The Liguilla race only continues to tighten and this week's matches will go a long way to deciding the playoff positions - and which team gets the drop.
|Friday, April 11|
|Saturday, April 12|
|Sunday, April 13|
All times p.m. ET
Queretaro - Atlas
A bit of a rivalry with both teams still, against all odds, in Liguilla contention. The hosting Gallos Blancos are undefeated in their last three matches, while Atlas boasts an impressive six-match unbeaten streak. Of course, both of those marks could continue at Estadio La Corregidora, which Queretaro hasn't always defended as well as it should. Atlas has the second-best record in the league away from home.
Cruz Azul - Pachuca
The league leaders were shown to be mortal but recovered from a bit of a skid with wins against America in the league and Tijuana in CONCACAF Champions League play last week. While La Maquina has its act together again, Pachuca is coming off consecutive 3-1 defeats and risks missing the postseason after a huge offseason overhaul. It won't be easy at Estadio Azul, but Pachuca will hope fixture list congestion encourages Luis Fernando Tena to rest some of his key components.
Veracruz - Pumas
El Chelis has orchestrated three straight results for Veracruz and the Tiburones Rojos will be able to keep their head above water with three more points needed to secure they'll stay in Liga MX for another year. Yet, Pumas isn't the team the eccentric boss will want to see visiting this week. The capital outfit sits third in the table and has mostly overcome the injury issues which afflicted it in the middle of the campaign with only Dario Veron and Luis Fuentes questionable for the match.
Tigres - Tijuana
Both of these clubs haven't quite met expectations this season with Tigres clawing their way back from the bottom of the table to reach the 13th position and Tijuana yo-yoing its way in and out of the Liguilla. If Xolos were ever to pick a week to get a victory away from Estadio Caliente, this might be the one to do it. It won't be easy with Tigres riding high off a Copa MX Final victory in midweek while the visitors were knocked out of the CONCACAF Champions League the same night. Not to mention that the Universitario is one of the most difficult atmospheres in Mexico and Tigres goes into this match realizing it likely will miss the postseason if it doesn't nab all three points Saturday.
Chiapas - Monterrey
Both of these clubs are still in Liguilla contention but know they'll need to be in top form and get some assistance to have any shot at making it into the knockout competition. Monterrey has avoided defeat in the past three weeks, while Jaguares couldn't beat Pumas last weekend despite a stunning goal from Aviles Hurtado. Both clubs have long-term injury absences missing out on the match, though Humberto Suazo returned for los Rayados against Santos in a 15-minute cameo. Jaguares will be without manager Sergio Bueno, who is suspended.
Puebla - America
America has been inconsistent this season, something that has been clear in the past few weeks, while Puebla has been consistently poor. The home side has shown fight and won a point in each of its past two matches. Depending on Atlante's form, Puebla might be able to survive without attaining another point in the final three weeks, but a win against America would provide some comfort. It will have to do so without injured Michael Orozco and Alberto Medina but the burden for Puebla's back line may be easier with Rubens Sambueza on the suspension list. The bad news for the relegation stragglers? America has been pretty strong on the road this season.
Toluca - Leon
Both teams are coming off of successes in continental competitions with the Red Devils booking passage to the CONCACAF Champions League final and Leon moving on to the knockout stage of the Copa Libertadores a day later. Domestically, Leon hasn't been able to match the achievements of their hosts, slumping in the season after it won the title. The visitors have played to three consecutive draws and are without a league victory in the previous five attempts. Toluca remains in striking distance of the top spot but has lost twice in its past three Liga MX contests.
Chivas - Morelia
Talk about desperation. Both clubs are looking to prove that the offseason moves their ownership groups made weren't a waste with Chivas clinging to the last playoff spot, thanks to a 3-1 win against Pachuca last week, and Monarcas still holding out hope it can move into the Liguilla and avoid being the league's most disappointing team this season. Chivas has a long injury list, which will force new manager Ricardo La Volpe to get creative to fend off the threat posed by the visitors and hang onto eight position.
Santos - Atlante
It sure looks like Atlante is going down, despite a better-than-expected campaign. Two losses in the past two weeks haven't helped matters and neither will playing a Santos team unbeaten in its past five matches. Atlante will pray Santos is still recovering from the 3-0 loss Arsenal handed it in Libertadores play or else its fate might be sealed.