The 2019 Apertura has drawn to a close, and it’s been a great season. While it’s safe to say that most of the teams improved over the last tournament and all should be looking forward to the 2020 Clausura, there’s some unfinished business as eight teams will play through into the Liguilla. Here’s how the last week of the season played out.
Atlas 1, León 3: The good news for Atlas is despite the loss to León, they’re still in the Liguilla. The bad news is with a better performance they could have avoided facing Monterrey in the first round. León took an early lead and never looked back, winning 3-1. Paulina Gómez scored in the 31st minute with a shot from the right side of the box. In the 54th, an Atlas turnover allowed Diana García to take the ball and hit a golazo from distance. It went from bad to worse for Atlas in the 64th when Ana Rodríguez was sent off for stepping on Yamile Franco’s leg. In the 73rd, Atlas would draw one back thanks to a fantastic run by Joana Robles, who flicked a centering pass to Mayra Santana, who finished the chance. But León would put it out of reach in the 79th when Liliana Sánchez got her head onto a corner kick, beating goalkeeper Ana Gaby Paz. León finishes with 23 points in 11th place while Atlas ekes into the Liguilla in eighth with 28 points, their +15 goal differential putting them in over Monarcas Morelia.
Cruz Azul 2, Tijuana 2: Tijuana saved their Liguilla with a comeback draw against Cruz Azul. Jessica Tenorio put Cruz Azul up in the 29th minute when Tijuana couldn’t clear a ball out of the box and she pounced on it, knocking it past goalkeeper Itzel González. Brenda León doubled the lead in the 35th when Cruz Azul was able to hit Xolos on a counterattack and León hit a shot at pace. After the half though Tijuana looked the much more dominant team. Renae Cuellar pulled one back in the 52nd minute when she got her head onto a free kick. Isabel Fonseca tied the match in the 77th minute when she hit a beautiful arcing shot from distance over goalkeeper Karla Morales. Cruz Azul finishes in tenth place with 24 points while Tijuana finishes in seventh with 29 points and will face Tigres in the quarterfinal round.
Querétaro 0, Tigres UANL 2: Tigres had secured third place going into the week but put up a good performance against Querétaro, downing Gallos Femenil 2-0. Lydia Rangel scored in the 15th minute when her header off of a free kick was stopped by a Querétaro defender and she kicked it in from close range. Natalia Gómez Junco intercepted a pass in the 35th minute and hit a rocket that goalkeeper Natalia Acuña couldn’t get to. Querétaro finishes the season in 13th with 20 points while Tigres finishes in second with 43 and will face Xolos Femenil in the Liguilla.
Necaxa 1, Atlético San Luis 1: The nightmare season that Necaxa has endured ends on a somewhat promising note as Las Centellas grab a draw against San Luis. Atleti took the lead in the 23rd when Ramona Paredes capitalized on a mistake, drew out goalkeeper Balbina Treviño, and went around her to easily score. Olimpia Cuevas would convert a penalty kick in the 48th to level things and grab Necaxa’s third draw of the season. Las Centellas finish in 19th place with six points while San Luis finished in 17th place with 11 points.
Juárez 0, América 2: Juárez finishes their first season with a 2-0 loss to América. The sides were level through the first half and into the second when América was awarded a penalty in the 54th minute. Daniela Espinosa converted to give América the lead. In the 62nd minute Juárez went down a player when Georgina Peralta brought down Espinosa in the box and was shown a straight red card. Espinosa converted the second penalty to ensure the win. Juárez finishes the season in 18th place with seven points while América finishes in fourth place with 32 points and will face archrivals Chivas in the Liguilla.
Morelia 3, Veracruz 1: Give credit to Morelia, as they knew their Liguilla hopes were realistically done and still did a professional job against Veracruz. Jocelyn Flores put Morelia up in the 10th minute when she got to a cross and hit a shot that went past goalkeeper María Ayala. In the 37th, Karla Jiménez hit a fantastic free kick from just outside of the box to double the lead. In the 53rd, Jiménez hit almost an identical free kick that Ayala stopped, but the rebound went to Sahiry Cruz and she didn’t miss. Karla Estala converted a penalty for Veracruz in stoppage time but the game was far out of reach. Morelia finishes in ninth place, missing out on the Liguilla by goal differential while Veracruz finishes in 15th place with 17 points over a tumultuous season.
Pachuca 1, Guadalajara 2: There’s a chance these two will meet up again in the Liguilla, but for now Chivas has the bragging rights after beating Pachuca 2-1. Rubí Soto put Guadalajara up in the 56th minute when she was able to slip past the defense and fire a shot from distance that goalkeeper Paola Manrique couldn’t reach. María Sánchez hit a shot in the 73rd minute that took a strange hop and gave Manrique a hard time for the visitors’ second goal of the evening. Pachuca was able to get a consolation goal in stoppage when Yaritzi Rodríguez converted a penalty. Pachuca finishes the season in third place with 36 points and will face Toluca in the Liguilla, while Chivas finishes in fifth with 31 to set up a Clásico Nacional.
Toluca 2, Santos 0: Both teams had ample chances in this one but ultimately Toluca was able to convert and walked away with all three points on the evening. Silvia López got her head on a Karla Saavedra corner kick in the 51st to put Toluca up for good, and Karen Becerril was able to wind her way through the defense before hitting a screamer of a shot into the back of the net in the 83rd. Toluca ends the season in sixth place with 31 points while Santos finishes in 16th place with 16 points.
Monterrey 2, UNAM Pumas 1: Rayadas had nothing to play for and yet still managed to win, breaking multiple records in the process. Desirée Monsiváis scored her 17th goal of the season just before halftime, converting a penalty to draw level with Pachuca’s Viridiana Salazar. Alicia Cervantes hit a beautiful goal in the 70th minute after weaving her way through Pumas’ defense. Edna Santamaria hit a fantastic curling shot off of the inside of the post eight minutes later but it wasn’t enough. Superlíder Rayadas finish the season with 48 points and will face Xolos Femenil in the first round while Pumas finishes in 14th place with 19 points.
Bye week: Puebla finished the season in 12th place with 21 points.
- 1 Rayadas vs. 8 Atlas - Ida (First leg): Thursday, November 14; Vuelta (Second leg): Monday, November 18
- 2 Tigres UANL vs. 7 Tijuana - Ida: Thursday, November 14; Vuelta: 4:55 PM Eastern / 1:55 PM Pacific Sunday, November 17 (TUDNxtra 6)
- 3 Pachuca vs. 6 Toluca - Ida: 5:55 PM Eastern / 2:55 PM Pacific Friday, November 15 (TUDNxtra 4); Vuelta: Monday, November 18
- 4 América vs. 5 Chivas - Ida: Friday, November 15; Vuelta: 4:30 PM Eastern / 1:30 PM Pacific Monday, November 18 (TUDN)