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Match preview: Pumas vs Morelia

Pumas hope to continue undefeated in first place against a Morelia team that needs to bounce back soon.

Toluca v Pumas UNAM - Torneo Clausura 2020 Liga MX Photo by Angel Castillo/Jam Media/Getty Images

Pumas will try to keep their spot in first place and continue their undefeated streak as they face Morelia at home on Sunday. Pumas is the only undefeated team in Liga MX and sits in first place, a point ahead of America. Pumas will have a tough game against a Morelia team that needs to pick things up after a disappointing exit from Copa MX. Pumas has been a strong home team since Coach Michel arrived and will be favored against Morelia, but things in Liga MX are never easy and this will be no exception.

Pumas has surprised Mexico in their great start to the season. After just falling short of qualifying to the Liguilla last season, Pumas now sits at first place. Pumas has been a strong home team since last season and has won their three home games, but last Saturday they made a statement with a 3-2 win in Toluca after an exciting game. Now coming back home, they should be favored in the heat of a Sunday at 12:00 PM. Yet it will not be easy for Pumas. Morelia are a tough team that will be hard to handle. Although Pumas won against Toluca, they showed some defensive weaknesses that Toluca could have used to make them pay. Still it will be interesting to see if Pumas can build on the win against Toluca. Most eyes will be on whether new signing Juan Igancion Dinenno finally makes a start and can develop a partnership with Carlos Gonzalez. Against Toluca, Dinenno came on as a sub with Pumas trailing 2-1 and scored twice to give Pumas the win. Fans will be clamoring for the Gonzalez partnership, but they will have to wait and see with a coach like Michel, who doesn’t make many changes to their starting lineup.

Unlike Pumas, Morelia’s season has been a disappointment. After getting to the Liguilla last season and getting into the semifinals and being one goal away from defeating America, Morelia now sits in 16th place. This week they had another letdown when Tijuana eliminated them from Copa MX. The pressure is on, and under Coach Pablo Guede they need a result to get back. Few things can turn things around like a victory against the top team, and ending their undefeated record to boot. Last season, Morelia’s turnaround (in Guede’s debut) came when they defeated Pumas 2-0 at home. They are a stronger team than their record shows, with Chilean Jorge Valdivia starting to show things that make him a world class player. Pumas will have their work cut out for them, even if they are favored.

Pumas and Morelia seem to be going through different paths this season. Pumas was a team that had failed to get to the Liguilla last season and weren’t expected to do well this time, but are now in first place. Morelia meanwhile is a team that was a goal from getting to the finals last season and is now struggling and very close to last place. This game will be closer than their records show, with a Morelia side that should be doing better than they are and thus could “wake up” at any instant. Pumas meanwhile will need to continue their strong home performances to remain on top and to continue their intact record and beat the wounded Morelia. They might have enough but they will need to prove it.

TV: Sunday TUDN 1:00 PM ET/12:00 PM CT