Tigres UANL vs. Club America: Time, TV schedule and how to watch Liga MX online
Mexico’s league final features its two best teams.
The Liga MX Liguilla regularly produces huge upsets despite the mechanisms put in place to prevent them, but not this season. The finalists in the 2014 Apertura are the two best teams from the regular season, Tigres UANL and Club America.
These teams both achieved their top regular season spots and Liguilla final places without relying on a particular star or spectacular attack. Neither has a player in the top five in goals, with America’s Oribe Peralta the leading scorer between the two teams, with just eight goals. Tigres’ defensive record was the best of all Liguilla qualified teams, while America’s was tied for second.
On one sideline, ‘El Turco’ Antonio Mohamed is fighting to win a contract as well as a trophy. He was appointed as Miguel Herrera’s replacement on a one-year deal before the last tournament, and even though he’s finished top of the table in the regular season for two straight tournaments, there are grumblings that he will not be offered a new deal. On the other sideline, ‘Tuca’ Ricardo Ferretti might have a job for as long as he wants one. He guided Tigres to their first title in 30 years back in 2011, and has kept them a competitor since.
Unlike previous rounds, the seed tiebreaker and the away goals tiebreaker do not apply in the final. If the two sides are tied after two legs, there will be extra time and penalty kicks. Tigres have yet to actually beat an opponent — they’ve advanced through both rounds on the seed tiebreaker. The second leg of the final takes place in Mexico City on Sunday, at 7 p.m. ET.
Each team is missing one of their key players. Juninho is out for Tigres, while Paul Aguilar misses out for America. Without Juninho in the back, Tigres’ defense coped just fine in the semifinal, but they were lacking everything else he brings to the table — distribution out of the back and a set piece threat.
Key player – Whoever Tigres plays up top
It’s hard to pick one, because Tigres haven’t found a consistent center forward and have employed a rotating cast in that spot and on the left wing, trying to find the right fit. They haven’t found the right player yet, and they’ll need more production from that spot if they’re going to get by America. Without Juninho, against a team of America’s quality, they’re not going to be able to grind out low-scoring draws on their way to a one-goal win or penalties. One of Edgar Lugo, Herculez Gomez or Joffre Guerron needs to score goals.
Key matchup – Jorge Torres Nilo vs. Miguel Layun
If Layun gets the start at right wingback for America, there are going to be a lot of key battles down that flank, America’s right and Tigres’ left. The two El Tri regulars will be responsible for just as attacking as they are defending, especially if ‘Tuca’ Ricardo Ferretti goes to a back three to compensate for Juninho’s absence again. Expect to see the ball on that side of the pitch much more often than the other side.
Match date/time: Thursday, 9:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Estadio Universitario, Monterrey, Mexico
TV: Univision Deportes/UniMas (U.S.), Canal 5 Televisa (Mexico)
Online: Univision Deportes en vivo (U.S.)