Will Tigres' experience be a factor or will América's class rise to the occasion?

Aguilas led Liga MX in goals while also boasting the stingiest defense

Sebastián Cáceres (left) and the América defense prevented Tigres playmaker Sebastián Córdova from getting into a comfort zone during Thursday's first leg of the Liga MX finals, a match that ended 1-1.
Sebastián Cáceres (left) and the América defense prevented Tigres playmaker Sebastián Córdova from getting into a comfort zone during Thursday's first leg of the Liga MX finals, a match that ended 1-1. / Azael Rodriguez/GettyImages
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Liga MX title to be decided tonight

We’re less than two hours away from kick-off at Estadio Azteca where Tigres and América will battle for Liga MX supremacy.

Word from Aguilas camp is that André Jardine will send out the same starting 11 that earned a 1-1 draw at “El Volcán” on Thursday night while Tigres might benefit from the return to fitness of winger Luis Quiñones though it is not clear that he will get the start.

However, “los felinos” are likely to be without central defender Samir Caetano who limped off before halftime with a thigh complaint. Fortunately for Robert Siboldi, his replacement Diego Reyes – a product of América’s youth academy – was very strong in relief. 

With home field advantage and history on its side (the Aguilas have won the Liga MX title at Fortress Azteca 11 times, while watching their opponents celebrate on the stories pitch just three times), “Los Azulcremas” enter the Gran Final as favorites.

Lies, damned lies and statistics

Instead of offering any game analysis (after all, we botched the preview of the first leg, identifying América’s fullbacks as weak links vulnerable to Tigres wingers, whereas the Aguilas were the ones that ran rampant up and down the wings on Thursday), we’re going to supply readers with a bag full of stats and trivia that won’t really inform you about the game. But they could win you a drink at a cantina on Monday.

If playoff experience were the determining factor, Tigres would be the clear winners.

The top 15 rotation players for the Northern Giants have 36 rings between them while América’s top 16 players can only boast of 15.

Goalie Nahuel Guzmán, right back Javier Aquino and striker André-Pierre Gignac played together on five championship teams, while captain Guido Pizarro

The Aguilas player with the most titles to his name is forward Julián Quiñones with four … and two of those came while he was playing with Tigres.

Fullback Miguel Layún has hoisted the Liga MX trophy three times, two of them while wearing an América jersey. His other championship ring was earned while playing for Monterrey (and the Rayados won the Apertura 2019 title at Estadio Azteca). 

Tigres might also claim to have better representation on the sidelines. Robert Siboldi has guided two teams to Liga MX glory (Santos Laguna in 2018 and Tigres last season) while Jardine is coaching in his very first Liga MX final.

Only 11 Mexican nationals were among the starting 22 on Thursday night (Sebastián Córdova, Diego Lainez, Juan Pablo Vigón, Jesús Angulo and Aquino for Tigres; Henry Martín, Julián Quiñones, Jonathan dos Santos, Luis Fuentes, Layún and Luis Malagón for América). That could be bumped up to 12 if Reyes starts in place of Samir although it could remain at 11 if Luis Quiñones is called upon to open the match since Lainez would likely cede his spot.

Next. El Tri coughs up 2-goal lead, loses to Colombia. Colombia erases 2-0 deficit, beats El Tri in stoppage time. dark

Speaking of Layún, the 35-year-old Veracruz native will be playing in his final game. The former El Tri stalwart announced his retirement in the middle of the season, but he still appears to be playing at a high level. Layún absolutely eliminated Lainez from the match, never allowing the slick-dribbling winger to pose any danger.