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The Liga MX Liguilla kicks off this Wednesday night with Santos Laguna vs Tigres (8pm ET) and Pachuca vs Club America (10:05pm ET). After only four points separated the top eight in the regular season, it is set to be one of the most unpredictable post-seasons for a long time.
Liga MX Liguilla Gets Underway as Questions Remain Over Tigres Priorities
05/13/2015
 
Tigres UANL, Liga MX

By Dan Price


The Liga MX Liguilla kicks off this Wednesday night with Santos Laguna vs Tigres (8pm ET) and Pachuca vs Club America (10:05pm ET). After only four points separated the top eight in the regular season, it is set to be one of the most unpredictable post-seasons for a long time.

Domestic or Continental?

Tigres UANL, Copa Libertadores

Away from the debates around who are the favorites and which sides are in-form, one of the most intriguing questions about the playoffs is about Tigres’ commitment to the tournament.


Tuca Ferretti’s men were runners-up to Club America in the Apertura, and are arguably the most dangerous side in the league on current form. While a quarter-final against Santos is certainly not guaranteed, the real fun and games could start in the semi-final.


Tigres are currently the only side to have booked a place in the quarter-finals of the Copa Libertadores, where they will face either Colombian giants Atletico Nacional or the Ecuadorian side Emelec. The game would directly clash with the Liga MX semis.


With CONMEBOL and the FMF both seemingly unwilling to move games and help ease the fixture backlog, it could mean Tigres play two games in two or three days.


Fans want the club to prioritize the Libertadores – the league is always there, but Copa Libertadores qualification isn’t so frequent. Given their participation in the next CONCACAF Champions League, the earliest Tigres could next play in the Copa Libertadores is 2017.


Tuca might go for both – naming a second string for the away game in South America and hoping a defensive, slow-paced, energy saving performance by the first team can see them through at home.


There is an argument that the Liga MX should be doing more for sides in the South American tournament. It’s the only major non-European club competition that is followed by European fans, and leads to infinitely more prestige and sponsorship money that the CONCACAF Champions League – not to mention that success in it can help attract better players.


Something has to change – the Liga MX cannot afford to be discarded every year by sides who are on a good Copa Libertadores run and in the playoffs – especially if that side is one of the favorites for the domestic title. Time will tell if they can learn the lesson.

Veracruz or Queretaro for the title?

Veracruz vs Queretaro, Clausura 2015 tournament, Liga MX

If you told people at the start of the season that either Veracruz or Queretaro would be in the semi-finals of the Liguilla you’d have been labelled as crazy. Even midway through the season, Queretaro were in last place and looked more like a 2015-16 relegation candidate than a title winner.


Since Victor Vucetich’s arrival they look like a reformed club. Ronaldinho has dropped to the bench, but still influenced games with frequent 20 minutes cameos, Orbelin Pineda has stepped up to become a regular and has impressed, and the defense has improved immeasurably.


Can one of these two teams become the champion? As unlikely as it might seem, it’s certainly possible. If Pachuca can beat the inconsistent America, and with Tigres’ well-documented fixture congestion, there’s no reason not to believe that a path to glory might open up for one of these two.


If it came to fruition, it would be the most remarkable championship win in a long, long time.

 
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