Match: Club América vs. Puebla
Date: Saturday, November 4th
Time: 11:00 PM Eastern, 10:00 PM Central, 8:00 PM Pacific, 3:00 AM UTC
Venue: Estadio Azteca (Ciudad de México)
Club América just need to secure a point from one of their last two matches of the regular season (against Puebla and Santos) to mathematically qualify for the liguilla. Currently Miguel Herrera’s squad are sitting in 5th place on 26 points behind surprise 3rd place Morelia and 4th place León on goal difference alone. However, if recent form is any indication, securing this final point might be more difficult than expected.
In their last league match, las Águilas were completely and utterly dominated by top-dogs Monterrey in the first half giving up goals to Neri Cardozo and Aviles Hurtado. Despite being up a man for much of the second half following Neri Cardozo being sent off in the 56th minute las Águilas were unable to generate much on the offensive side other than possession. It was unsettling to see Club América so easily dominated by Monterrey in the first half and even worse to see them unable to at least score one goal against a 10 man team in the second half.
On Wednesday night las Águilas put in another uninspiring performance - this time on the road against Queretaro in the Copa MX. Oribe Peralta scored the go-ahead goal in the 16th minute, but Club América were unable to build on the end and eventually gave it up on a 67th minute goal by Javier Guemez. The match turned into a dreary affair for the rest of regular time and didn't get much better in the extra period that followed. Eventually las Águilas were able to sneak out of Queretaro with a victory thanks to winning the penalty shootout 2-0.
Puebla, sitting in 15th place on 15 points, need a minor miracle to ensure that they qualify for this tournament’s liguilla - a victory over las Águilas this weekend, Lobos BUAP the next, and a series of other results to go their way. However, it is highly unlikely that this is going to happen. Despite their near inability to qualify for the liguilla, la Franja have been playing some of their best fútbol over the last several weeks with a record of 2W-1D-1L. While sitting dead last in the standings three weeks ago, they managed to beat the same Monterrey side that dominated Club América by a score of 2-0. Last week la Franja bossed Pumas UNAM across the pitch from start to finish and secured a solid 3-0 win as a result.
Las Águilas would be foolish to think that they can just step onto the pitch and defeat Puebla with little to no effort. Oribe Peralta, Mateus Uribe, and Edson Álvarez will have to be on the top of their game in order to secure all three points. However, due to their squad depth and talent, las Águilas should be able to at least get a draw out of this match and qualify for the liguilla with a match to spare.