Last week, Mexico kicked off its 2018-19 soccer season. If you happened to be flipping channels on Saturday night, you might have stumbled across something that has been rare to see — a Liga MX game, Club Tijuana vs. Chivas, being broadcast in English on American airwaves. It’s something you will see more of this year, and in the future, and it represents a potential northward shift of power in Mexican soccer.

The traditional center of soccer in Mexico is Mexico City, just like everything else in Mexico. Three of the four biggest teams — Club América, Pumas, and Cruz Azul — hail from Mexico City. Along with Chivas, from Mexico’s second largest city, Guadalajara, the big-city teams make up the Big Four powerhouses of soccer in Mexico.

Now, teams from northern Mexico are on the rise. The center of this is in Monterrey, where two teams — Tigres and Monterrey — have become the two teams to beat in Mexico’s top division. Monterrey is the economic powerhouse of northern Mexico, just hours away from the Texas border, and has been described as the most American of Mexico’s big cities — and that financial might has led to on-field success for both Tigres and Monterrey, as well as the two teams climbing to the top of the league’s attendance rankings.

Along with Club Tijuana, which makes no bones about using its proximity to San Diego to draw in American fans, Monterrey is going to start flooding the American airwaves. Clubs in Mexico sell their TV rights individually, and both Tijuana and Monterrey have signed up with Fox Sports — which will be showing both teams’ home games on national TV this year, on its FS1 and FS2 networks. Both teams will also be airing on local Fox Sports affiliates in Arizona and Southern California — the kind of broadcast reach that most MLS teams would love to get. Starting next summer, Santos Laguna, from Torreón in northern Mexico, will also join up with Fox Sports. These northern teams are hoping to not only appeal to Spanish-speaking expatriates, but to English-speaking soccer fans in the southern United States and beyond.

As for the fall season, Tigres and Monterrey are the favorites yet again for the league title. Santos Laguna is the reigning champion, but lost too many players over the summer to contend again; as for Tijuana, it won’t be able to score enough goals to be a threat. Among the traditional powers, Cruz Azul has spent big, and is probably the best of the four; Club América is talented but has already been hit with injuries.

Liga MX has long been the dominant league on the continent, but it’s been a closed book to soccer fans that don’t speak Spanish. Now, American soccer fans can watch Club Tijuana or Monterrey virtually every week, without knowing their soccer from their fútbol.

Short takes

 U.S. Soccer has found a way to bring every women’s soccer powerhouse to the United States on a yearly basis, creating two invitational tournaments, the SheBelieves Cup (in March) and the Tournament of Nations (which began this week). The U.S. opened proceedings on Thursday by beating Japan 4-2. The next two games, against Brazil and Australia, will serve as the U.S. women’s team’s best test before this fall’s CONCACAF Championship, which will also serve as the qualifier for next year’s World Cup.

• ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNews are showing preseason exhibitions between major European clubs virtually all day Saturday. If you’re desperate for some European soccer, almost every big-name European team is in action somewhere on an ESPN network.

• One problem with these big friendlies, though, is that many of them are held on temporary grass fields in NFL stadiums. On Wednesday, Liverpool and Manchester City played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, where organizers had laid a grass field over the artificial turf only that morning. “We pray before the game that there are no injuries,” Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola said. This kind of field disaster has been common with these summer exhibitions.

SHORT TAKES

 U.S. Soccer has found a way to bring every women’s soccer powerhouse to the United States on a yearly basis, creating two invitational tournaments, the SheBelieves Cup (in March) and the Tournament of Nations (which began this week). The USA opened proceedings on Thursday by beating Japan 4-2. The next two games against Brazil and Australia will serve as the USWNT’s best test before this fall’s CONCACAF Championship, which will also serve as the qualifier for next year’s World Cup.

• ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNNews are showing preseason exhibitions between major European clubs virtually all day Saturday. If you’re desperate for some European soccer, almost every big-name European team is in action somewhere on an ESPN network.

• One problem with these big friendlies, though, is that many of them are held on temporary grass fields in NFL stadiums. On Wednesday, Liverpool and Manchester City played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, where organizers had laid a grass field over the artificial turf only that morning. Said Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola, “We pray before the game that there are no injuries.” This kind of field disaster has been common with these summer exhibitions.

WEEKEND WATCH GUIDE

MLS: Houston at Portland, 8 p.m. Saturday, ESPN. Portland has gone 13 league matches without a loss, and hasn’t lost an MLS home game since last November, before coach Gio Savarese arrived in the Rose City. Houston — which endured an ugly home loss in midweek — is in trouble, and is sliding down the Western Conference standings.

MLS: New York City at Seattle, 4 p.m. Sunday, ESPN. Don’t look now, but struggling Seattle has three wins and two draws in five July games. The Sounders have made a habit of slow starts followed by manic playoff pushes. New striker Raúl Ruidíaz scored his first Seattle goal on Wednesday. Beating eastern power NYC would boost Seattle even more.

Tournament of Nations: Australia at United States, 6 p.m. Sunday, FS1. Last year, Australia surprised everyone by winning this tournament, beating the USA and then pounding both Japan and Brazil to claim the title. The Aussies began with a 3-1 win over Brazil on Thursday — can All-World striker Sam Kerr fire them past the USA again?

MLS: Orlando at Los Angeles Galaxy, 8:30 p.m. Sunday, FS1. Atlanta’s Josef Martinez is on pace to shatter the league’s goal-scoring record, having tallied 22 goals in 22 games. That said, Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with 12 goals in 16 appearances, is not all that far behind Martinez in goal-scoring prowess. Orlando’s porous defense should help him.

WEEKEND WATCH GUIDE

MLS: Houston at Portland, 8 p.m. Saturday, ESPN. Portland has gone 13 league matches without a loss, and hasn’t lost an MLS home game since November, before coach Gio Savarese arrived in the Rose City. Houston — which endured an ugly home loss in midweek — is in trouble and is sliding down the Western Conference standings.

MLS: New York City at Seattle, 4 p.m. Sunday, ESPN. Don’t look now, but struggling Seattle has three wins and two draws in five July games. The Sounders have made a habit of slow starts followed by manic playoff pushes. New striker Raul Ruidiaz scored his first Seattle goal on Wednesday. Beating eastern power NYC would boost Seattle even more.

Tournament of Nations: Australia at United States, 6 p.m. Sunday, FS1. Last year, Australia surprised everyone by winning this tournament, beating the U.S. and then pounding both Japan and Brazil to claim the title. The Aussies began with a 3-1 win over Brazil on Thursday. Can All-World striker Sam Kerr fire them past the USA again?

MLS: Orlando at Los Angeles Galaxy, 8:30 p.m. Sunday, FS1. Atlanta’s Josef Martinez is on pace to shatter the league’s goal-scoring record, having tallied 22 in 22 games. That said, Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with 12 goals in 16 appearances, is not all that far behind Martinez in goal-scoring prowess. Orlando’s porous defense should help him.