Liga MX returns to action tonight after the international break that took place during the past week. And headlining the night is the second match (kicking off at 11:30 ET / 10:30 CT) between last-placed FC Juárez and ‘superlíder’ Cruz Azul. There is a 21-point differential between the two, and while the home club are trying to stay out of the $120 M relegation penalty, the away side are not only attempting to lock up the 1st overall seed in domestic competition and focus on winning the CONCACAF CL, but they’re also chasing history as they attempt to become the team with the most consecutive wins in Liga MX history.
Juan Reynoso and company’s streak currently sits at 10 in a row after narrowly overcoming Atlas a couple weeks ago by a final of 3-2. With that victory, Cruz Azul tied their franchise record for most consecutive wins, accomplished only one other time back in the 1971-72 season. In other words, if La Máquina win tonight, they will have broken their all-time franchise record. But that isn’t all.
If Cruz Azul manage to win tonight, as well as next Saturday against Chivas, they will have tied the all-time Liga MX record for consecutive wins (12) achieved by only two teams - 1934-35 Necaxa and the Clausura 2019 León. Necaxa won the title that season, as the playoff system had yet to be implemented. The champion was crowned European style, with 1st place overall winning it all. León also finished the season 1st overall, but ultimately lost the Final to Tigres. This means La Máquina would become only the third team to be included in the 12 straight win club. The record-breaking 13th consecutive win match (if we do make it that far), would take place in a couple of weeks in the Azteca against nemesis América. What a game that would be.
However, the last thing they can do is get overconfident in tonight’s match if they wish to keep the record alive. Tonight, they square off against a tough FC Juárez team, when playing in the Olímpico Benito Juárez that is. They’ve only played 4 matches at home this season, during which they’ve only lost once (1-6 vs Rayados), have won once, and have drawn twice. Excluding the Monterrey game, they’ve only conceded one other goal in the remaining three matches and have scored twice. In other words, it’s been a tough pitch to score on as a visiting team and I don’t anticipate it getting any easier tonight as they know who they’re going up against. With that being said, that doesn’t take away from Juárez being the worst team in the league and Cruz Azul being heavily favored to win this match.
Apart from the their current crisis in the league table, Juárez have another even darker crisis upon them; the relegation battle. Not that they’re fighting to avoid relegation, but more like they’re battling to avoid paying the $120 M penalty. I can’t see them finishing last in the race as they’re above both Atlas and San Luis, but they have seen their 19 point advantage over Atlas reduced to just 10, and San Luis have the advantage of having played less seasons. A real tragedy would have to occur for them to finish last this year, but it doesn’t take away from the wretched performances we’ve seen from what was Luis Fernando Tena’s and now Poncho Sosa’s squad, and could end up with them paying one of the two lesser penalties.
And so, the stage is set for what in paper appears to be Cruz Azul’s no brainer 11th consecutive win. But these are the types of matches that seem to hold more surprises in store than people like to give credit for, and tonight could be another case of the same. Last vs. First; what could go wrong, right?