After some off the field issues, Mexican futbol is back with the Quarterfinals of the Copa MX. It is do or die time. A couple of big teams are still in the race and teams are starting to getting serious and playing with their best starting XIs. We take a look at each Copa MX matchup.
Santos vs Cruz Azul
Cruz Azul’s disappointing season has suddenly found a lifeline with Copa MX. The victory against Queretaro that qualified the team to the knockout rounds broke a long winless streak under Paco Jemez before the team subsequently defeated Leon in the Round of 16. Against Santos Laguna in the quarterfinals, they will have a very tough battle. Santos was the last undefeated team in Liga MX before losing to Pumas, and while they struggled in the group stages of this competition, they did get two big wins to get to this round, including a victory over Necaxa. If Santos can repeat their Liga MX success, they should cut Cruz Azul's lifeline and move on the semifinals.
Tijuana vs Morelia
Tijuana will face Morelia after ending America's Copa MX run. While their game against America wasn't by any means brilliant, they are the better team and will be at home for this tie. Morelia had a big win against Toluca, but it was marred by Toluca having three red cards including their goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera. Up three players and with forward Carlos Esquivel at goal, Morelia failed to score and only managed to win on penalty kicks. Morelia have a relegation battle to worry about, and that should, undoubtedly, be something they will be worrying about. It looks like lighting shouldn't strike twice for them against a better team in Tijuana.
Monterrey vs Puebla
For most people, the top candidate for the Copa MX is Monterrey. Not only do they have the best squad of the remaining teams, but they have been playing the best football of the competition. They demolished their Copa MX rivals and then destroyed Mineros de Zacatecas, as they qualified to the Quarterfinals. In a strange way, they will face their first Liga MX team in Puebla, after only facing Ascenso teams so far. Still, the fact of the matter is they will be at home and facing an inferior team in Puebla, who is also playing with their B team. Puebla, though, has turned a corner with new coach Cardozo and they have had some good performances in Monterrey’s new stadium. That said, it will take a huge upset to take down Rayados.
Chivas vs Juarez FC
Guadalajara is the only other team besides Monterrey that has only faced Ascenso MX teams and they will continue that streak as they face Juarez FC, the only Ascenso MX team remaining in the competition. Chivas played well in the group stages, bu their performance against Correcaminos in the Round of 16 was worrisome. Matias Almeyda’s side were dominating and had a 2-0 lead, but they grew overconfident and conceded an equalizer in the final minute of play. Eventually, Chivas won the game on penalties, but their second half performance left a bad aftertaste. Juarez, on the other hand, had a good group stage performance, but their highlight was surprising Queretaro and eliminating the current champions on penalties. Chivas has been playing an alternative squad and should continue to do so, but their performance against Correcaminos definitely showed that, although they should be favored, it might not be as easy as it looks on paper.