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Best of Liga MX Apertura '18: Miguel Herrera unanimous pick as top boss

With the Liga MX Apertura 2018 season having wrapped up earlier this week, our writers -- Eric Gomez, Cesar Hernandez, and Tom Marshall -- take a look back some of the best players, biggest disappointments, and favorite moments. 

Best player

Guido Rodriguez (Club America)

You don't tend to get many headlines as a holding midfielder, but the 24-year-old Argentine was the lynchpin of America's title win, showing consistency and steel throughout the season. Rodriguez missed only one game and could yet become a regular in the Argentina squad. -TM

Elias Hernandez (Cruz Azul)

A rejuvenated Hernandez handled Cruz Azul's offense this season as one of the country's top assisting players. Aside from being integral to his team's playoff run, he consolidated himself as another option for the Mexican national team moving forward after falling by the wayside the last few seasons. -EG

Julio Furch (Santos Laguna)

In a season that Santos Laguna were expected to struggle, Furch teamed up with Jonathan Rodriguez to form the most dangerous attacking duo in the league. The 29-year-old Argentine striker was nothing short of brilliant with his 12 goals and five assists. -CH

Best manager

Miguel Herrera (Club America)

"Piojo" certainly has his critics, but a second-place finish in the Apertura regular season and a 17-game undefeated streak at the end of the tournament meant Las Aguilas deserved victory. Once again, Herrera has shown that he can craft a championship-winning team and get players performing at their best. -TM

Miguel Herrera (Club America)

Underneath the surface of the volatile and boisterous persona is a manager that has made huge strides in recent years. After an impressive regular season, Herrera surprised many by his ability to outsmart Cruz Azul's Pedro Caixinha in the Apertura final series. -CH

Miguel Herrera (Club America)

 As hard is might be for some to admit, Herrera outfoxed Toluca's Hernan Cristante, UNAM manager David Patino and Caixinha en route to his second league title. He won't jump to the Mexican national team this time around, but the 50-year-old manager has options if he chooses to move abroad in the near future like Antonio Mohamed. If not, he'll remain a solid choice for El Tri should things go wrong with Gerardo Martino. -EG

Best young player/newcomer 

Roberto Alvarado (Cruz Azul)

The 20-year-old has not only transitioned smoothly from Necaxa to Cruz Azul, but immediately played a key role for La Maquina, who finished top of the regular season standings and reached the Apertura final. That's an impressive achievement. -TM

Leonardo Ramos (Lobos BUAP)

Lobos BUAP must have known that they had something special when Ramos scored in his mid-September debut match. Following a move from the Mexican second division in the halfway point of the season, Ramos hit the ground running with eighth goals in just nine matches. -CH

Diego Lainez (Club America)

At just 18 years old, his development has jumpstarted at Club America with a league title and rumors he'll soon join Hirving Lozano and Erick Gutierrez in the Eredivisie. Though used primarily as a winger this season by Herrera, Lainez has traits that place him in the territory of a classic No. 10 with the ability to see the field, set strikers up and score himself, as we saw multiple times this season. With Lainez's breakout year, Mexico's next gen is shaping up to excite fans. -EG

Biggest disappointment

Chivas' debacle of a season

Guadajalara was absolutely horrid this season in all of their competitions. Outside of a nine-point spurt in September, Jose Cardozo's team never looked like it was in contention for the playoffs or any silverware with a depleted roster (that will look even more barren come January) that never got over the loss of Matias Almeyda as the team's head coach. Their sixth-place showing at the Club World Cup was the icing on top of the cake of futility. -EG

Existence of shady deals

The continued off-field stories about alleged shady practices. Liga MX clubs are currently under investigation by Mexico's tax authorities (SAT) for the alleged existence of "double contracts" and the monopolies commission (COFECE) for transfer practices. For a league hoping to expand its international appeal, it's a bad look. -TM

Veracruz's managerial merry-go-round

After a highly controversial contractual situation led to the resignation of Guillermo Vazquez in August, Hugo Chavez Fernandez was then in charge as interim before the hiring of Juvenal Olmos. Olmos was then quickly dropped by the team in October, leaving Fernandez as interim once again. What a mess. -CH

Favorite moment

Liga MX Femenil final

Seeing over 40,000 packed inside Estadio Universitario for the second leg of the Liga MX Femenil final between Tigres and Club America. Once again, Liga MX Femenil made headlines around the world and the final -- won by America -- lived up to the hype. -TM

Edson Alvarez's two goals in the second leg of the final

After a tough World Cup in which he was serenaded with boos by his own fans following a tough own goal, Alvarez's psyche was affected for most of the season at Club America, drawing a benching from Herrera in the stretch run and prompting questions about his development being completely stunted. In the biggest spotlight moment of the season, Alvarez answered with aplomb by scoring his two goals -- the first an absolute beauty off a mistake by Jesus Corona -- and handing his team its 13th league title. -EG

Alvarez's brace in the final

Even for Mexican soccer fans who didn't root for Club America in the recent final, there was something undeniably delightful about seeing the young player score twice and emerge as the unexpected man of the match. -CH


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