Pachuca’s Liga MX title showcases Mexico’s next-gen stars

After watching Pachuca lift the Liga MX’s 2022 Apertura title on Sunday, one can’t help but draw comparisons to the last time. Los Tuzos won the title of top Mexican in 2016. More than six years ago, this script was remarkably similar.

Both stories have the Uruguayan manager of Montevideo (Diego Alonso then, Guillermo Almada now) using an effective style of play, a solid foundation during the regular season (8W-6D-3L and points) 30 in 2016, 9W-5D-3L and 32 points in 2022) and most importantly, a balanced roster that featured the school’s most promising players.

Well-known in Mexico for producing some of the country’s finest – which led to a collaboration announced in August with talented architects Ajax — Los Tuzos has thrived in the past few years with young talent such as Hirving Lozano, Erick Gutierrez and Rodolfo Pizarro taking positions as key players. Before they became household names, the trio were up-and-coming stars who were given starting roles by Alonso as the team worked their way to the end of the 2016 Clausura against capitalisers. more in Monterrey.

Gutierrez, who was only 20 years old at the time, was wearing the captain’s armband on his first leg. Next to him, Lozano (20) and Pizarro (22) were important with their attacking efforts which finally pushed them further. Los Rayados and in a 2-1 aggregate result secured the Clausura championship.

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For Lozano and Gutierrez, a move to Europe followed, with the former now at Napoli and the latter at PSV Eindhoven. Pizarro stayed in North America but increased his stock with other league players and individual awards such as an appearance in the CONCACAF Champions League Best XI in 2018 and an appearance in the Liga MX Best XI in Clausura 2019.

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Each of Mexico has 30 caps, these three players are success stories from the school of Pachuca. In last week’s finale, it was easy to see Tuzos prodigies who could be the next light from Liga MX.

In the middle of the midfield, there was plenty of skill from 23-year-old Erick Sanchez. He shone as one of the best players in the 8-2 defeat of Toluca in the final, Sanchez covered an amazing area with his intervention in defense and play. After making his senior debut with Mexico in the summer of 2021, the midfielder is set to take over for the World Cup this November.

Behind him at left-back, 21-year-old Mexican Mauricio Isais has been a revelation at Pachuca with his ability to run dangerously while providing valuable problems at the back. Discovered in 2017 by Alianza, the largest soccer program in the United States for Latino players, the Texan now has the Liga MX title in hand, the league’s final goal and an upcoming invitation to practice with Mexico before the World Cup.

Pachuca defender Kevin Alvarez has also become a key member of the XI. Often running down the right flank, the 23-year-old from Colima was a constant threat to Toluca, and looked forward. El TriThe defender is a possible player for the national team of Qatar.

The list goes on when you look away from Pachuca’s school set-up and the full roster, and depending on how things are going in the transfer market this winter – TUDN reports on Sunday that foreign teams are they are looking at sportsman Luis Chavez – their latest title could be there. is proving to be the catalyst for the next big thing in Mexican soccer. However, producing talent with exciting potential is only part of the equation for Los Tuzos.

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Although providing the right platform for the players remains a constant for the club in the 21st century, another aspect of the game requires a coach who gives opportunities to youngsters and finds a good deal with names. with foreign experience and contributions. Since the end of 2021, Almada has been the perfect manager.

“It speaks of the effort we have made this year since the arrival of Almada, who has introduced a strong and powerful footballing concept,” said defender Gustavo Cabral after securing Sunday’s win.

Since the end of last year, the expressive and enthusiastic coach has used an attacking and direct style of play that has given important features to the school selection. Surrounding them in a 4-2-3-1 formation, veteran players such as Romario Ibarra, Oscar Murillo, Oscar Ustari and Golden Boot winner Nicolas Ibañez are the glue that has kept the performances consistent.

In the Clausura season last year, Almada and his squad qualified for the finals of Liga MX, but came up short after narrowly losing to Atlas. Months later, they returned and made a statement about their defeat in Toluca.

“We are going to take Pachuca where it deserves to be,” said Ibañez after helping lift the Apertura trophy. “Today is a step forward and we are looking for more.”

But will Almada, and perhaps a few of his more high-profile players, stick around?

There may be a gap soon in the Mexican hole. There have long been reports that manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino will be leaving El Tri after the World Cup, and if that’s the case, someone like Almada — who is not only a proven winner but also has a track record of supporting Mexico’s young players — could be a good fit. With a long process to prepare for the 2026 World Cup, the Uruguayan coach is a great name that can usher in a new era and generation.

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The same can be said for his most recent opponent, Toluca manager Ignacio “Nacho” Ambriz. Despite a poor 8-2 scoreline at the end of the Apertura, Ambriz and his team have grown in anticipation of last season in recent months. Having finished 15th in the league last season, Ambriz has helped restructure this summer which is a work in progress but also cohesive enough to qualify for the finals.

Coaching more than every other manager in the playoffs this season, outside of Almada, Ambriz has helped restore his reputation as one of Mexico’s top coaches after some very unfortunate circumstances. in the second half of Spain that lasted only a few months with Huesca in 2021.

“He’s a smart guy,” Toluca player Sebastian Saucedo said on ESPN in October about Ambriz. “The way he works in training sessions, the equipment, all that stuff … this guy is the real deal.”

In the end, it was Almada and Pachuca who won the Apertura championship on Sunday. They decide their chances and are guided by their best school players, Los Tuzos they secured their seventh Liga MX silverware since 1999 and are now tied for sixth (with Pumas and Tigres) in the all-time table for Mexico’s top flight.

In 2023, Pachuca will get an important opportunity to increase their popularity and popularity even more with the ConCACAF Champions League and the expanded Le League Cup that will include every team from MLS and Liga MX. Within their list, additional competitions will create more minute opportunities for developing players from the club’s famous academy.

Six years ago, Lozano, Gutierrez and Pizarro were the ones who were embarrassed. This October, Sanchez, Isais and Alvarez received the same accolade. And in 2023? Expect to see even more new faces appearing in the country’s favourites football factory.


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