Here are your five conclusions from the last week of play in the 2019 Liga MX Clausura regular season.
Club América struggle to beat Veracruz, lose Edson Alvarez
It was a lot tougher than most initially anticipated, but on Friday, Club América bid farewell to Veracruz’s time in Liga MX with a 2-0 win over the Tiburones Rojos. The defending champion’s favoritism has taken a hit during the last few weeks, but as ever, las Águilas will go into the Liguilla as one of the top candidates to win the trophy.
That said, while it is true that there is no such thing as managing expectations when you are a big team like América, there is no doubt that Aguilas fans will be holding their breathe for news on the injured Edson Alvarez. Alvarez played a huge role for América in last season’s Liguilla, and a possible absence in the Quarterfinals round would be a big blow for Miguel Herrera’s side.
And so, it’s the Clásico Joven again
The great and cruel thing about the Liguilla is that it doesn’t matter how you got there, what matters is how you finish. After their 1-1 draw with Monarcas Morelia, Cruz Azul will go into their Quarterfinal matchup against rivals América unbeaten in their last ten league matches but aware that one bad game could cost them the whole tournament. You only need to go back to last season when Cruz Azul was undoubtedly the best team of the tournament, but ultimately went on to lose in the final to Las Águilas.
In the past, Cruz Azul and Club América have had their handful of meaningful encounters, and in many ways, with 22 years without a league title and counting, it almost seems like destiny wants La Máquina to overcome Las Águilas first before even thinking of lifting the title ever again.
Chivas test Tigres but say goodbye to season with a defeat
Chivas put an end to another frustrating campaign on Saturday as the Rojiblancos bowed out of the Clausura with a 2-1 defeat to Tigres. Following their gritty performance over León last week, Tomas Boy’s squad had its moments, but it wasn’t enough against a Tigres team that arrived fresh off their CONCACAF Champions League final defeat to rivals Monterrey.
With the 2019 Clausura now out of the way, Chivas will face what in theory should be a fight to avoid relegation. The thing is nobody actually thinks Chivas have a chance of going down, given just how gray the relegation/promotion rules in Liga MX are. What is clear is that Chivas will need to get better, and obviously, it all starts with getting a better coach. Last time the team was in a similar situation, a guy named Matias Almeyda arrived to the club. Evidently, they are going to need somebody to come in and have a similar impact.
Xolos de Tijuana become the last invitee to the Liguilla
With seven out of eight teams already qualified to the 2019 Liga MX Clausura Liguilla, the eighth team would be decided in a winner take all match between Xolos de Tijuana and Puebla.
From the start, La Franja tried their outmost to break through the Fronterizos and came close in the first half when the VAR had to be called into action for what appeared to be a Puebla goal. But in the second period, La Franja hit the self-destruct button, and following a red card to Vladimir Loroña, it all came crashing down for El Chelis’s team, who went on to lose the match 4-0.
A place in the Liguilla is something you try to grab by any means necessary, and in the case of Tijuana, they simply wanted it more than their Puebla counterparts. Because of that, they are now getting a date against league leaders Club León, while Puebla will be watching the Quarterfinals from home.
Anything can happen in the Quarterfinals
As with every year, it’s impossible to predict what will happen in the Liguilla. For obvious reasons, the Clásico Joven will be the match most will be paying attention to, but for those looking for an upset, León vs. Tijuana and Tigres vs. Pachuca are two matchups that appear to be a lot closer than a lot of people think. Moreover, Tigres vs Pachuca quietly has the potential to be the tie of the Quarterfinals, especially considering Los Tuzos always seem to do well against Monterrey teams in the Liguilla.
#ligamxeng Liguilla matchups are set!— FMF State of Mind (@FMFSoM) May 5, 2019
1️⃣@clubleonfc vs. 8️⃣@xolos_en
2️⃣@TigresOficial vs. 7️⃣@Tuzos
3️⃣@Rayados vs. 6️⃣@ClubNecaxa
4️⃣@Cruz_Azul_FC vs. 5️⃣@ClubAmerica_EN
Who ya got advancing? pic.twitter.com/ECt4F2v9iZ
At the end, all that is left to say is to sit back and enjoy what is definitely the most exciting and unpredictable part of the Liga MX season.