Saturday night offers Liga MX fans back-to-back blockbusters as the Super Clásico follows the Clásico Regiomontano with all four teams crowding the top 5 of the league table.
The Clásico Regio has usurped the title as the best Liga MX derby in recent years as Monterrey and Tigres boast deep-pocketed owners who have eagerly bankrolled all-star rosters.
Meanwhile, Guadalajara hit the skids after winning its last league title back in the Clausura 2017. That glorious campaign was also the last time the Chivas defeated América in a regular-season match (the Aguilas are 7-4-0 since then, outscoring the Goats 18-5).
This time around, “El Rebaño Sagrado” is a cocky bunch (Guadalajara captain Víctor Guzmán declared after losing to Puebla last weekend that the Chivas would take out their frustration on América) with tactical discipline that has paid off with solid defensive performances.
Capt. Fury mocks cuddly Super Clásico
When América and Guadalajara squared off back in the day, fireworks were a virtual guarantee, fireworks in both attacking flair as well as physical confrontation. The Battle Royale at Estadio Azteca in May 1983 is Exhibit A.
Ahead of tonight’s contest, league officials and sponsors thought it necessary to promote the Super Clásico, but the tone of the campaign drew the ire of América’s Capitán Furia.
Alfredo Tena – captain and defensive stalwart of the Aguilas of the 1980s – could not believe his eyes. “First, if it were up to me, I would not interact with the enemy … and the notion that the Clásico need to be advertised to the public?”
Homegrown players vs mercenaries?
Since the Chivas are the only team who traditionally refuses to sign non-Mexican players, it’s not unusual that their roster is sprinkled with home-grown talent.
Through the years, América has developed a top-notch academy system, producing current stars such as Raúl Jiménez, Edson Álvarez, Diego Lainez and Diego Reyes, each of whom has spent time in Europe.
However, fifth-place América will arrive to Estadio Akron tonight with just one player who came up through their own academy system – defender Emilio Lara. Of course, Lara – just 20 years old – is being touted as a candidate for Europe .
Fourth-place Guadalajara, on the other hand, boasts a roster featuring 17 players with Chivas DNA in their blood.
Clash of northern powerhouses on tap
Monterrey and crosstown rivals Tigres feature talent-laden rosters, and both could field two competitive teams with the players on hand.
Add the fact that fans of the Nuevo León-based clubs are among the most rabid and most loyal in Liga MX and the atmosphere on the pitch and in the stands is guaranteed to be frenzied.
The Rayados are threatening to clinch the No. 1 seed at the top of the stretch run – Monterrey can clinch a Liga MX playoff berth with a win today – and they will arrive at the cauldron that is “El Volcán” on a 10-game unbeaten streak (9-1-0) that has them 7 points clear at the top of the table.
Tigres enter the Clásico Regiomontano hoping to find consistency especially on offense as Marco Antonio Ruiz’s team has managed just 4 goals in the past seven games.
Early-season acquisitions Nico Ibánez (reigning Liga MX scoring champ) and Diego Lainez are still trying to fit in, while the crowded midfield has become a bickering unit.
This should be a crackling affair with Monterrey’s high-flying attack challenging one of the stingiest defenses in Liga MX, and Tigres’ all-world striker André-Pierre Gignac looking to inspire his mates on offense (without appearing to be bitching at them, a balancing act he does not always pull off).
Elsewhere in Liga MX
Brian Lozano scored twice while Julián Quiñones added his fifth of the season and the Zorros – who’ve played five games in 15 days – benefited from a Gastón Silva own-goal.
In Mazatlán, visiting Necaxa edged the last-place Cañoneros 1-0 to remain above the three-team Relegation Zone. Ricardo Monreal scored deep into first-half stoppage time for the lone goal and the Rayos momentarily climbed into 12th place.
In Tijuana, the Xolos staked visiting Toluca to a 3-0 first-half lead then stormed back to forge a 3-3 tie, a result that could see the Diablos Rojos drop from second to fourth. As for Tijuana, the Border Dogs fell from 12th to 13th.