Liga MX W2W4: Tigres vs. America tops crowded weekend of Apertura action
The Super Clasico between Chivas and America will dominate discussion this weekend but there are plenty of intriguing Liga MX matchups on the docket. We have a look.
Tigres-Club America tops packed weekend schedule
If Tigres and Club America faced off in the 2018 Apertura final in a couple of months time, not many would be surprised. Saturday's game in Estadio Universitario pits two of Mexico's best teams and is the pick of the weekend games in a round of matches that is stacked.
Eighth-placed Tigres may have crashed out of the Copa MX to Pachuca on Wednesday, but they are quietly picking up results in league play without really hitting top gear. French striker Andre-Pierre Gignac is in form and closing in on a new contract and the side has now gone five games without a loss in Liga MX.
The headlines surrounding Club America may not have been so positive in the last couple of weeks, but Las Aguilas have won 11 points of the last possible 15 in Liga MX and could even go top of the league with a win against Tigres. If Mateus Uribe had scored the last-gasp penalty in last weekend's 1-1 draw with Chivas, America would be going into this game as the leader.
Diego Lainez is out for Miguel Herrera's side with an injury, while a report has suggested Andres Ibarguen could replace Cecilio Dominguez in the starting XI.
Neither Ricardo Ferrera nor Herrera is likely to send out their teams to be cautious and if America can get enough possession against a Tigres team that tends to slowly grind its opposition down at home, this promises to be a game not to miss. -- Tom Marshall
Monterrey looking to take advantage of dazed Cruz Azul
There has been something strange about Cruz Azul since mid-September. After kicking the Apertura off with an eight-game unbeaten streak, La Maquina have recently faltered with two losses in their last three games. Once seen as an impeccable side with no real weakness, the Mexico City team has now raised some eyebrows after earning defeats by average clubs such as Necaxa and Pachuca.
Although Cruz Azul remains in first place in the league table, there now appears to be an opportunity for fellow Liga MX clubs to capitalize on the vulnerable squad.
That's where 4th-placed Monterrey can step in when they visit Cruz Azul this Saturday. On paper, Los Rayados have one of the most imposing rosters in the league. With names such as Dorlan Pabon, Rogelio Funes Mori and Jesus Gallardo in the attack, Monterrey can easily go toe-to-toe with any of the best Liga MX teams.
Despite the fact that clinching a victory at the gargantuan Estadio Azteca is much easier said than done, Monterrey couldn't have asked for a more perfect time to face Cruz Azul. Keeping in mind that the hosts could potentially drop one to two spots in the league table, one of the bigger questions this weekend will be if the current 1st-placed team can hold off a Monterrey squad that is capable of securing a surprise away win. -- Cesar Hernandez
Chivas and Pumas refocus on league
Following their elimination from the Copa MX, Chivas and Pumas meet just a few weeks after clashing in the aforementioned competition. In that meeting, Pumas snapped a 36-year streak of being dominated, having not been able to beat Chivas away from home.
This match could very well be a postseason preview, as both clubs are expected to finish in the top eight. Coming off a 1-1 draw in the Clasico Nacional, confidence in Jose Cardozo is growing among the Guadalajara faithful, a far cry from the criticism leveled on UNAM boss David Patino, who has coughed up late leads due to conservative tactics on more than one occasion this season.
Finally, an entertaining subplot involves loanee Jose Carlos Van Rankin, a Pumas product who has been lighting up defenses with Chivas in the Apertura 2018. Will the team exercise a potentially expensive purchase option in the coming months? -- Eric Gomez