just bad with one win and three losses. Jackson Martinez is their best player and leads the team with 2 goals.

Watch or Avoid: Avoid at all cost

Monterrey v Chivas Guadalajara - Estadio Tecnologico, Monterrey 5:00pm KO Telefutura

Monterrey are in 7th place. Could this run of play be because of the drama going on with Humberto Suazo? Aldo de Nigris hasn't been a presence like he usually is. Walter Ayovi has been picking up the slack but he needs help. Will Suazo start this week?

Chivas. Oh Chivas. They're the worst team in the league. One tie against Pumas and 3 losses. 2 GOALS ALL SEASON. The passing game isn't there. Hector Reynoso keeps losing his head and hurting Chivas. Mid-week, they were barely able to get a tie with Deportivo Quito at home in Copa Libertadores group play. As a Club America fan, I take great pleasure in seeing them play this badly.

Watch or Avoid: Watch

Pachuca v Estudiantes Tecos - Estadio Hidalgo, Pachuca 7:00pm KO Telefutura

One of the historic clubs and the only Mexican team to win the Copa Sudamericana, Pachuca is coming off an exciting come from behind win against Toluca (being down one goal at the 17 second mark and down 3 goals at the 17th minute made that comeback 4 goal rally great). They get the second worst team this Apertura, Estudiantes Tecos. Tecos are the leaders in the relegation table and they're dead set on staying there.

Pachuca has Jose Francisco Torres who plays for the United States national team and Tecos has Eduardo Lillingston, our friend who scored an own goal at Toyota Park in the 2009 Fire v Chivas USA game. They also have Dallas FC reject Dulio Davino playing on their back line. And you can blame Tecos for producing current Sounder, Sammy Ochoa.

Watch or Avoid: Avoid

San Luis v Tigres - Estadio Lastras, San Luis Potosi 7:00pm KO Galavision

Club America's little brother, San Luis has been hit or miss this season. Started off with two wins but are currently on a three game losing streak. The addition of Cesar Villaluz, member of the first U-17 World Cup winning team, hasn't helped spark the midfield while Wilmer Aguirre and Alfredo Moreno haven't been putting anything into the net. Tigres are the reigning champions of the Clausura. Our tormentors in 2009 have an army of supporters that follow them all over Mexico (and the US) and it probably won't be different this Saturday. Coming off a win at the Azteca versus America, they should come in guns a blazing with Hector Mancilla, Lucas Lobos, and Alan Pulido handling the attack. Injuries are starting to pop up but Tigres are a deep team.

Watch or Avoid: Watch

Atlas v Club America - Estadio Jalisco, Guadalajara 8:45pm KO Telefutura

Atlas is another team full of history that has produced current Fire midfielder Pavel Pardo, current New York Red Bulls midfielder Rafael Marquez, and many more great players. An academy to envy with the talent they produce has fallen on hard times. Relegation has been something they have flirted with for the last few years. Even Wilman Conde and Gaston Puerari haven't helped their cause. They'll be hosting another historic team, Club America, in front of a sold out crowd.

Club America has been alright by their lofty standards (granted this has been a few seasons running). 6th in the standings, they have a team full of talent that sometimes just doesn't click. Whether it's the horrible free kicks from Daniel Montenegro or the lack of goal scoring from Vicente Matias Vuoso or the quiet season from Christina Bermudez, it's made this season a head scratcher. Christian Benitez has been the offense with 4 goals and the biggest threat. Can this game get Club America firing on all cylinders and finally give them that 11th championship?

Watch or Avoid: Watch

Atlante v Toluca - Estadio Andres Quintana Roo, Cancun 9:00pm KO Galavision

Atlante has been a surprise this season. 3 points behind Santos, they face a demoralized Toluca team that lost after holding a 3 goal lead after 17 minutes against Pachuca in Toluca. Osvaldo Martnez in the midfield is one of the players to watch. He already has 4 goals this season, only 1 goal behind Ivan Alonso who happens to be on Toluca. The Uruguayan was signed from Españyol last season and hasn't disappointed. Unfortunately, Toluca has been mediocre at best. Atlante has to contain Mr. Alonso to make to win this game.

Watch or Avoid: Watch

Sunday, February 12

Pumas v Puebla - Estadio Olimpico Universitario, Mexico City 12:00pm KO Univision

Well, for the Section 8 folks, do I really need to tell you who the Pumas are fan wise? Brings back bad memories which led to changes when it comes to away fans at Toyota Park. Putting that aside, this season, Pumas have been sub par. Losing 2, tying 2, and only winning 1 against Morelia, they're looking to kick start their season against Puebla who are in some trouble. They're not too away from the drop to the Segunda. Fire fans will be a familiar with one of the Puebla players, DaMarcus Beasley. A fan favorite still here in Chicago, he has one goal to his name this season and will likely start in the mid against Pumas. Let's see how ready Juan Carlos Osorio will have his squad ready to play in front of the rowdy crowd.

Watch or Avoid: Watch

Tijuana v Cruz Azul - Estadio Caliente, Tijuana, 2:00pm KO TV Azteca America

Xolos (short for Xoloitzcuintles) are having a decent season that's making it look like their stay in the top flight will last at least one more season. This team is quite interesting from the owner Jorge Hank (owner for Caliente Casinos and an accused corrupt businessman) to the city of Tijuana and their desire for their Xolos to play in La Primera. A player to watch is Jose Sand. Argentine that is a scoring threat. What most people don't know is that 3 Americans play for Xolos; Edgar Castillo, Joe Corona, and Greg Garza. Castillo and Corona are starters game in, game out. But Garza has only seen playing time once so far.

They face off against a team, that can be said to be right behind Chivas and Club America in popularity, Cruz Azul. However, the best way to describe Cruz Azul in the last few years to someone that might not be into Mexican soccer is that they are the Revs of Mexico. They lost in finals for the league and CONCACAF Champions League. Cruz Azul is having another strong season with Emanuel Villa leading the way. Omar Bravo was signed from KC this off season to bring in another scoring threat and to help in Copa Libertadores.

Watch or Avoid: Watch

What games catch your attention? Is there a team you love or hate in Mexico? Any players you would love to see wear the Fire jersey? Does the Fire alliance with Club America (or past alliance with Morelia) make you want to watch the games they play in?

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