The most exciting part of the season is here, the 2016 Clausura Liguilla begins on Wednesday, and there are a pair of quite extraordinary match-ups to look forward to.
It all begins with the Clasico Regio on what promises to be a tense first 90 minutes at the Estadio Universitario. The atmosphere will be sensational, but whether it translates to a Tigres win is another question. Monterrey finished the regular season at the top of the league table, and if they play anywhere near the way they did for most of the campaign, a positive result isn't out of the question.
Tigres, on the other hand, have been well below their best, narrowly qualifying to the Liguilla on the last day of the season. But Clasicos are always hugely unpredictable so when these two northern rivals meet in San Nicolas de los Garza, anything is possible.
Meanwhile, Monarcas Morelia wil host Leon at the Estadio Morelos on Wednesday. The way Morelia finished the season, they may like their chances of reaching the semifinals of the competition. Enrique Meza's side swept aside their relegation issues, and are coming off just one loss in their last seven matches.
Leon have been typically steady, though. Their attacking prowess of Elias Hernandez, Maxi Moralez, and Mauro Boselli makes them a dangerous side, and if they can produce a way from home, Leon isn't the kind of side to shy away from protecting a lead.
On Thursday, it all kicks off with Santos Laguna hosting Pachuca at the Estadio Corona. On paper, it sets up well for it to be a tactical battle between Luis Zubeldia and Diego Alonso. Pachuca, as they usually do, will try to wear out Santos Laguna and pick holes in their defense through Hirving Lozano and Franco Jara. Santos will build from the back and try to take their chances as they come.These contrasts make it for an intriguing match-up between two of the better coached sides in the league.
Finally, the big tie of the round is the Clasico Nacional between Club America and Chivas. It doesn't get bigger than this in Liga MX, and it all begins with the first 90 minutes at the Estadio Chivas.
Having fallen all the way down to fourth, Club America know they have to improve. Ignacio Ambriz's side finished the season winless in their last four league games and are facing the most in-form team in Liga MX. If there is some silver lining, however, Club America have the historical edge over Chivas. In the last five meetings between these historic rivals, Las Aguilas have came out on top four times.
But Chivas have not lost a game since dropping to Club America back in March. After a slow start to the season, Matias Almeyda has done an excellent job in front of the team, and if previous Liga MX scripts prove anything, sometimes momentum is all you need.
Below, you can find the full list of games and their time.
Quarterfinals First Leg Schedule (all times ET)
Monterrey vs. Tigres UANL- 8 p.m., Univision Deportes Network and Univision Deportes En Vivo(Streaming) and fuboTV (Free trial + monthly subscription)
Morelia vs. Leon - Friday, 10 p.m., TV Azteca
Santos Laguna vs. Pachuca -8 p.m., TV Azteca
Chivas vs. Club America - Saturday, 10 p.m., Univision Deportes Network and Univision Deportes En Vivo(Streaming) and fuboTV (Free trial + monthly subscription)