After last week’s stunning loss to the Chivas, Leon is looking to return to form at home in their final game of the regular season.
The final week of the Clausura 2019 will determine the quarterfinals match-ups as six teams jostle for playoff seeding. Leon has already clinched the No. 1 seed, despite last week’s upset loss to lowly Guadalajara that ended the Esmeraldas’ historic 12-game win streak.
Leon is among the favorites to win the Clausura 2019 title, boasting 38 points off of 12 wins, 2 losses and 2 draws. Leon hosts Pachuca Saturday night facing a mild dilemma. Do they play their top line-up and aim to enter the playoffs with the momentum of another win, or do they rest their regulars ahead of the grueling playoff schedule?
If they play their preferred line-up, the Esmeraldas should be able to get back on track and boost their confidence going into the Liguilla. A second straight loss raise some doubts and increase the pressure, while also giving their rivals a sense that Leon is no longer invincible.
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Pachuca is sitting comfortably in sixth place after overcoming a shaky start to the tournament. However, the Tuzos dominated at home all season, winning all 8 of their games at Estadio Hidalgo and posting a 26-5 goal differential. On the road it has been a different story as Pachuca has not won a single road game, going 0-4-4 with a 5-19 goal differential.
Pachuca is led by forward Franco Jara’s 7 seven goals and midfield general Edwin Cardona on offense and sturdy Oscar Murillo on defense. The Tuzos could be that sneaky team in the Liguilla. Pachuca is on an 8-game unbeaten streak, their last loss coming against the Tigres in Matchday 9.
With both teams already assured of playoff spots, this could easily be a draw if both sides focus on arriving to the Liguilla in good health. The numbers seem to favor Leon (6-1-1 at home) if they play their starters for significant minutes, especially considering the Tuzos have been so dismal on the road. Leon would love to give their fans something to cheer about heading into the playoffs, but they really have nothing to play for (except perhaps momentum heading into the Liguilla).