Mexico Competitions Drawing Soccer Fans

Checking in on Liga MX, Copa MX, the Mexico U-17 squad and the CONCACAF Champions League
by Brendan Doherty   |   Thursday, April 11, 2013

 MEX Matters - column on Liga MX, El Tri & Mexican futbol.

The past week has seen significant developments in several competitions involving Mexican club and national teams. Liga MX is approaching the end of Clausura 2013, the CONCACAF U-17 Championship is underway, the Copa MX final is over and the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal second legs finished this week.

Liga MX

First and foremost is Liga MX, the top league in Mexico, which played the 13th round of Clausura 2013 over the weekend. Each half season torneo has 17 games as each of the 18 teams plays each other once. Surprisingly nothing is set in stone yet, as each of the teams currently sitting in playoff spots could still technically miss the Liguilla. It would be unlikely that undefeated Tigres lose all its remaining fixtures, but the short season format makes for a suspenseful run-in.

In a similar vein, with 4 matches left any of the teams on the outside looking in could surge into the top 8 to make the playoffs. Seventh placed Morelia and 14th placed Puebla are only separated by 3 points. The relegation race is also close this year. As I've mentioned before, relegation in Liga MX is decided by the average of the last 6 torneos (3 full seasons).

Querétaro will try to make up a 7-point gap with Atlante in the relegation standings in a mad dash to stay in the first division. As of the most recent round of matches, Querétaro is in pole position to go down to Mexico's second division, the Ascenso MX, as it has only amassed 98 points over the last 6 torneos (98 games so far). Other teams who have battled the prospect of relegation this season are Atlante with 105 points, Puebla with 106 and both Atlas and San Luis are sitting more comfortably on 107. Each victory or draw for the bottom teams could mean the difference between Liga MX and Ascenso MX next season.

Copa MX

Cruz Azul is now Copa MX champions after last night’s final. Copa MX is the national cup tournament in Mexico similar to England's League Cup as it only features professional clubs.

Before the final against Atlante, Azul played América, which lost on penalties in the sixth round of kicks after a 1-1 draw. Atlante edged out Puebla on penalties as well. In fact, 3 of the 4 quarterfinal matches of the Clausura 2013 Copa MX have seen the teams only combined for 5 goals.

Most Liga MX teams haven't sent full teams to cup matches and fan sentiment generally holds that the competition will be a waste if their team doesn't win. Apertura 2012's final saw 2 Ascenso MX teams battle for the trophy, but the last second division side this year was eliminated in the quarterfinals.

CONCACAF Champions League

Both semifinals for the CONCACAF Champions League featured a Liga MX club playing away at an MLS club.

Santos Laguna travelled up to Seattle to face the Sounders and for the second year in a row, American forward Herculez Gomez scored against the MLS side. Seattle drew Santos in the second leg, 1-1, which allowed the Mexican side through to the final match.

Monterrey went down a goal in the Home Depot Center last week but rallied with two second half goals. Last night, Monterrey won 1-0 and secured its place in the final. And now we get a rematch of last season's final in which Monterrey edged out Santos Laguna 3-2 after each team won at home.

U-17 Mexico National Team

The U-17 CONCACAF Championship kicked off on Saturday in a format similar to the recent U-20 tournament in which Mexico defeated the United States in the final. Mexico's group stage opponents were Cuba on Sunday and Honduras this Thursday. Panama is hosting the 12-team tournaments but Mexico came into proceedings as favorite to lift the trophy won by the U.S. in 2011.

Just as was the case in the U-20 edition, all 4 semifinalists of this competition qualify for the World Cup. With 4 groups of 3 teams each, each team only has to win 3 games to earn a spot at the 2013 U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates this fall. During the last cycle, Mexico did not have to go through qualification because it was the host nation for the 2011 U-17 World Cup, in which Mexico won in front of huge home support.

Mexico won its opening match on Sunday night and rests until Thursday. Cuba easily fell to El Tri 5-1 in a game the young Mexicans controlled from start to finish. While Mexican fans can watch Cuba play Honduras on Tuesday to size up Los Catrachos, they may also silently hope the U.S. wins its second game as well. Because the winner of Group D plays the runner-up from Group C, and vice-versa, if both teams win their groups they won't have to face each other until the semifinals at which point they would already have qualified.

NEXT UP: April 11 – Mexico vs. Honduras, Estadio Rommel Fernández, Panama City, Panama. 9 p.m. EST, Univision Deportes


Hamilton College
Club Domestic:
Rochester Rhinos, RBNY
Club Foreign:
Tottenham, Club América
Household Jeopardy champion from a small town in Upstate New York. Simultaneously brought to Tottenham Hotspur by a youth coach & given a copy of FIFA 2004. Enthusiastically pragmatic & a student of the game. Covering the Mexican National Team & Liga MX.