The Liga MX Clausura playoffs are upon us. The dates and times are set for the quarterfinals, which begin this Wednesday and conclude on Sunday. León enters the liguilla as the top seed, but it’s rarely ever as straight forward as all that. The opening round also features appearances from Necaxa and Pachuca (making their first playoff appearances since the 2016 Apertura) and a rematch of last year’s final between Mexico City rivals Cruz Azul and Club America.
Here’s the Liga MX Liguilla 2019 schedule, including dates, how to watch on TV and streaming info, and a small preview for each of the quarterfinal ties.
Liga MX Liguilla 2019 Schedule
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(1) León vs. (8) Tijuana
First Leg: Wednesday, May 8 | Caliente Stadium | 8:00 p.m. ET | TV: FOX Deportes | Stream: FuboTV and FOX Sports Go
Second Leg: Saturday, May 11 | Estadio León | 10:00 p.m. ET | TV: Univision Deportes | Stream: FuboTV
Preview: After failing to make the Apertura playoffs, Tijuana gave Argentine manager Diego Cocca the boot and replaced him with Óscar Pareja, a Colombian manager whose stock had risen dramatically after five commendable seasons in charge of FC Dallas in MLS. He's brought them back to the playoffs at the first time of asking.
On the pitch, the club is led by Gustavo Bou (eight goals and five assists in 14 appearances) and Miller Bolanos (seven goals in 17 games). But Tijuana isn’t expected to trouble León, who finished as superlíder while rattling off 12 straight victories before a defeat to Chivas on match day 16.
León’s total of 41 goals scored (14 of which were struck by Ángel Mena) means it has the best attack in the league, while a defensive record of only 14 goals conceded also gives the club the best defense. Keep an eye on 19-year-old Mexican forward José Juan Macías, who added eight goals of his own.
(4) Cruz Azul vs. (5) Club América
First Leg: Thursday, May 9 | Estadio Azteca | 10:00 p.m. ET | TV: Univision | Stream: FuboTV and Univision NOW
Second Leg: Sunday, May 12 | Estadio Azteca | 7:00 p.m. ET | TV: Univision Deportes | Stream: FuboTV
Preview: The most anticipated match of the quarterfinals is the Clásico Joven, a match pitting fierce Mexico City rivals Cruz Azul and América against each other. This is, of course, a rematch of the Apertura final, which América won 2-0 on aggregate to prolong the “Comizzo curse” (Cruz Azul hasn’t won a league title since 1997).
Cruz Azul boasts the second-best defense in the league, led by veteran goalkeeper Jesús Corona and defender Cata Domínguez, but the attack has been overly reliant Milton Caraglio with influential playmaker Elías Hernández sidelined for the rest of the season with a knee injury.
América suffered a title hangover to begin its Clausura campaign, and the club’s form wasn’t helped by the departures of Diego Lainez and Cecilio Dominguez and injuries to both Oribe Peralta and Nicolás Castillo. But a victory in the Clausura Copa MX showed just how dangerous this team is in knockout competitions.
Castillo and Henry Martin lead the attack, and defensive solidity is provided by the midfield pairing of Guido Rodriguez and Edson Alvarez (whose fitness for the quarters is in question) shielding the center back partnership of Bruno Valdez and Victor Aguilera.
(2) Tigres vs. (7) Pachuca
First Leg: Wednesday, May 8 | Estadio Hidalgo | 10:00 p.m. ET | TV: Univision Deportes | Stream: FuboTV
Second Leg: Saturday, May 11 | Estadio Universitario | 8:00 p.m. ET | TV: Univision Deportes | Stream: FuboTV
Preview: With victories in the Apertura competitions of 2015, 2016 and 2017, Tigres needs little introduction — the exploits of players like André-Pierre Gignac, Eduardo Vargas and Enner Valencia have defined the league over the last few years, but this is a club still smarting from a heartbreaking defeat to Monterrey in the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League Final.
Pachuca should make for fun viewing. They shipped 26 goals, giving them the worst defense in the liguilla, but they also scored 32. The likes of Franco Jara, Edwin Cardona, Leonardo Ulloa and Victor Guzman could certainly trouble Tigres over the course of this match up.
(3) Monterrey vs. (6) Necaxa
First Leg: Thursday, May 9 | Estadio Victoria | 8:00 p.m. ET | TV: Univision Deportes | Stream: FuboTV
Second Leg: Sunday, May 12 | Estadio BBVA Bancomer | 9:00 p.m. ET | TV: FOX Deportes | Stream: FuboTV and FOX Sports Go
Preview: It’s strange, but Necaxa heads into this one with news of star winger Brian Fernandez (who scored 12 goals in 15 games) transferring to the Portland Timbers for between $10-12 million. That hurts. Necaxa’s second-leading scorer is left back Cristian Calderon, who scored four goals.
Monterrey, on the other hand, is flying high after winning the CONCACAF Champions League. In attack, Rogelio Funes Mori scored 11 goals in 15 games, and the defense is anchored by center back Nicolás Sánchez and goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero. The club added Mexico international Miguel Layun in January, and midfielder Jonathan Gonzalez has been excluded from El Tri’s U-20 World Cup squad to focus on winning this Clausura title.