Alas, the Liga MX final is here! A packed house is expected at the Estadio Azteca when Club America host Tigres in the first leg of the 2016 Apertura Liga MX final.
Here is what to watch for in the first 90 minutes of the Liga MX final.
What to watch for:
Tired America in Liga MX final - If this doesn’t turn out to be a classic Club America performance, it will be partly because of the horrible scheduling. The choice of having the league stop for more than two weeks to accommodate the Club World Cup doesn’t exactly do America any favors.
While it might already sound like an excuse for las Aguilas, there is no denying all the traveling will have taken a physical toll on the team. America arrive to this two-legged tie on the back of a round trip flight to Japan, where they played three matches in seven days. Given that, wear and tear can only be expected.
Still, this has less to do with America and more about the Mexican federation. The FMF continues to bemuse fans with their scheduling decisions. Keep in mind, the Mexican federation cited scheduling as one of the reasons for Liga MX clubs to pull out of the Copa Libertadores. Now, they reward a team that won the CONCACAF Champions Legue and made the Liga MX final by having them play their most important games of the season in a two-week window. Talk about a lack of organization from Liga MX.
Tigres face their own challenges- In truth, its not just Club America that face the burden of this weird Liga MX schedule. While las Aguilas were taking on the likes of Real Madrid, Tigres star forward Andre-Pierre Gignac was out and about watching boxing matches and meeting the likes of Julio Cesar Chavez.
Tigres are blessed with arguably the most talented squad in Liga MX, but you wonder how this unexpected break will affect Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti’s side, especially when so much of their play depends on their fluidity.
The bottom line is Tigres haven’t played a competitive match in more than 18 days, and it’s difficult to work out in what frame of mind they will arrive to at the Estadio Azteca. That’s all the more relevant here because they are under pressure to make their favoritism count. The last time they went into a Liga MX final as favorites, Pumas UNAM came within a pair of penalties of accomplishing one of the greatest comebacks in Mexican soccer history.
Coaches duel - Both managers don’t just share the same name, they are two of the most emblematic figures of Mexican soccer in recent years.
By the end of this Liga MX final, Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti will have coached in 1,000 games. Given the way modern football works these days, this is a colossal feat.
America manager Ricardo La Volpe, on the other hand, is less of a numbers guy. When we talk about La Volpe, we talk about somebody who stylistically revolutionized the Mexican game.
If finals are won in the coach’s touchline, this final will have two of the best coaches to ever graze the Mexican sport. This alone makes this final a must-watch affair.