With 10 rounds gone in the Liga MX, things begin to shape up as far as playoff positioning goes as we near the final stretch of the regular season. Despite a couple interesting matchups at hand, the undoubted headline for this weekend is the Súper Clásico tomorrow night at 10 ET (9 CT). As we all know, it’s by far the most anticipated and hyped game of the entire regular season, although the Rayados and Tigres clásico does come somewhat close. Nothing however, bests the América and Chivas rivalry.
And so, as every round does, and Round 11 not being the expection, it brings with it another dose of BOLD PREDICTIONS. Here they are:
- Atlas defeat Pachuca and move into playoff territory. While it hasn’t been pretty, there’s no denying the impact that the arrival of Diego Cocca has had on Atlas. A squad that was broken in pieces and dead last in the league after its first five games. Since then, Cocca’s group have lost only one match in their last five, but more importantly, have gone undefeated in their last three home matches (Querétaro, Cruz Azul, and Mazatlán). Not to mention, the draw they were able to obtain on the road in the Estadio BBVA vs. Rayados. Atlas will be hosting Pachuca tomorrow at 6 ET (5 CT), and it’s important to keep in mind that while Paulo Pezzolano’s squad have only lost one match on the road thus far, they have only won one as well. While they’ve only allowed 2 goals on the road, they’ve only scored twice as well. We all know the pain Atlas are when they take a 1-0 lead. If not, ask Querétaro and Cruz Azul. I believe Pachuca’s inconsistencies on the road will bite them in this one, and Atlas will not only win again at home, where they’ve looked strong as of late, but will also bump their way into playoff territory.
- América claim SUPER CLÁSICO. It isn’t because they’re higher up in the table, and it certainly isn’t because of their acceptable home record. Heck, Chivas have nearly the same record on the road as América do at home. No. In these kinds of intense rivalry matchups, you need strength and grittiness to help lead you past your rival who will be just as gritty out there. The thing is, when it comes to these types of games, América’s players are simply more suited and ready for the type of environment that comes with them. The main reason that I see however, is that Chivas simply don’t have the talent to match Herrera’s squad, player for player, despite Vucetich being at the helm. No matter how much Chivas run on the pitch, their level of talent doesn’t compare to América’s. Not to mention, they haven’t overcome the Águilas in three and a half years now (Feb. 18, 2017). The effort and gutswill be there from both teams, but América will prevail in the end.
- Toluca break four-game winless streak. On Sunday at 1 ET (12 CT), the Diablos Rojos will play hosts to Santos Laguna. What in previous years has held up as a regularly interesting matchup, this season has lost some of its taste. With Santos selling a good part of their talented pieces over the past year, combined with Toluca’s tremendous inconsistencies, both teams arrive to this match victims of poor front office decisions, at least on the football side of things. I boldly predicted Toluca would lose their three-game win streak vs. Puebla a few weeks back, and they did. Four winless games later (1 draw, 3 losses), I now predict them to break out of their ugly drought and claim this game vs. a Santos team who has utterly disappointed on the road. With Guillermo Almada’s side owning a 2 draw, 4 loss road record, there’s just no way I can see them getting by in the sizzling hot Bombonera. Look for Toluca to win this one and get back into the top 8 conversation.
P.S.: While the León vs. Pumas Monday night matchup is the next best game this week after the Súper Clásico and one I truly wanted to boldly predict, I can’t bare to get burned in another one of Pumas’ matchups. I’ve missed every single prediction I’ve had on Pumas to lose this season, and I would’ve predicted the same here. Despite the fact Pumas have proven me wrong all season, I still don’t expect them to go deep into the playoffs. However, I will hold off on predicting their matchup this week.