Goal.com's Apertura 2012 Liga MX season preview

Starting July 20, the Mexican Primera will kick off its 69th full season of play, this time, rebranded as the newly-formed Liga MX. Goal.com previews the upcoming season will a full breakdown of every roster move, key player and possible starting XI for all 18 teams in Mexico.

Defending champs SantosLaguna will face harsh challenges from the rest of the league, including CONCACAF Champions League holders Monterrey, big spending Pachuca, as well as classic contenders América, Chivas, Cruz Azul and UNAM.

 

 América

SIGNINGS DEPARTURES
Efrain Juarez (DEF, Celtic)
Rubens Sambueza (FW, Estudiantes Tecos)
Adrian Aldrete (DEF, Morelia)
Oscar Rojas (DEF, Pachuca)*
Jose Martinez (MID, Necaxa)*
Luigiani Gallardo (FW, Necaxa)*
Vicente Matias Vuoso (FW, Atlas)

PLAYER TO WATCH
Christian Benitez. The Ecuadorian striker was the last tournament's top scorer and is rumored to have European teams lining up for his potential signing.
POSSIBLE STARTING XI
Muñoz

Aldrete-D. Reyes-Mosquera-Valenzuela-Aguilar

Juarez-Molina

Bermudez-Montenegro

Benitez

Manager: Miguel Herrera (MEX)

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 Atlante
SIGNINGS DEPARTURES
Oscar Rojas (MF, UNAM)*
Jorge Villalpando (GK, Atlas)
Jonathan Bornstein (DF, UANL)*
Ignacio Torres (MF, San Luis)
Esteban Paredes (FW, Colo Colo)
Valdo (MF, Levante)
Jorge Hernandez (MF, Tijuana)*
Mario Ortiz (MF, Puebla)*
PLAYER TO WATCH
Esteban Paredes. The former Colo-Colo man was one of the earliest big signings in the transfer market. Atlante is an expert in digging up hidden gems in South America, though Paredes is a well-established talent.
POSSIBLE STARTING XI
Villalpando

Bornstein-Guagua-Venegas-Muñoz-Guerrero

Cuevas-Rojas-Valdo

Paredes-Fonseca

Manager: Ricardo La Volpe (ARG)

__________________________________________________________________________

Atlas
SIGNINGS DEPARTURES
Hector Mancilla (FW, UANL)
Vicente Matias Vuoso (FW, América)
Luis Bolaños (MF, Internacional)*
Sergio Ponce (MF, Chivas)*
Luis Alonso Sandoval (MF, Necaxa)*
Jorge Villalpando (GK, Atlante)
Alonso Zamora (DF, UANL)
Jesús Paganoni (MF, Toluca)*
Saúl Villalobos (MF, León)*
Efrén Mendoza (MF, Pachuca)*
Giancarlo Maldonado (FW, Mineros)*
PLAYER TO WATCH
Hector Mancilla. Atlas' offense was the worst in the league last season, meaning that the Chilean signing with 94 goals to his name in Mexican football will be tasked with scoring more than the seven goals the entire team produced in the Clausura 2012.
POSSIBLE STARTING XI
Pinto

Robles-Cufré-Erpen-Ponce

Sandoval-Ayala-Torres/Santos-Bolaños

Mancilla-Vuoso

Manager: Juan Carlos Chavez (MEX)

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 Jaguares de Chiapas
SIGNINGS DEPARTURES
Jesús Castillo (DF, Unattached)
Leiton Jiménez (DF, Independiente de Medellín)
José Castillo (MF, Durgapur)
Elgabry Rangel (MF, Estudiantes Tecos)*
Jhon Córdoba (FW, Envigado)
Antonio Salazar (FW, Guadalajara)*
Jackson Martínez (FW, Porto)
Jorge Daniel Hernández (MF, Pachuca)
Híber Ruiz (MF, Puebla)*
Efraín Dimayuga (MF, Puebla)*
PLAYER TO WATCH
Franco Arizala. Jackson Martínez has left the southern squad and left a void up front that fellow Colombian Franco Arizala will be tasked to fill. He will be aided by fellow countrymen and teammates Luis Gabriel Rey and Jhon Cordoba.
POSSIBLE STARTING XI
Hernandez

Corral-Jiménez-Martínez-Corona

Andrade-Noriega-Rodríguez-Esqueda

Arizala-Córdoba/Rey

Manager: José Guadalupe Cruz (MEX)

__________________________________________________________________________

 Cruz Azul
SIGNINGS DEPARTURES
Luis Perea (DF, Atlético Madrid)
Mariano Pavone (FW, Lanús)
Pablo Barrera (MF, West Ham United)
Emmanuel Villa (FW, UNAM)
Edixon Perea (FW, Changchun Yatai)
PLAYER TO WATCH
Pablo Barrera. The now former West Ham United winger needs a stellar tournament to recoup the form that launched him to European football and to El Tri stardom. He will have help from one of the best midfields in the Liga MX.
POSSIBLE STARTING XI
Corona

Pinto-Perea-Dominguez/Araujo-Flores

Barrera-Gimenez-Castro-Aquino

Pavone-Bravo

Manager: Guillermo Vazquez (MEX)

__________________________________________________________________________

 Chivas
SIGNINGS DEPARTURES
Luis Ernesto Pérez (MF, Monterrey)
Rafael Márquez Lugo (FW, Morelia)
Dionicio Escalante (DF, Queretaro)*
Alberto Medina (MF, Pachuca)
Jonny Magallón (DF, León)
Edgar Mejía (DF, León)*
Antonio Salazar (FW, Chiapas)*
Hugo Hernández (GK, Puebla)*
Jorge Mora (MF, Correcaminos)*
PLAYER TO WATCH
Marco Fabian. The best (and most mercurial) midfielder in the Liga MX will join Chivas fresh off the Olympics, which means that the rest of the team needs to avoid the early-season debacle that hindered success in the Clausura 2012.
POSSIBLE STARTING XI
Michel

de Luna-Reynoso-Álvarez-Ponce

Pérez-Fabián-Enríquez/Araujo

Torres-Márquez Lugo-Arellano

Manager: John Van't Schip (NED)

__________________________________________________________________________


León
SIGNINGS DEPARTURES
Christian Martinez (GK, Estudiantes Tecos)*
Jonny Magallón (DF, Chivas)
Javier Muñoz Mustafá (DF, Pachuca)*
Juan Calderón (MF, Toluca)*
Edgar Mejía (MF, Chivas)*
Edgar Pacheco (MF, UANL)*
Juan Carlos Rojas (MF, Pachuca)*
Saúl Villalobos (MF, Atlas)*
Othoniel Arce (MF, Monterrey)*
Matías Britos (FW, Defensor Sporting)
None
PLAYER TO WATCH
Matías Britos. Newly promoted teams usually have a hard time establishing an offensive presence in the Liga MX, which is why the Uruguay U-23 striker is an enticing signing for the Panzas Verdes.
POSSIBLE STARTING XI
Martínez

Villalobos-Muñoz-Magallón-Rojas

Loboa-Rojas-Montes-Burbano

Maz-Britos

Manager: Gustavo Matosas (URU)

__________________________________________________________________________

Monterrey
SIGNINGS DEPARTURES
Edgar Solís (MF, Guadalajara)* Othoniel Arce (FW, León)*
Luis Pérez (MF, Guadalajara)
Arturo Ortiz (GK, León)
David Stringel (DF, Querétaro)
PLAYER TO WATCH
Humberto Suazo. After falling short in last season's final, the Chilean will return to head an offense that is now without long-time captain Luis Pérez. However, his partnership with striker Aldo de Nigris will be enriched by a younger, faster Angel Reyna taking the reins in the central midfield.
POSSIBLE STARTING XI
Orozco

Chávez-Basanta-Mier-Meza

Cardozo-Reyna-Zavala-Delgado

Suazo-de Nigris

Manager: Victor Manuel Vucetich (MEX)

__________________________________________________________________________

 Morelia
SIGNINGS DEPARTURES
Fernando Navarro (DF, UANL)
Jefferson Montero (MF, Villarreal)
Carlos Adrian Morales (MF, Santos Laguna)
Rodrigo Salinas (MF, Puebla)*
Francisco Torres (MF, Santos Laguna)*
Carlos Ochoa (FW, Santos Laguna)*
Antonio Pedroza (FW, Crystal Palace)*
Rafael Marquez Lugo (FW, Chivas)
Jorge Gastelum (MF, Puebla)*
Edison Toloza (FW, Puebla)*
Felipe de Jesus Ayala (MF, Correcaminos)
Adrian Aldrete (DF, América)
Edgar Lugo (MF, Santos Laguna)
Marvin Cabrera (DF, Toluca)*
PLAYER TO WATCH
Jefferson Montero. Coming on as a replacement for Edgar Lugo in the midfield, the pacey Ecuadorian will offer excitment on the wing following a bumpy European trajectory. His job will be to supply offense via runs and crosses to striker Miguel Sabah.
POSSIBLE STARTING XI
Vilar

Olvera-Romero-Huiqui-Pérez-Razo

Rojas-Ramírez-Montero

Sabah-Ochoa/Pedroza

Manager: Ruben Omar Romano (ARG)

__________________________________________________________________________

 Pachuca
SIGNINGS DEPARTURES
Paulo da Silva (DF, Zaragoza)
Óscar Rojas (DF, América)*
Jorge Hernández (MF, Chiapas)
Efrén Mendoza (MF, Atlas)*
Néstor Calderón (MF, Toluca)
Alberto Medina (MF, Chivas)
Nery Castillo (FW, Aris)
Raul Tamudo (FW, Rayo Vallecano)
Juan Carlos Rojas (MF, León)*
Carlos Rodriguez (MF, Toluca)
Edy Brambila (FW, Toluca)
Javier Muñoz (DF, León)*
Jaime Ayoví (FW, Al Nasr)*
Edgar Benitez (FW, Toluca)*
PLAYER TO WATCH
Raul Tamudo. Trainers and backroom staff are already making excuses for Nery Castillo, telling media he'll be at full strength in about three months. Meanwhile, Spanish veteran Tamudo is ready to go, with more than 150 goals in La Liga filling out his resume.
POSSIBLE STARTING XI
Cota

Rojas-da Silva-Vidrio-Arreola

Calderón-Herrera-Torres-Medina

Castillo-Tamudo

__________________________________________________________________________

 Puebla
SIGNINGS DEPARTURES
Hugo Hernandez (GK, Puebla)
Herminio Miranda (DF, Nacional)
Matias Abelairas (MF, Vasco da Gama)
Diego de Buen (MF, UNAM)*
Efrain Dimayuga (MF, Chiapas)*
Hiber Ruiz (MF, Chiapas)*
Matias Alustiza (FW, Deportivo Quito)
Mario Ortiz (FW, Atlante)
Isaac Romo (FW, Queretaro)
Edison Toloza (FW, Morelia)
Gonzalo Pineda (MF, Queretaro)
Luis Angel Landin (FW, Queretaro)
Luis Garcia (FW, UNAM)
Rodrigo Salinas (MF, Morelia)
PLAYER TO WATCH
DaMarcus Beasley. With Luis Garcia's exit, the American becomes Puebla's most experienced player on the offensive end and will be integral to Puebla's revamped attack.
POSSIBLE STARTING XI
Alvarez

Rincon-Miranda-Juarez-Duran

Abelairas-Gastelum-Polo-Beasley

Alustiza-Toloza

__________________________________________________________________________

 Querétaro
SIGNINGS DEPARTURES
Carlos Bueno (FW, San Lorenzo)
Juan Castillo (GK, Liverpool)
Daniel Alcantar (DF, San Luis)*
Dionicio Escalante (DF, Chivas)
Jorge Valencia (DF, UANL)
Diego de la Torre (MF, Toluca)
Diego Guastavino (MF, Brann)
Gonzalo Pineda (MF, Puebla)
Luis Angel Landin (FW, Puebla)
Isaac Romo (FW, Puebla)*
Diego Vera (FW, Liverpool)
Juan Carlos Enriquez (FW, Santos Laguna)*
Liborio Sanchez (GK, Chivas)
Emilio Lopez (DF, San Luis)*
Jose Perez (MF, Cobreloa)
PLAYER TO WATCH
Carlos Bueno. The Uruguayan forward was sensational in his first go-round with Gallos, now he will need to conjure up more offensive fireworks to avoid relegation for the point-starved Queretaro team.
POSSIBLE STARTING XI
Castillo

Martínez-Cortés-Aguirre-Escalante

Pineda-Guastavino-López-Oviedo

Bueno-Landín/Vera

Manager: Angel Comizzo (ARG)

__________________________________________________________________________

 San Luis
SIGNINGS DEPARTURES
Felix Araujo (DF, Toluca)*
Andres Cadavid (DF, Deportivo Cali)
Jose Antonio Castro (DF, UANL)*
Everton Bilher (MF, Regatas)
Emilio Lopez (MF, Queretaro)
Emmanuel Cerda (FW, UANL)*
Sebastian Fernandez (FW, Danubio)
Santiago Trellez (FW, Independiente Medellín)
Ignacio Torres (MF, Atlante)
Daniel Alcantar (DF, Queretaro)*
Alfredo Moreno (FW, Tijuana)
Pablo Aguilar (DF, Tijuana)*
Anibal Matellan (DF, Argentinos Juniors)
Dieter Vargas (FW, UANL)
PLAYER TO WATCH
Cesar Villaluz. Put up or shut up time for the one-time U-17 starlet. Villaluz will need to get the ball to strikers Wilmer Aguirre and Sebastian Fernandez for the San Luis offense to make an impact.
POSSIBLE STARTING XI
O. Perez

Castro-Cadavid-Orozco-Bilher

Paredes-Pereyra-Velasco-Villaluz

Aguirre-Fernández

Manager: Sergio Bueno (MEX)

__________________________________________________________________________

 Santos Laguna
SIGNINGS DEPARTURES
Oswaldo Alanis (DF, Estudiantes Tecos)
Edgar Lugo (MF, Morelia)
Walter Sandoval (FW, Estudiantes Tecos)
Carlos Ochoa (FW, Morelia)*
Jaime Toledo (MF, Veracruz)*
Carlos Adrian Morales (MF, Morelia)
Juan Pablo Santiago (DF, Tijuana)
Juan Carlos Enriquez (FW, Queretaro)*
PLAYER TO WATCH
Oribe Peralta. The former Jaguares and Monterrey striker cemented himself among Mexico's elite with a stellar Clausura 2012 that ended in Santos' fourth league title. Following the Olympics, he will once again be the Guerreros' main scoring threat.
POSSIBLE STARTING XI
Sanchez

Estrada-Baloy-Galindo-Alanís

Lugo-Crosas/Ludueña-Rodríguez

Quintero/Gomez-Peralta-Suárez

Manager: Benjamin Galindo (MEX)

__________________________________________________________________________

 Tijuana
SIGNINGS DEPARTURES
Pablo Aguilar (DF, Sportivo Luqueño)
Luis Angel Garcia (MF, Veracruz)
Jorge Hernandez (MF, Atlante)
Fidel Martinez (MF, Deportivo Quito)
Diego Olsina (MF, Correcaminos)
Cristian Pellerano (MF, Independiente)
Alfredo Moreno (FW, San Luis)*
Raul Nava (FW, Toluca)*
Egidio Arevalo (MF, Palermo)
Leandro Fernandez (FW, Defensa y Justicia)
Jose Sand (FW, Racing)
PLAYER TO WATCH
Joe Corona. Egidio Arevalo will leave a huge hole in the Xolos' defensive midfield unit, but a more offensive-minded middle of the pitch will lead to more opportunities for the USA's U-23 standout.
POSSIBLE STARTING XI
Saucedo

Castillo-Gandolfi-Santiago-Aguilar-Ruiz/Nuñez

Corona-Arce-Martínez

Moreno-Riascos

Manager: Antonio Mohamed (ARG)

__________________________________________________________________________

Toluca
SIGNINGS DEPARTURES
Marvin Cabrera (DF, Morelia)*
Jesus Paganoni (MF, Atlas)*
Carlos Rodriguez (MF, Pachuca)
Lucas Silva (MF, Sinaloa)
Wilson Tiago (MF, Internacional)
Edgar Benitez (FW, Pachuca)*
Edy Brambila (FW, Pachuca)
Juan Carlos Cacho (FW, UNAM)
Martin Romagnoli (MF, UNAM)*
Nestor Calderon (MF, Pachuca)
Diego de la Torre (MF, Queretaro)*
Raul Nava (FW, Tijuana)*
Aureliano Torres (DF, Peñarol)
Ivan Alonso (FW, Unattached)
PLAYER TO WATCH
Sinha. Striker Ivan Alonso has left the Red Devils, meaning aging playmaker Sinha will have a bigger responsibility in the coming tournament. Does he still have enough left in the tank to make a difference?
POSSIBLE STARTING XI
Talavera

Cabrera-Novaretti-Dueñas-de la Torre

Silva-Rodriguez-Rios

Sinha

Benítez-Cacho

Manager: Enrique Meza (MEX)

__________________________________________________________________________

 UANL
SIGNINGS DEPARTURES
Alonso Zamora (DF, Atlas)
Luis Garcia Fernandez (FW, Zaragoza)*
Taufic Guarch (FW, Estudiantes Tecos)*
Henry Lopez (FW, EC Noroeste)
Dieter Vargas (FW, San Luis)
Jonathan Bornstein (DF, Atlante)*
Hector Mancilla (FW, Atlas)
Fernando Navarro (DF, Morelia)*
Edgar Pacheco (MF, Leon)*
Lampros Kontogiannis (DF, América)
Jorge Valencia (DF, Queretaro)*
Manuel Asprilla (MF, Tauro)*
Emmanuel Cerda (FW, San Luis)*
PLAYER TO WATCH
Lucas Lobos. Possibly the finest playmaker in the entire league, Lobos will have new pieces around him to facilitate his job as the link between midfield and forwards. Luis Garcia will be an interesting addition to a team that's already a title contender.
POSSIBLE STARTING XI
Palos

Torres Nilo-Juninho-Ayala-Jiménez

Álvarez-Salcido-Lobos-Hernández

Fernández-Pulido

Manager: Ricardo Ferretti (BRA)

__________________________________________________________________________

 UNAM
SIGNINGS DEPARTURES
Luis Garcia (FW, Puebla)
Martin Romagnoli (MF, Toluca)*
Emmanuel Villa (FW, Cruz Azul)
Jaime Lozano (MF, Morelia)*
Diego de Buen (MF, Puebla)*
Juan Carlos Cacho (FW, Toluca)
Oscar Rojas (MF, Atlante)*
PLAYER TO WATCH
Javier Cortés. UNAM's pacey winger will start play after the Olympics conclude, but there's no doubt that until that happens, Pumas will miss the way he opens up the pitch for others up front. He'll be a big cog in UNAM's success - if he's not sold to Europe before the transfer deadline.
POSSIBLE STARTING XI
A. Palacios

Velarde-Verón-M.Palacios-Fuentes

Orrantía/Bravo-Romagnoli-Lozano-Cortés

García-Villa

__________________________________________________________________________

* Denotes loan agreement.
Players in bold are new additions to the team within the starting XI.

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