The 2020 Liga MX Femenil season has been one for the books. But as remarkable as the regular season was, the Liguilla promises to be it’s own thing where anything is possible and the only thing you can expect is the unexpected.
1.) Tigres UANL vs. 8.) Pachuca:
Tigres has been utterly dominant this season. They picked up 46 out of 51 possible points on the season and finished with the most goals scored and fewest conceded in the league. Katty Martínez and Stephany Mayor were both in the top ten goalscorers, with Katty “Killer” winning the Golden Boot with 18 goals in 16 games (she missed the first match with COVID-19).
Pachuca on the other hand just made it into the playoffs, beating out Santos Laguna and Mazatlán FC by just three points. Their last win was back in Week 12 against Mazatlán, however since then they’ve lost to Chivas, Atlas, and América and drew Juárez and Monterrey. Their strength is in their offense, which is tied for seventh with 24 goals during the regular season. Viridiana Salazar lead the team with eight goals in twelve games, however she missed the last two games of the season.
Why Tigres will win: They’re one of the best teams on the planet right now, stacked from top to bottom with players that are among the best in the league. They have bona fide stars in Mayor, Martínez, and Jackie Ovalle, the latter of whom have been linked to moves to the NWSL among other top leagues.
Why Pachuca will win: Eva Espejo has continued to maximize what she has at her disposal, making Salazar the focal point of the offense. They’re also getting back Mónica Ocampo back from injury, and it’s hard to overstate how much it will mean to be able to have one of the best to ever play the game back in the lineup.
Broadcast: November 27 at 9:00 PM Central on FOX Sports 2 (Mexico); November 30 at 7:00 PM Central on TUDN (United States and Mexico)
2.) Atlas vs. 7.) Gallos Blancos de Querétaro
Atlas won nine of their last ten matches, the lone blemish a 3-0 loss to Tigres. A team with a chip on their shoulder, they’ve been almost ignored with the stellar play of Tigres, Monterrey, and cross-town rivals Chivas. But they’ve got one of the most exciting young players in the game in Alison González, who at 18 years of age scored 17 goals this season. They’ve continued to win despite losing Fabiola Ibarra for the last eight games of the season due to a knee injury. González finished second in scoring, and Adriana “Boyi” Iturbide also finished in the top ten, with her nine goals good enough to be tied for seventh place.
Querétaro is building something good with Carla Rossi at the helm. They were rather inconsistent at times, however they largely beat the teams they were supposed to beat and made it tough for the bigger teams to beat them. They only allowed 20 goals against this past season, which was seventh best in the league.
Why Atlas will win: Atlas is another team that is stacked top to bottom. They don’t really have any weaknesses, and long thought a dark horse this might be the year they’re able to shed that mantle in favor of being outright favorites.
Why Querétaro will win: Carla Rossi was the best signing of the past offseason, and this team has no expectations on them. They’re playing with house money at this point, and given Atlas’ history of folding in the playoffs they’ve got nothing to lose.
Broadcast: November 27 at 7:00 PM Central on TVC Deportes (Mexico); November 30 at 10:00 AM Central on TVC Deportes (Mexico)
3.) Monterrey vs. 6.) UNAM Pumas
Rayadas were neck and neck with Tigres all season, giving their cross-town rivals their only loss in Week 16. But they lost their last match against Atlas to drop below Las Rojinegras. Like Tigres, Atlas, and América, they’ve got two players in the top ten in goal scoring with Desirée Monsiváis in third place with thirteen and newcomer Christina Burkenroad tied with Iturbide for seventh with nine goals.
Pumas meanwhile is more defensively focused, with their 15 goals conceded third-best in the league. Goalkeeper Melany Villeda had eight shutouts in her fourteen starts, and center backs Dirce Delgado and Deneva Cagigas among the best pairings in the league. Edna Santamaria is the team’s leading goal scorer, her six goals tying her for twelfth overall in the league.
Why Rayadas will win: While they’ve been a bit streaky, they’re still the defending champions with a ridiculously talented roster. The loss to Atlas could be chalked up to them running into a hot team that’s also very good and not indicative of deeper problems.
Why Pumas will win: Much like the rest of the lower seeded teams, they have a manager in Ileana Dávila who is getting the most out of her roster. Building a defensive-minded team in a league with a wealth of offensive talent isn’t easy, yet she’s not only done it but gotten her players to buy into her system.
Broadcast: November 27 at 3:45 PM Central on TUDN (United States and Mexico); November 30 at 9:00 PM Central on FOX Sports (Mexico)
4.) Guadalajara vs. 5.) América
Chivas started the season hot, winning eight of nine and allowing just five goals over that stretch. But it’s not how you start, it’s how you end. They’ve lost their last two games, albeit to América and Tigres. Licha Cervantes scored 12 goals in her 14 games, but she missed the final two matches with an injury but she’s expected to return for the Liguilla. While she was the only player in the top ten goal scorers, Nicole Pérez and Carolina Jaromillo both just missed the cut, tying for twelfth place with six goals each.
América has been able to make it and in fifth place despite missing various key players throughout the season. Leo Cuéllar’s side has become better defensively, allowing just 15 goals over the season thanks in part to Renata Masciarelli and Jaidy Gutiérrez’ stellar goalkeeping. They do have players who can find the back of the net, with Daniela Espinosa’s twelve goals and Casandra Cuevas’ seven seeing both players wind up in the top ten.
Why Chivas will win: They have something to prove to everyone. Whether it’s Licha Cervantes proving that Rayadas leaving her to languish on the bench was a mistake, Caro Jaramillo proving Tigres letting her go was a mistake, or Chore Mejía silencing his critics, this team should have a huge chip on their shoulder to carry them throughout the Liguilla.
Why América will win: With most of their players returning to fitness, they will finally have something resembling their best eleven going into the Liguilla. They were dangerous with Jen Muñoz, Veronica Pérez, and Ximena Ríos out of the lineup. Muñoz started their last match, and Pérez and Ríos are expected back soon.
Broadcast: November 27 at 12:00 Central on TUDN (Mexico) and Facebook Live; November 30 at 5:00 PM Central on NBC Universo (United States), FOX Sports (Mexico), CHIVAS TV, Telemundo Deportes App, and Facebook Live