Six Liga MX teams and two Ascenso MX teams are vying for a chance to hoist the Copa MX trophy on April 10.
The Copa MX quarterfinals kick off Tuesday evening with a double-header, but all eyes will be focused on the back end of Wednesday’s twin bill when América hosts the Chivas in the first of two Super Clásicos this week.
The first quarterfinal takes place at Estadio Olímpico Universitario on the UNAM campus and Diego Maradona will be the guest of honor. The second contest Tuesday features No. 1 seed Morelia hosting #8 Tijuana.
Wednesday’s first match pits the second-division Juárez Bravos against Veracruz but that will just be a warm-up for the main attraction – Chivas vs Aguilas.
#6 Dorados at #3 Pumas
Diego’s Dorados traveled from Sinaloa Monday ahead of tonight’s match against the Pumas. The quarterfinal match will mark the return of Argentina’s #10 to the stadium where he led his country to a 3-1 win over South Korea in the group stage of the 1986 World Cup.
Both teams are suffering in league play after surprising results last season.
The Dorados are in 12 th place (out of 15 teams) with a 3-2-4 record. Sinaloa has 5 games remaining to make up 2 points and leapfrog four teams in order to return to the playoffs. Last season, the Dorados reached the finals as the #7 seed, defeating the #1 and #2 seeds but succumbing to Atlético San Luis in a bitter final.
Coach Maradona has had to replace the team’s leading scorer from last season, Vinicio Angulo, who now plays for León in Liga MX. But it is the defense that has struggled, giving up 13 goals in 9 games.
The Pumas find themselves in 14th place after finishing #3 last season and the main reason is that they have played terribly at home. UNAM is 1-4-1 on campus. Coach Bruno Marioni is likely to emphasize the Cup over the league right now and his offense will be called upon to provide some inspiration.
The winner advances to face the Juárez-Veracruz winner in the semifinals. Oscar Mejía will be the referee.
#8 Tijuana at #1 Morelia
The Xolos had been the feel-good story of the Liga MX until Pachuca demolished them on Saturday night. Tijuana climbed as high as #4 with a steady, balanced performance under the direction of new coach Oscar Pareja, hired away from FC Dallas of the MLS. The Xolos already have more wins this season than all of last season with 7 games still to play.
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Morelia collapsed at the end of last season, missing out on a playoff spot on the final day of the season, and the bad vibes carried over into this season. The Monarcas’ 1-1-6 start cost Roberto Hernández his job and former León coach Javier Torrente has taken over.
Both teams survived the Round of 16 by advancing on penalty kicks and neither team looked too convincing. The winner of this match will play the victor of the Super Clásico. Roberto García Orozco will have the whistle in this one.
#7 Veracruz at #2 Juárez
Veracruz is the only Liga MX team without a win through 10 weeks, but here they are in the final 8 of the Copa MX. The Tiburones topped a weak group to reach the Round of 16 where they defeated Group 7 rival Zacatecas 2-1.
The Tiburones are likely to be officially relegated this coming weekend so the Copa MX is the only thing they have to play for. Coach Robert Siboldi will likely throw caution to the win in hopes of reaching the semifinals.
The Bravos are having a season to forget in Ascenso MX. They were the regular-season champs last season but were upset in the semifinals by Diego Maradona and the Dorados. This season, Juárez is in 13th place and in danger of not making the playoffs.
However, the Bravos have played quite well in the Cup, easily winning their group and then bouncing León via a penalty kick shoot-out in the Round of 16. Edgar Ulises Rangel will be in charge of the match.
#5 Chivas at # América
This is just the warm-up as these two great rivals must face each other again on Saturday in Guadalajara in a league match. However, both teams are in desperate need of establishing momentum, so this is not a throwaway match.
Chivas coach José Cardozo was given a warning by CEO José Luis Higuera after the team’s scoreless draw against lowly Querétaro on Saturday. If the Chivas lose both matches, it is possible that Cardozo could be looking for work next week.
The Chivas have looked decent in the Cup thus far – they recovered from a 1-0 deficit to defeat Atlético San Luis in the Round of 16 and set up this Clásico – but that means nothing unless they get past América.
The Aguilas have also struggled in the league thus far, losing at home against Necaxa a week ago then edging past Puebla with a late goal, also at home. Coach Miguel Herrera had announced before the season that defending their Liga MX title was not enough. He proclaimed that a double was the goal and if América doesn’t get past the hated Chivas, that dream will be dead a month too soon.
This game is likely to be an end-to-end thriller and Francisco Chacon has been given the responsibility of refereeing this Super Clásico.