America and Cruz Azul will face each other in a Round of 16 Copa MX match that was previously set to be played on September 19 when an Earthquake in Mexico City caused the suspension of the game. America came to that game favored and will now be even more heavily favored after defeating Cruz Azul 3-1 in the regular season. Although both teams will arrive to this game after league losses, America arrives after a home defeat to Necaxa, which ended up being a close result against a good team. On the other hand, Cruz Azul lost 3-0 against Lobos BUAP, which turned to a result so bad that coach Paco Jemez declared Cruz Azul as not "a great team" due to their play in that game. America is also going in at second place overall, while Cruz Azul is at 8th, barely on the bubble as a Liguilla team. The winner of the game goes to the Quarterfinal and the match could go to penalties if the score is tied.
America’s loss against Necaxa might have put on the brakes on what seemed to be a successful week. They were coming in with back to back Clasico wins after defeating Cruz Azul 3-1 and then beating (and eliminating) Chivas 2-1. Still, the Chivas game had showed cracks after Guadalajara had been the better team and were unlucky to not get the result. For the Necaxa game, Coach Miguel Herrera had rested some players like Oribe Peralta and Darwin Quintero, which might have been a sign of having two games but was also seen as overconfidence that the team ended up paying for. That said, America is clearly having the better season and will also benefit from playing their third straight game in Estadio Azteca.
Cruz Azul's week was a tough one by any point of view. First, they lost at home to their main rivals America 3-1. Then they got a 2-1 win in Queretaro, but as it goes, it was as controversial a game. Cruz Azul got three penalty kicks in their favor, two of them which they converted. The final penalty looked to not have been a handball. In addition, Queretaro currently is tied at last place and is fighting relegation.
They then went and lost 3-0 to Lobos BUAP, the newly arrived team from Ascenso MX. Coach Paco Jemez, who has had a very controversial tenure heading Cruz Azul, then declared that Cruz Azul wasn't a big team. While the quote seemed to be about the current squad and not the institution itself, a lot of fans and ex players really criticized the comment. Cruz Azul will have all the pressure against an America team that has the upper hand right now and situations like this won't help.
America should be the favorite for this game even more so than the Chivas game played on Wednesday. While it's true that you never know with a clasico, Cruz Azul has all the mental pressure and they are known to crumble with it even before Jemez arrived. With Herrera, who won all three regular season clasicos, sitting pretty and knowing how to play these types of games, it doesn't look good at all for Cruz Azul to get rid of that stress that seems like it's sinking them another season.
Date: Tuesday, October 24
Time: 6:30 PM Pacific, 8:30 PM Central, 9:30 PM Eastern
Venue: Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, Mexico
Television: Univision Deportes (US-Spanish), TDN (Mexico), Canal 5 Televisa (Mexico), ESPN DOS (Mexico), FOX Sports 2 Mexico (Mexico), TVC Deportes (Mexico), Azteca 7 (Mexico)
Streaming: fuboTV (Free trial + monthly subscription)
Listings via LiveSoccerTV.com.