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Reigning back-to-back champions Leon will be the team to beat in the Apertura 2014 season of Liga MX as they search for the third consecutive title.
Apertura 2014 season preview: Club Leon 
07/12/2014
 
Leon campeon

Leon will once again dream of having a season for the history books. Already given the tittle of "The best Leon ever," Matosas and company will try and become the first "Tri-Campeon" in the short tournament era. Their stellar participation in the last 5 seasons have given the 'Panza Verdes' a semifinal, four finals with 2 incredible championships.


CLUB DETAILS


Full Name: Club León F.C.

Nicknames: Los Panza verdes, Esmeraldas, La Fiera

Founded: 1944

Stadium: Estadio Leon Unofficial Nou Camp (27,432 capacity)

Owner: Grupo Pachuca, Grupo Carso

Manager: Gustavo Matosas

Liga MX Champions: 7 (1948, 1949, 1952, 1956, 1992, Apertura 2013, Clausura 2014)


LAST SEASON


Apertura 2013: 3rd - Liguilla champion

Clausura 2014: 8th- Liguilla champion


2013-14 was historically one of the best years for Leon. The team was able to beat the 'Bicampeonato' curse and repeat and win in their finals appearance. Not only did the team display great fluidity and stellar play during their games but Leon was also able to send up players to the national team that made noticeable impact. 


The goal for last year was simple, get the Back-to-Back championship and have a good Libertadores tournament. 


The season was negatively impacted by the many games Leon had to play and travel. It wasn't until the last game of the season that Leon was given a final spot in the playoffs by a serious of very fortunate scenarios. 


During the post season, Leon showed the league why it was crowned champion and although seated in the 8th spot, the team looked better than ever taking care of business on the road and bringing the cup home once again.


During group play of the Libertadores, Leon was already turning heads by showcasing their attractive football and advancing out of the group. Their best win of the tournament came during the last game of group play when it needed to beat flamengo in the mythical Maracana. Leon was considered an underdog due to the environment and the travel but embarrassed the home club and took the victory.


THE MANAGER


Christian Gustavo Matosas Paidón played for Peñarol of Uruguay and San Lorenzo of Argentina, Sao Paolo of Brazil and Tiajin Teda of China. He is renowned for being one of the most successful foreign players for the Chinese Clubs playing defense in the seasons of 99–00 and 00-01.


Matosas won a number of major titles during his career. In 1987, he won the Copa America with Uruguay and the Copa Libertadores with Peñarol. In 1993 he won the Copa Libertadores a second time with Sao Paolo of Brazil. 


He is considered one of the best coaches in Mexico as of today for his style of play and continued success. He has been rumored countless times with larger South American clubs but was given a contract as of this year for another year with La Fiera.


MAJOR TRANSFERS IN


Marcos Caicedo (Emelec).

Martín Bravo (Pumas).

Yamilson Rivera (America de Cali)


MAJOR TRANSFERS OUT


-Matías Britos (Pumas).

-Eisner Loboa (Puebla).

-Franco Arizala (Jaguares)


EXPECTATIONS


Winning an other tittle will be a fan's dream specially since it will be the first 'Tricampenato' in the short tournament era. Leon also has the CONCACAF Champions League tournament where the road to the FIFA World Cup of Clubs will begin. 'La Fiera' will once again have to balance the squad and rely on the youth to participate in all competitions.


It was rumored the team would be dismantled after last season as the high profile players (Jose Juan Vazquez, Carlos "Gullit" Peña, and Luis Montes) were being placed all around the league. The team was able to keep their stars and still manage to to sign key players that will add offensive power to the squad.


There is no denying that Leon is the team to beat this year. Many have said that the loss of Luis Montes to injury will be too great to overcome since he has been critical to the success. Expect Luis Montes to make a full recovery by week 13 when the team plays Chivas de Guadalajara.


OPENING SIX FIXTURES


19th July – vs America (h)

26th July – vs Tigres (a)

2nd Aug – vs Morelis (h)

9th Aug – vs Chiapas(a)

16th Aug – vs Pumas (h)

23rd Aug – vs Leones Negros (a)

 
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