Almost halfway through the Clausura 2016 season and the top teams look to stay ahead of the pack while teams in the middle of the table hope to stay within reaching distance of one the eight Liguilla spots.
Pumas look for valuable away win
This time last year Pumas was leading the league, now out of a possible 21 points the Mexican City club has only earned nine points. Luckily for them Friday night they travel to face Veracruz who’s yet to win so far this season. While at times Veracruz has looked better than a team who has only been able to earn four draws so far this year, they have lacked any ability to put together a whole game. Pumas are just one point behind a group of teams who are in the Liguilla spot so if they hope to make a push into those spots they can’t allow to let points against weaker teams’ slip. Look for Pumas to try and get three points Friday night.
Cruz Azul hope to slow down Monterrey
After an emotional and hard fought draw against rival Club America, Cruz Azul now have to take on top of the table Monterrey. While Cruz Azul will have to do without head coach Tomas Boy for receiving a red card last week, the team has improved over the last three weeks. While the improvement has been a welcomed sight and Cruz Azul are playing at home, the task on taking on a smoking hot Monterrey will be great. Los Rayados have been on a roll from the start of the season and have only been defeated once so far this season. They have shown the maturity and mental toughness to go into places like Estadio Azul and grab all three points.
America and Tigres match titanic battle
Two of the last three champions face off in Monterrey as two of the favorites go head to head with America visiting Tigres. Both teams have played as expected and are in the thick of things in the Liga MX standings as America sit fourth with 12 points and Tigres 5th with 11 points. What could throw the match into a loop is whether either team will rest the majority of their starters as both teams are between CONCACAF Champions League ties. America will be returning from a long trip from Seattle, while Tigres have to travel to Utah midweek. This match could be an appetizer for future battles in both the CCL and the Liga MX Liguilla in the coming months.
Mid table battle up north
Seven games into the season and the battle between Santos hosting Puebla show how tight the Liga MX is. Puebla and Santos are only separated by one point as Puebla have 11 and Santos have 10, and yet find themselves in 6th and 9th place respectively. It’s a big matchup, but one that could see Santos rest the majority of their first team with one eye on their second leg battle against LA Galaxy of the MLS midweek. If that is the case Puebla have a great chance to get some big away points.
Battle of the cats
After a season that saw Chiapas make the Liguilla in surprising form, they’ve struggled so far this season as they’ve only been able to collect one win. Leon on the other hand have been stupendous this season and have not missed a beat in the middle of a coaching change. Facing Chiapas at home should allow them to keep rolling and keep pressure on Monterrey for the top spot in the league table.
Morelia hope to keep building
Entering the season Morelia was expected to be battling near the bottom of the battle and just hope to survive the relegation battle. While they’re far from clear in the relegation table, they have been a pleasant surprise as they’ve shown grit and battled to a respectable nine points so far this year. So much so that the monarchs have so far only lost once this season. Queretaro on the other hand have not reached the heights they would have hoped but a midweek win in the CCL over DC United might be what just starts their league. This game could be a low scoring battle with Morelia having no problem making the match an ugly drag out match.
Atlas with golden opportunity
Last week Atlas finally broke a five game winless streak by pulling off the upset of match day 7 by beating Pachuca. Now they have a great chance to build off that win and start getting momentum as they play the winless Dorados. While playing away is always difficult in Liga MX, Dorados haven’t shown anything that says they’re fighting for anything. They sit at the bottom of the league with zero points, and each week continue to fall deeper and deeper in the relegation hole. A win would be nice for the home crowd, but Rafael Marquez and company should be able to come into Dorados and get a win.
Pachuca look to bounce back
Last week Pachuca became the last team in the league to lose for the first time. Now they hope to bounce back with visiting Toluca, who haven’t been able to get out of second gear so far this season. While Pachuca have looked fantastic and sit third in the league with 14 points, Toluca have half of that with 7 points and have drawn too many matches at this point of the season. While Toluca are a strong team at home, there is a high chance they play a secondary team with a trip to South America waiting for them midweek in the Copa Libertadores.
Tijuana hope to add to Chivas misery
While they were slow to get started Tijuana have started to click in recent weeks and look like a team that’s building up. On the other hand, the once great Chivas are still winless in the season and sit second to last in the relegation table. A big thanks should be sent from them to Dorados, who’s terrible play has kept Chivas out of being in a serious threat from going down. Chivas have let leads slip, failed to create chances, and make the most of the chances they do create. Tijuana should feel confident about their chances of going into Guadalajara and get a win and keep Chivas in the bottom of the barrel of the Liga MX.