Matchday 15: Saturday's slate offers up a battle for first place and the 'Clásico Regio'

First-place Toluca visits 2nd-place América while 3rd-place Rayados take on slumping Tigres in Monterrey derby
Toluca visits América on Saturday night with first place at stake. Currently atop the standings, Toluca boasts the best offense in Liga MX, while the defending champs have given up the fewest goals.
Toluca visits América on Saturday night with first place at stake. Currently atop the standings, Toluca boasts the best offense in Liga MX, while the defending champs have given up the fewest goals. / Agustin Cuevas/GettyImages

A glance at the Matchday 15 calendar might lead Liga MX fans to focus their attention on Saturday’s attractive triple-header, but four of the other six matches have playoff implications. 

No doubt, Saturday’s first-place showdown between América and Toluca offers a fantastic clash between the league’s stingiest defense and the top-scoring offense in Liga MX. 

But that might not even be the best game of the night.

Kicking off right after the final whistle blows in Estadio Azteca will be the “Clásico Regiomontano,” arguably the best derby in Liga MX.

Have extra popcorn ready on Saturday

Before the two big games featuring the top three teams in the standings plus 7th-place Tigres, 5th-place Pachuca welcomes a desperate Guadalajara side to Estadio Hidalgo.

The Tuzos burrowed their way out of “El Volcán” last week with a stunning 3-0 road win over Tigres. A win over the inconsistent Chivas could clinch a playoff spot for Guillermo Almada’s men.

Guadalajara finds itself in 9th place after a tougher-than-it-should-have-been 3-2 win over last-place Puebla, a victory that left the Chivas in possession of a Play-In berth with three games remaining.

“El Rebaño Sagrado” can expect a fast-paced game with plenty of goals as Pachuca is No. 2 in Liga MX with 31 goals scored but the 25 goals the Tuzos have allowed is fifth-most.

América plays host to a high-flying Diablos Rojos side that has punctured their opponents’ nets 32 times this season. Toluca will test its scoring acumen against the best defense in Liga MX as the Aguilas have conceded just 8 goals in 14 games.

Both teams have 29 points, but the Aguilas fell out of first place (on goal differential) after a 1-1 draw at Santos Laguna last week. This allowed Toluca to climb atop the Liga MX table thanks to a 4-1 rout of Atlas.

The Saturday nightcap is the 91st regular-season “Clásico Regio” which features 3rd-place Monterrey coming off a dominant display against Lionel Messi and Inter Miami against a struggling Tigres side.

Monterrey sits 1 point behind Toluca and América so a draw at Estadio Azteca and a Rayados win against their bitter rivals would see Monterrey move into first place.

For its part, Tigres is hearing whispers that its Golden Generation – winners of five Liga MX titles in an eight-year span – is fading out. 

“Los felinos” were eliminated from the Concacaf Champions Cup on Tuesday after an uninspired performance at home against Columbus Crew while Robert Siboldi’s men have lost three of their past five in Liga MX play.

Right now, Tigres are holding onto a Play-In spot, but are sorely in need of points to ensure postseason participation.

Contenders or pretenders?

Friday’s slate of games sees three clubs with a chance to prove their playoff-worthiness as well as a fourth team with a last-gasp opportunity to demand a postseason invitation.

Tonight’s curtain-raiser has 8th-place Querétaro hosting Mazatlán FC. The Gallos Blancos have won four straight to climb into the thick of the playoff race. 

Querétaro has only been average at Estadio Corregidor (2-3-2) but the 15th-place Cañoneros have not won a road game all season. 

Next up, 6th-place Necaxa gets a visit from 12th-place Santos Laguna.

The host Rayos are enjoying a bounce-back season (after finishing last a season ago) and have a solid 3-3-1 home record. “Los Electricistas” desperately need to win this match because they close the Clausura 2024 against Monterrey and Tigres.

Santos has experienced a revival since firing Pablo Repetto and bringing in Ignacio Ambriz (a Necaxa legend, by the way). The Guerreros have gone 3-1-1 in their past six to keep their playoff hopes alive, but they remain 5 points out of the final Play-in spot.

Finally, 4th-place Cruz Azul faces last-place Puebla and the host Cementeros know they can’t afford to drop points against the worst team in Liga MX.

“La Máquina Azul” is just 2 points above 7th-place Tigres and a Play-In spot. First-year coach Martín Anselmi knows the Blue Machine must stay in the top 6 or risk seeing his promising debut season turn into a question mark.

Sunday’s Liga MX schedule

Matchday 15 comes to a close with a mostly forgettable Sunday triple-header. 

Only three teams have been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention and two or them are in action Sunday. 

The day begins with 16th-place Atlas playing host to 13th-place Atlético de San Luis. Atlas is done while the Tuneros will be eliminated with a loss or draw.

The final game of the weekend pits 17th-place Tijuana against 14th-place FC Juárez. The host Bravos are on life support (–8 points out of the final playoff berth with just 9 points remaining) while the Xolos are already planning for next season.

The middle game Sunday will feature a genuine playoff atmosphere as UNAM hosts León. The two teams are tied at 20 points (UNAM in 10th, León in 11th on goal differential) and the loser will find themselves behind the 8-ball with just two games remaining.


A draw would favor the host Pumas, but could lead to a mad scramble for the final Play-In spot since it could leave Mazatlán FC, FC Juárez, San Luis and Santos Laguna in the fight for another week depending on their results.