Usually if something happens three times, conventional wisdom says that a trend is spotted. Well, conventional wisdom is the last thing I would use to deduce anything about the Liga Mexicana.
Case in point, in the last Clausura, Atlas (Atlas!) had won their three games, and looked good doing so. Well, not only did they not finish first or make the liguilla, the bottom fell out. And now they are one point from the drop zone. One of the teams they had beaten (5-0, no less), Morelia, ended up in the final.
So what do we make of the first three weeks of the Clausura 2012 season? A quick glance at the table tells the tale of the first 3 weeks in painful detail, especially of you are from Jalisco.
The bottom 3 read like so 16-Atlas - 1 17-Estudiantes - 1 18-Chivas - 0
It is no surprise that Atlas and Estudiantes Tecos are down there. And unless someone else has a precipitous fall (we're looking at you, Puebla), the relegation fight will come down to the two Guadalajara clubs.
Chivas, on the other hand.
They have accumulated more red cards than goals scored. They have not won since last October, and are off to their worst start ever in the short-season era. Predictably, Fernando "el sheriff" Quirarte stepped down as head coach after Chivas suffered their third loss in a row (2 at home). Earlier today, colorful owner called Quirarte's hiring a terrible mistake. "we gave him a Ferrari, and he turned it into a Volkswagen." I can only assume he meant the old "thing", which is Mexico was marketed as the Safari. Now Vergara will set forth on an all too familiar quest: find the next Chivas coach.
It really is puzzling, Guadalajara's struggles. They have a legitimate claim to be the most popular team in Mexico, but probably have the least threatening home-field advantage in the league. No one comes to support them at the Omnilife, and they players have yet to embrace their funny field.
Tijuana plays on a funny field at home, and they looked even more comfortable on the carpet in Guadalajara, tripping up the hosts, 2-0, Saturday night. Every win for Xolos is huge, as it sends them soaring away from the relegation zone. And, for now, they are tied for 1st on 7 points. Xolos. As long as they can keep their ratio of points earned to games played above 1.1, they should stay in the top flight.
Xolos is tied with Santos and Toluca, who both have played very well and should continue to do so throughout the season. No surprises here. One big surprise, though, has been Atlante, who has won twice on the road after completely overhauling the roster. My pick for a team to surprise, San Luis, won their first two games. But then they dropped one away to Morelia without even one shot on goal.
After 3 weeks, there are plenty of reasons for some teams to smile and others to seek counseling. But if there is one thing I have learned about watching la Liga Mexicana, it's that it is like Irish weather: most likely to completely change after 15 minutes.
One of the reasons why it's so much fun.