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Liga MX

Unpredictability in Cruz Azul vs. Club America matchup the beauty of title decider

2:20 PM EST 12/16/18
Miguel Herrera Club America Pedro Caixinha Cruz Azul
The last several days have been full of looking at stats and trends, but the reality is no one knows what will happen Sunday night

We know what to do in rivalry games. We throw record books out the window.

When it is a rivalry match in the second leg of a final after a scoreless draw, we might as well light them on fire (don't - we might need those later).

Heading into Sunday's deciding match between Cruz Azul and Club America, there have been so many attempts to make sense of what is going to happen. Reporters, doing our jobs, have dug up trends. Analysts are pointing out the potential battle areas. Doctors have been cagey about who might be fit and who won't be.

We have been reminded about what Cruzazulear means. We know that neither team has left in the Azteca all season. We hear about America's attacking record and how they have done without Mateus Uribe in the lineup.

We have watched Moises Munoz's diving header over and over, the America goalkeeper frozen in time turning around the 2013 Clausura final with America winning a title over Cruz Azul in the most unlikely of circumstances.

We have seen Record publish covers for fans of each team to pick up Sunday morning, each proclaiming victory for the preferred side so you can be the first on your block to have the cover that says you are the champion.

Yet we have no idea what's going to happen. That is the beauty of the final, and the reward for fans after suffering through a first leg that honestly wasn not all that exciting.

"Before the start of the game, I spoke with the players about the statistics and I asked them to focus on the preparation for the match, that they avoid distractions," Cruz Azul manager Pedro Caixinha said. "I think our biggest area of work has been being humble. We're only interested in one thing: Winning."

The Liguilla is brutal, and achieving that goal of winning . Managers have only three days to make adjustments between legs. Players have three days to recover. There can only be so many wrinkles or tweaks put into a game plan - and while the clubs do have some depth only so many modifications to a lineup to be made.

That is why the coaches are looking to have their team prepared and worrying about that far more than the streaks and stats or even what the opposition game plan is going to be Sunday night.

"They're really disputed matches. If you stay still for a moment, you might be picking the ball out of your net," Club America manager Miguel Herrera said. "I'm not interested in how they might play. We've got the skill to beat them. They defended well, the score stayed 0-0 but I see myself happy Sunday, winning the match."

Herrera does have success in finals, but he knows as well as anyone that we can't predict what will happen over the final 90 minutes, try as we might. Liga MX's reputation as a league in which anything can happen is well-earned. That iss why the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, these two giants who each took steps this offseason to make sure they could get to this point, actually arriving to the final is an achievement in itself. 

Now, it is up to the players on the field to make something happen. With a goal required, it will be more exciting than the first leg. And if previous meetings are anything to go off, it will be something we're talking about for a long time.