Wild scramble on tap for Season Finale Weekend

Pachuca and Monterrey will battle over the No. 2 seed in the Liga MX playoffs when the Tuzos visit the Rayados on Saturday night. (Photo by Jaime Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images)
Pachuca and Monterrey will battle over the No. 2 seed in the Liga MX playoffs when the Tuzos visit the Rayados on Saturday night. (Photo by Jaime Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images) /
Liga MX M17
Puebla will have to try and slow down the América juggernaut in hopes of improving its seeding in the Liga MX playoffs. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) /

Glum Mexico soccer fans can try to shake off the nightmares of the Colombia Collapse by turning to Liga MX action and Season Finale Weekend.

Ten clubs have clinched spots in the Liga MX playoffs while five others are vying for the remaining two wildcard berths. No team has secured a seeding yet although América, Monterrey and Pachuca have clinched first-round byes though their final position is still up in the air.

All nine games will feature at least one game with something at stake and that should make for fascinating fútbol.

To help fans understand what’s at stake in each game, here is a little preview of what’s in store.

Liga MX Matchday 17

The season finales kick off with a Friday double-header, beginning with América at Puebla and followed by UNAM at FC Juárez.

América (35 points) tops the Liga MX table and are working on an 11-game unbeaten streak (10-1-0) while the host Camoteros (22) are fighting to play a home game in the wildcard round. The Aguilas can finish no worse than second but “La Franja” could slip to 11th. If Puebla snaps América’s streak, Nicolás Larcamón’s men could finish 6th.

Up at the border, the visiting Pumas have already been eliminated and FC Juárez (19) needs a win and some help. If Atlético de San Luis (18) and Mazatlán FC (17) fail to win, a victory sends the Bravos into the Liga MX postseason for the first time in franchise history.

In three of Saturday’s four games, both teams will be jostling for playoff positioning and in the other Necaxa visits two-time defending Liga MX champs Atlas desperate for a win.

The 11th-place Rayos (19) could drop out of the playoff picture with a loss, but a win – and two or three lucky breaks – could see “Los Electricistas” wind up hosting a wildcard game, reaching as high as the No. 7 seed. Atlas has already been dethroned and can finish no higher than 17th.

Atlético de San Luis (18) currently holds the 12th and final Liga MX playoff spot and they travel to Monterrey to take on Tigres. The host Tigres have a very slim chance of claiming a first-round playoff bye (they need a big win and a big Santos Laguna loss) but they can not drop lower than No. 6, so they’ll be at home in the first round of the playoffs. As for San Luis, a loss could dump the Tuneros out while a win could see them reach No. 9.

The best game of the night – and perhaps of the weekend – pits second place Monterrey (34) against No. 3 Pachuca (31). If Pachuca defeats the host Rayados by 2 goals, they could swipe the No. 2 seed right out from under Víctor Manuel Vucetich and his Striped Gang. Whatever the outcome, both squads will rest on Wildcard Weekend, waiting to see who their quarterfinal opponents will be.

The Saturday nightcap should be a doozy: Chivas (22) at Cruz Azul (21). Both teams have clinched wildcard spots and will also have the advantage of playing a day after Puebla. If Puebla loses, Guadalajara knows a draw will guarantee a home game on Wildcard Weekend while the Cementeros will realize that a win could boost them into 7th place. Such an outcome would be nothing short of a miracle for “La Máquina” as they were the Liga MX laughing stock after losing to América 7-0 last month.

Apertura 2022 regular season ends with Sunday triple-header

If you only want to watch two of these three matches, skip the first one: last place Querétaro at fifth place Toluca (24). The Gallos Blancos have been the worst team in Liga MX all season while the Diablos Rojos look set to earn a home game in the wildcard round after missing the Liga MX playoffs last season.

Later, Mazatlán FC (16) heads to fourth place Santos Laguna (30) and the visitors hope to still have a last-gasp chance at reaching the playoffs for the second consecutive season. The Cañoneros will praying that the FC Juárez, Atlético de San Luis and Necaxa results go their way otherwise they might not have anything to play for on Sunday. As for the host Guerreros, they’ll be playing to claim the final first-round bye. A bad loss could send them tumbling down to the No. 5 seed and a wildcard match, but that is unlikely.

Next. Liga MX Power Rankings. dark

Finally, León (21) hosts Tijuana (16). The visiting Xolos are hanging by a thread even before the weekend starts, in 15th place with a horrendous –12 goal differential. They need FC Juárez, Mazatlán FC and either Necaxa or Atlético de San Luis to lose. Then they have to beat the Esmeraldas who will hope that Guadalajara and Cruz Azul play to a draw, an outcome which will allow them to claim a home game on Wildcard Weekend with a win over Tijuana.