Date: Thursday, December 13
Time: 6:30pm Pacific, 8:30pm Central, 9:30pm Eastern
Venue: Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, México
Streaming: fuboTV (Free trial + monthly subscription)
Cruz Azul and Club América will face off in the Liga MX final that most fans wanted as the top two teams in Liga MX during the regular season clash for the 2018 Apertura title.
The final will be a rematch from the last time Cruz Azul and América faced off in 2013. That Final was famously decided after América’s goalkeeper, Moises Muñoz, scored in the last minute with a deflected shot to send the game to extra time. América would then go on to win the game on penalties, Miguel Herrera’s first and only Liga MX title.
Cruz Azul will be hoping to win their first league title in more than 21 years. They come into this Final after having a superb season in their return to the Estadio Azteca. They finished top of the league table in the regular season, and in general manager Ricardo Pelaez’s first season, they had a great performance from each one of their new singings.
That said, Cruz Azul’s Liguilla performances have been lacking. Outside of their first win (a 2-0 victory away to Querétaro), they haven’t really shown the same dominance they did across the regular season. In fact, La Máquina only went through to the Final because of the higher seed rule after their series with Monterrey ended 1-1.
Meanwhile, Club América is coming from their best display of the year, beating Pumas UNAM 6-1. While they certainly didn’t have the regular season Cruz Azul did, they weren’t far away. They finished second and went unbeaten in their last 11 regular season games.
After a Quarterfinals struggle against Toluca, there is no question they are having a better Liguilla than Cruz Azul. La Máquina, though, will be a different animal with a much better defensive structure, led by their former defender Pablo Aguilar. Aguilar may want to get one over the team that dumped him, but so will all of Cruz Azul as they try to make history.
In a year when Estadio Azteca’s troubles caused Mexico to miss out on their annual NFL regular season game, destiny has placed both Liga MX Finals there. The América and Cruz Azul rivalry will have a new chapter. Cruz Azul will not only have a shot at redemption, but a chance at a rematch from the defeat that made them spiral into mediocrity. It will be a great opportunity but América also have a chance to stomp on that, just as they just did with their other city rivals Pumas. Regardless of the result, it should be a thrilling First Leg.