All across the country, Saturday-morning rituals have been interrupted. There’s no waking up with Rebecca Lowe and NBCSN’s Premier League coverage, no flipping the channel to see what’s going on in the Bundesliga, no Serie A to play on your ESPN+ app and no searching for beIN SPORTS to check in on LaLiga.
During a time of year when basketball dominates the airwaves, we don’t even have college and pro hoops to tide us over. No hockey to rediscover our love for. No baseball to look forward to. No NFL offseason news to ignore.
Throughout all of the trials and tribulations Americans have gone through over the last several decades, from horrifying terrorist attacks and countless mass shootings to devastating natural disasters, we’ve always had sports to rely on, to calm us down and distract us, to give us something to rally around.
Now during the coronavirus pandemic, we have nothing.
Well, almost nothing.
Just south of the border one league plays on, for better or worse.
A small smattering of leagues has chosen to play on in the face of a rising pandemic. Chief among them is one North American league that, while always popular in the U.S., may soon find itself as the most popular league in the world.
I’m talking Liga MX.
Astute soccer fans have long shared a love for Liga MX. While perhaps a small step below some of the European leagues Americans often favor, Liga MX is undoubtedly one of the most entertaining leagues in the world, combining skill, flare and passion with excellent commentary.
If Liga MX keeps playing on while nearly every other league suspends all action, soon everyone else in the world will learn to appreciate the Mexican league. Soon it will surpass the NFL in popularity.
Normally, Friday night would’ve been loaded with college basketball conference tournaments plus NBA and NHL. Following the rash of leagues suspending play, there wasn’t much available on TV in English for sports fans in the U.S.
How we watching ESPN after they cancelled every other sport pic.twitter.com/jsCbg9cbIV— Mark Phillips (@SupremeDreams_1) March 13, 2020
But there was one league worth watching still playing.
This Friday night was all about Liga MX.
Desperate times call for desperate measures...yes, I'm watching #LigaMX and it's in Spanish... pic.twitter.com/5j83g77NdH— Jason Reid (@JReidOneNiner) March 14, 2020
Slowly but surely American sports fans will realize Liga MX is still playing and turn their attention to soccer south of the border. They’ll learn what we’ve long known: Liga MX is fucking awesome.
It began this week and will only continue to pick up steam.
Is it extraordinarily irresponsible and harmful that Liga MX is playing in open stadiums? Yes.Am I giddily watching with a drink? Also yes. pic.twitter.com/zKQtU7CSN4
— Ryan Rosenblatt (@RyanRosenblatt) March 14, 2020
Is it smart to keep playing? Is it ethical? No clue. Am I gonna watch tf outta @LigaBBVAMX? 1000000000%.I don’t even have a team (yet) — open to suggestions — but GRINGOS GUIDE TO LIGAMX blog coming later to get your mind/wallet ready for this weekend. ¡Viva el fútbol! pic.twitter.com/qCiXomjTPF
— SaMOUel Army (@BarstoolSam) March 14, 2020
Ppl in the USA, freaking out over major league sports canceling seasons!! Mexicans across the globe we still got la Liga Mexicana! #coronapocalypse #sports #LigaMX #COVIDー19 #QuarantineAndChill pic.twitter.com/JaiHrrqY1w— Valentina (@VAL3_17) March 14, 2020
Me watching la #LigaMX because everything else is postponed. pic.twitter.com/ZfhTzCuDYl— Josemiguel (@munozjm22) March 14, 2020
Every major pro sports league: canceled
Liga MX: pic.twitter.com/kgBHnkkTvG— tim #oskarstrong (@timthybulle) March 13, 2020
Anybody else out there think that LigaMX is just making a shrewd marketing decision by playing? They’re now the only really accessible soccer on TV in the US this weekend. I’ll be watching. So will millions more.— Pablo Maurer (@MLSist) March 13, 2020
Is it irresponsible for Liga MX to play in open stadiums while a global pandemic spreads?
Are we going to complain?
Only quietly because it’s the right thing to do while secretly being happy to have something to talk about.
Football journalists this weekend pic.twitter.com/52vqdeTCnN— Simpsons Arsenal (@SimpsonsArsenal) March 14, 2020
At this rate, it’s only a matter of time before Liga MX is more popular than the NFL in America. It’s already the most-watched soccer league in the U.S.
Friday night’s Liga MX action showed why as Morelia whipped up on Querétaro 4-0 and Tijuana edged Pachuca 3-2. Mauro Laínez scored the goal of the evening blasting a wicked volley with the outside of his boot, showcasing the flare on display in Liga MX.
Every Liga MX game will leave viewers with something to talk about, whether it’s a crazy play, a boneheaded move, a coach doing something ridiculous or just some damn good football. And part of what makes Liga MX so great is its media presence, from easy-to-find matches and highlights to excellent pre- and postgame coverage and in-game commentary, albeit most of it in Spanish.
Check out the highlights of both of Friday’s matches below and then prepare for some more Liga MX action Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, León hosts Pumas on Univision while Tigres host Juárez on ESPN Deportes, both at 9 p.m. ET. On Sunday, check out Toluca-Atlas on Univision (2 p.m. ET), Santos Laguna-Necaxa on ESPN Deportes (8 p.m. ET) and Club América vs. league-leading Cruz Azul on TUDN (10:15 p.m.).
Xolos vs. Pachuca Highlights
Morela vs. Querétaro Highlights
We don’t know how many more weeks Liga MX will continue to play, but while it’s still going on, enjoy the soccer where you can get it — and learn to appreciate one of the most thrilling leagues in the world.