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Liga MX Femenil recap: 2020 Apertura, Week 12

Heading into the international break, the Liguilla picture is becoming clearer as four teams clinch berths

Chivas v Cruz Azul - Torneo Guard1anes 2020 Liga MX Femenil Photo by Oscar Meza/Jam Media/Getty Images

It was a pivotal week for Liga MX Femenil, as Tigres, Monterrey, Atlas, and Chivas all have clinched spots in the Liguilla. While these four are now in, Tijuana has been officially eliminated from postseason play. There’s also a pretty significant gap opening up between eighth place Querétaro and the remaining teams. Toluca and Mazatlán are seven points behind while Puebla, San Luis, Santos, and Juárez are all ten points behind Gallos Blancos with just five games left to play.

Puebla F.C. 0, Necaxa 0: Brissa Rangel got her second straight shutout and sixth on the season and Doris Meza got her second of the season as Puebla and Necaxa played to a scoreless draw. Both teams may rue some missed chances, but ultimately it was the goalkeepers and defenses that came up big when needed.

Tigres UANL 3, León 1: While the first half was an even endeavor, the second half was almost all Tigres, who remain unbeaten after twelve. “Killer” Katty Martínez notched her league-leading 11th goal in the 48th minute when she got to a corner kick and hit it through traffic past Ángeles Martínez. That opened the floodgates, as five minutes later Fer Elizondo was played through into the box, drew the defenders and goalkeeper over to her and calmly slotted it across to a wide-open Belén Cruz who walked the ball in to make it 2-0. Then four minutes after that in the 57th a corner kick made its way to Akemi Yokoyama, who in her second game back after not playing for over a year scored her first career goal. Lucero Cuevas drew one back for León in the 76th, capitalizing on a mistake by Alejandra Gutiérrez. But this was as close as León would get, and Tigres continues to prove they’re the class of Liga MX Femenil.

Atlas 5, FC Juárez 0: When Atlas lost 4-1 to Cruz Azul in Week 2, I’ll freely admit I thought Atlas might have lost a step and we were seeing the ascendance of La Máquina. Ten weeks later, it doesn’t feel any better being wrong about both things. Atlas has won five straight, downing Juárez 5-0 on Sunday. Adriana “Boyi” Iturbide scored a hat trick, getting the first two goals before the first ten minutes had passed and getting her third on a penalty in the 54th. Alison González notched her tenth goal just before the end of the first half, and Alondra Ubaldo had an own goal when she bobbled a shot from Alexa Curiel to start the second half. While Juárez has been showing progress, Atlas is playing lights out right now, and the November 5 match against Tigres at El Volcán should be one of the best of the year.

Cruz Azul 1, Toluca 3: Cruz Azul dropped their second in a row, losing to Toluca 3-1 at Estadio 10 de Diciembre. Carolina Miranda opened the scoring in the 30th when the Cruz Azul defense gave her far too much space and far too much time on the ball in the area. Then in the 41st a defensive breakdown lead to Destinney Duron going in on an open goal to make it 2-0. Alejandra Curiel converted a penalty in the 89th minute to draw the home side within one, but then a minute and a half into stoppage Arlett Tovar unleashed a free kick from about 25 yards out that tacked on an insurance goal as Toluca helps keep them alive in the Liguilla hunt, although with seven points to make up in five games it won’t be easy.

Club Atlético de San Luis 2, Guadalajara 2: Chivas fans have to be disappointed in the result, while San Luis will use this as motivation going forward. It was the home side that got on the board first in the 11th minute when Isabel Kasis was able to get to a bouncing rebound off of a corner kick and knock it in past Blanca Félix. Chivas would answer right away however when Miriam García fought for a ball in the box and headed it in past Cintia Monreal to equalize. Chivas pulled ahead in the 60th when Carolina Jaromillo hit a shot from 20 yards out. But just before the clock struck 90 Kasis drove down the field, made a fantastic spin move to evade a defender and hit a pass to Paola Montoya. Montoya’s shot caught Félix going the wrong way and salvaged the draw for Atleti.

Gallos Blancos de Querétaro 2, Santos Laguna 1: Gallos helped themselves to hang on to the eighth place spot in the league by picking up all three points against Santos Laguna. Lizette Rodríguez was the hero for the hosts, scoring both goals. She was able to knock home a loose free kick in the 60th minute despite Santos protests for an offensive foul when a player was knocked down in the box so hard she lost a shoe. Then seven minutes later she lost her mark on a great ball forward and hit a shot past Paola Calderón, who had come way off of her line. Santos pulled one back in the 86th when Texas native Lucy Lara got her head onto a corner kick, but they couldn’t find an equalizer. Santos is still mathematically alive, ten points behind Querétaro with five games left to play.

América 1, Monterrey 2: The marquee matchup of the week didn’t disappoint. The teams were level going into the half, but after the break things opened up. Desirée Monsiváis got her 12th goal in 10 games when she converted a penalty in the 58th minute. América equalized however in the 64th when Dani Espinosa hit a free kick that fooled Claudia Lozoya, staying on the ground and going into the corner rather than attempting to bend one over the wall. But América conceded another penalty late and Rebeca Bernal converted it in the 83rd to give the visitors the win. To add injury to insult América lost Jenn Muñoz with a broken wrist, and she joins Ximena Ríos (broken toe) and Veronica Pérez (meniscus) on the injured list.

Pachuca 3, Mazatlán FC 0: A good win for Pachuca, who sit in sixth place and find themselves just two points behind América. Blanky Serrano started things off with a flourish, hitting a beautiful left-footed shot from a tight angle just outside the box that went far post in the third minute. Then it was the Virigol show, as Viridiana Salazar found the form that has eluded her for a good chunk of this season. In the seventh minute she got to a pass inside of the box, bowled over Nallelly Magaña, and easily shot one past Mariana Zárraga. Then in the 31st she was able to take advantage of Zárraga dropping the ball and tapping it in.

Club Tijuana 0, UNAM Pumas 0: Pumas has to be disappointed to not get a win against Tijuana, although Xolos Femenil has been playing better soccer as of late, getting draws in three of their last four matches. Itzel González got her second shutout of the season for Tijuana while Melany Villeda got her third straight and sixth overall clean sheet.

Next week:

Liga MX Femenil will be off for an international break, returning Thursday, October 29.

Thursday, October 29:

16. León (2-3-7) vs. 8. Gallos Blancos de Querétaro (6-2-4)

Saturday, October 31:

10. Mazatlán FC (4-1-7) vs. 15. Cruz Azul (2-3-7)

9. Toluca (4-1-7) vs. 3. Atlas (9-2-1)

Sunday, November 1:

11. Puebla F.C. (2-4-6) vs. 1. Tigres UANL (11-1-0)

17. Necaxa (2-1-9) vs. 13. Santos Laguna (2-4-6)

Monday, November 2:

4. Guadalajara (9-2-1) vs. 6. Pachuca (7-1-4)

14. FC Juárez (3-1-8) vs. 5. América (7-3-2)

2. Monterrey (11-0-1) vs. 7. UNAM Pumas (6-3-3)

18. Club Tijuana (0-3-9) vs. 12. Club Atlético de San Luis (3-1-8)

Number indicates table position. Record is in W-D-L format.