The Liga MX regular season has come and gone in the blink of an eye and now 12 teams are getting ready to fight for the championship. Four teams have earned a first-round bye while the other eight teams will square off in the wildcard round for four spots in the quarterfinals.
America claimed the top spot in the Liga MX with a 12-2-3 record for 38 points, three more than Monterrey. The Aguilas not only dominated the tournament, but they haven’t lost since July 31. Santos and Pachuca complete the top four spots.
The other eight teams – seeded No. 5 through No. 12 – will take part in the the wildcard round. Tigres, the fifth-best team will face No. 12 Necaxa. This season, the game between the two teams ended in a goalless tie. Funny enough the history between both teams has been close. Out of 38 games, Tigres has won 13 games, and Necaxa has also won 13 games.
Toluca, the sixth-seed, will face FC Juarez, a team that won their last game to reach the wildcard phase. Things point to a Toluca win, as they had a way better season than their rivals. But history says something different. These two teams have faced eight times since Juarez joined the league, with five of those games going to the northerners. The Diablos Rojos have only won once.
Cruz Azul was the seventh best team, something that no one would think was possible two months ago after the 7-0 loss to América. Still, they rallied to save their season after changing coaches. Now they’ll be facing an old foe in León. Cruz Azul has had the upper hand winning 17 games out of 44. The felines have only won 12 of those. The ‘Maquina’ has won five out of their last six encounters including the one this season.
Finally, the best game of the four is the matchup between Chivas and Puebla. Just a year ago the two teams face each other in the same instance. The ‘Camoteros’ managed to win that game in a penalty shootout after a 2-2 tie. Now Guadalajara has a chance of revenge after a pretty good season. Puebla has been a steady team in the last couple of years but they haven’t been able to take the next step toward the finals. In their regular season meeting, Chivas defeated 1-0 Puebla, and overall have a 19-11 record against “La Franja.”
If I had to bet on which teams are going to win each game, I will go with the two top teams in Tigres and Toluca, but for the other two, I might take the bottom teams in León and Chivas. Tigres has played good football, and you can never count off André-Pierre Gignac. Cruz Azul has been a bad bet lately and Chivas has been on a roll this season.