León, Tigres red-hot as Liga MX hits home stretch

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Liga MX Leon America

Fans prepare to enter Estadio Victoria ahead of the Necaxa-Tijuana match on Friday night. (Photo by Cesar Gomez/Jam Media/Getty Images)

Several Liga MX stadiums given green light

No doubt, owners experienced a brief sense of gratification as fans were allowed back in a few stadiums for Matchday 14. But that could be momentary.

With the recent resurgence of Covid-19 across Europe and the United States, there is little doubt that Mexico will see a second wave of the virus in the near future. We’ll keep a close eye on how local governments and Liga MX officials react in the coming weeks.

Necaxa was the first team to allow fans into its stadium and the Rayos treated supporters to a second consecutive victory. The 2-0 triumph over Tijuana lifted the “Electricistas” into the Liga MX playoff picture while the Xolos fell to 0-0-6 on the road and continuing uncertainty.

Goals by Spaniard Ian González and youngster Fernando Arce Jr helped Necaxa climb into 11th place with three matches remaining. The Rayos spent three weeks in last place during a 5-game losing streak that was halted by a 1-1 draw at UNAM on Matchday 12.

Tijuana, meanwhile, is now in 14th place, after preseason predictions suggested the Xolos could be a dark horse title contender after a significant roster shake-up. However, a coronavirus outbreak last month threw the team into turmoil and new coach Pablo Guede has not been able to right the ship.

The Xolos do have a chance at a trophy, however, as they will face the Rayados in the Copa MX Finals. The first leg of the series will be played in Tijuana on Oct. 21 with the return match in Monterrey on Nov. 4.

As for the Rayados, they lifted themselves securely into the Liga MX playoff conversation with an impressive 3-1 win over Puebla on Saturday, the club’s first win at home since Aug. 30. Monterrey had lost to cross-town rivals Tigres in its previous contest at the Estadio BBVA Bancomer and were held to a 1-1 tie by lowly Atlas on Sept. 8.

In a surprising turn of events, the overachieving Pumas are making a strong effort to claim a first-round bye. While their Mexico City brethren (América and Cruz Azul) are also in the hunt for a top 4 seed, the “Universitarios” have befuddled the pundits who had them finishing the Clausura 2020 in the middle of the Liga MX table.

UNAM is unbeaten at home, boasting an impressive 5-3-0 record at the CU after squeaking by Toluca on Sunday. The win has the Pumas in second place.

León is the only other unbeaten Liga MX team “en casa,” although the Esmeraldas are unlikely to play in their home building the rest of the season.

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