Can you believe that we have actually found something that it actually older than our two gentlemen? It’s true, John Jagou, and Joel Aceves, Futmexnation’s elder statesmen are not as old as the LigaMX liguilla format, which debuted in the season before Mexico hosted the World Cup. The first time. But don’t worry, it only takes a few sips of tequila and a drag on only the finest cigar for the Gentlemen to read the tea leaves. Who is going to win the C17 championship? Take a look.
John Jagou: For the first time in nearly 15 years, Joely, squads from Chilangolandia will not be competing in the Liguilla. The C2017 post season has a puro provincia feel to it.
Joely: Yon, el Clasico Joven can still be played on Playstation!
It is a shame because we could have been talking about a Liguilla with three clasicos. It makes me realize that it that should be a regular occurrence. Given the lack of consistency of most teams we rarely see the [considered] top four clubs qualifying to the playoffs at the same time. I believe it is has been about six years since all the top teams had qualified.
JJ: a Few years ago, I noticed that the “big 4” all won on the same jornada. So I did a little exercise to see how long it had been since they had all won on the same week. I had to go back upwards of 5 years. Maybe longer. I almost had to go to the Citadel. It only goes to fortify your point about consistency.
The CDMX teams were all linked by their disastrous seasons, Each disaster was so different, yet so typical for each of the dearly departed sides.
Cruz Azul was an unqualified disaster from the start. A new coach, with little knowledge of the local league, wholesale personnel changes and, of course, they had to maintain their season cuota of Cruzazuleadas. They got it together enough to flirt ever so slightly with with post-season, but the self-inflicted wounds were too much to overcome.
Pumas started strong, unlike Cruz Azul, and also struck gold with mid-season signing, Nico Castillo. At mid-season, they were in solid position to qualify easily. But the FIFA Virus struck Castillo, and Pumas’ Achilles heel, their lack of depth, rendered their attack toothless. They responded by scoring I goal in their last month, and collecting 1 point over the last 6 games.
America started slow, as expected, got it going, as expected, but were ultimately done in by front office infighting. Ricardo Peláez, who had brought glory and silverware back to Villacoapa, was squeezed out for, I guess, being too good at his job. America might be the worst place to have any kind of success, It isn’t long before a company guy thinks they can do better. The Pelaez mess, coupled with three bad results at the end of the season finished them off.
But enough about who didn’t make it. We have quite a liguilla bracket. saints vs devils, a classic battle between good and evil, and the first place team vs a team that saved its 1st division skin in second half stoppage time. So you know that 8 seed will be the mlost relaxed team in the playoff.
Joely: Also Yon, Ame only needed 1 point out of 9 to qualify with 2 of those games being at home. they lost all three, two of them with last minute goals.
At the start of the season I had pegged my Goats to win the tourney. However, with the squad now resembling a hospital ward and a late season drop in form and I am no longer sure that will be possible. In fact this is perfect timing for rivals Atlas to avenge their 4-1 loss from two years ago that had their fans so livid, they invaded the pitch. My Chivas have now strung a four-match winless streak, and have only managed to score one goal in those games — via a dubious penalty kick.
Now, I am left with the hope that coach Matias Almeyda has been tinkering with the squad given that he had qualification in the bag and then surprises me with a better showing. But that might just be wishful thinking on my part.
JJ: It is a real shame that Chivas has been hit hard by the injury bug. At full strength, they are one of the most dynamic teams in LigaMX. Hella fun to watch. But you know, as well as I, that teams with no momentum entering la fiesta grande usually only stay for a drink or two before they are kicked out. Chivas is one of those teams right now.
The team with the most momentum is also the one that is clearly the most dangerous. Tigres was been in must-win mode for over a month. Outside of a loss in the Clásico Regio, they have not just beaten opponents, they have humiliated them. Chivas, Pumas, Xolos and Gallos all took a JCCJR-style beating at the hands of Tigres.
And Tuca’s boys get first crack at their cross-town rivals, who have also been sputtering at the wrong time.
Joely: The Clasico Regio might be one for the books especially if Tigres’ French marksman, Andre Gignac, stays on fire. Whilst the pressure in on Tigres (who have certainly managed it well), Rayados just made a good move to help take some pressure off their own team: Monterrey renewed Antonio ‘Turco’ Mohamed, whom I didn’t expect to finish the season, for two more years.
It sends a strong message to the players that the coach is there to stay. Last season it seemed as if Turco had lost the locker room but it is obvious that the team has bounced back. If they defeat Tigres, they will certainly be favorites to win the league title. If not, the directiva have faith in Mohamed to rebuild the squad and try again next season.
JJ: If I were a betting man, I would consider laying a large amount of semolians on the winner of this tie to take the LigaMX title.
The liguilla has been around since 1970, and short seasons since 1996. If neither had been adopted, we would all be singing Piojo Herrera’s praises for winning the regular season title at Xolos.
But we do have the liguilla, and all Xolos has to show for their efforts is being the latest victim of the top seed curse. As the top seed yet again, they could not have drawn a more dangerous team. Monarcas needed a last second goal to save them from the drop. Raul Ruidiaz’ goal not only spared the butterflies, it also won the Peruvian the scoring title. And now Monarcas has new life, house money, and not a care in the world. They can play loose, pucker-free footy. Xolos need to be on red alert
Joely: It would be tragic if Miguel ‘Piojo’ Herrera was eliminated in such a fashion, especially with his rumored move to America at the end of the season. We can’t continue to talk about coaches without mentioning Jose de la Torre aka Chep-Guardiola.
JJ: I am surprised it took you this long.
Joely: You have Tuca, I have Chepo. This was his first (full) season after being unceremoniously sacked from Chivas, and he has already managed to turn Santos fortunes around. He has an excellent assistant in Benjamin Galindo who, as a manager, won a championship with Santos. The club’s strong front office and defensive set-up make Santos a Dark-Horse favorite to take the league. Their opponents will be Toluca whom they recently tied 2-2 after being two goals down. This is the Choriceros Centennial and it doesn’t appear like they will get to celebrate like they would like to given the clubs poor form. My money is on Santos to advance from that series.
JJ: Santos did not have the sexiest season, but the Laguneros did only lose 1 game the entire season. Santos has a good mix of youngsters and veterans. I have a sneaky feeling they will be getting hot at just the right time. Their two forwards have started to heat up just a little. Even of they don’t, they might be the most dangerous team in the liguilla when it comes to scoring off set pieces. It would not be a surprise if they made it to the semis and beyond.
I am going to give you one last chance, Joely. Are you sticking with Chivas, or has another siren tempted you with her sweet, sweet song?
Joely: The string of injuries and drop in form have made me lose faith that the club can lift the Clasusura 2017 championship. It is sad given how the team had been one of the most fun to watch this season. As I mentioned earlier the winner of the Clasico Regiomontano will be favorites to claim the league title.
JJ: I hate to be the boring, status quo guy, but I’m afraid I am going to have to agree with you. Chivas is hobbled, Atlas is, well, Atlas, and neither Xolos nor Toluca have the firepower to go up against the Regios. Santos, though, they have a squad built to win a home and home. In the end, tbough, it will be Tigres, and my gallo, Tuca, joining Leon and Pumas in the repeaters club.