Core of short-tempered stars have led Toluca to Success in Clausura 2018
It is only fitting that the fiercest and most short-tempered manager in the Liga MX is in charge of Los Diablos Rojos. Hernan Cristante stole that title from Miguel Herrera this past weekend when he put the Club America manager in a choke hold during the clash between the two teams. The game at the Estadio Azteca ended 2-1 in Los Chorizeros’ favor, adding to their already impressive season so far.
Toluca is currently in second place with 24 points after 12 games and is showing no signs of slowing down as the regular season ticks down to its final minutes of play. Toluca is clearly a formidable contender for the title but it is very interesting that going into this season the team signed some players that can be described as “hot heads” or “misfits”.
Some teams take risks on these type of players but Hernan Cristante decided to roll the dice on three heading into this Clausura 2018. To add to this the team already had the most notorious “hot head” of them all in the Liga MX, Rubens Sambueza. The Argentine midfielder has a plethora of talent but usually makes the headlines for his behavioral issues instead of his accolades on the pitch.
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The three “misfits” that were brought in this season were Leonel Lopez, Angel Reyna and Luis Quinones and all three have played a significant role on Los Diablos’ success this season. Angel Reyna was brought in from Celaya and was renowned for his short temper and the thought of both Reyna and Rubens Sambueza on the same team caused many laughs from Mexican football fans. Reyna has not started any drama this season and has been a solid player off the bench for Hernan Cristante this semester.
Leonel Lopez broke onto the scene in the Clausura 2017 season with Leon as he started nine games and had looked like a solid up and coming player. The Mexican midfielder only played in four Liga MX games in the Apertura 2017 tournament and Leon manager Gustavo Diaz had said his limited playing time was due to behavioral issues. The 23-year-old is now a consistent starter for Toluca in both the Liga MX and Copa MX and has been a solid box-to-box player in the heart of the midfield.
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Luis Quinones has been the “misfit” that has made the most impact but like the other players mentioned before has also had disciplinary issues in the past. The Colombian forward had been separated by Independiente Santa Fe in his native country for his love of partying. This behavior continued with Tigres UANL, where he received limited playing time because of it then he was also separated by Lobos BUAP last season because of disciplinary issues. Quinones has three goals and an assist in this Clausura 2018 and has made an impact in Hernan Cristante’s attack, really adding flair and pace to the offense.
These signings seemed unconventional heading into this tournament but it is clear that they have contributed to Toluca’s success this season. It will be interesting to see how this core of short-tempered stars do as the season progresses as well as how many more games Hernan Cristante will actually watch from the sidelines. The Argentine manager will receive a sanction for the altercation with Miguel Herrera and has already missed a couple games due to altercations with referees.