Top-seeded Leon is poised to block America’s chances at a repeat, just like they did in the Apertura 2013 Final.
The Clausura 2019 regular-season champion Leon will square off against defending champion America in the semifinal. Leon is marching toward its first title since the Clausura 2014 when the Esmeraldas won their second in a row. Although Leon is a popular favorite after a dominating season, America is a powerhouse with a lot of pride and veteran savvy.
Leon is coming off a convincing quarterfinal series against Tijuana, winning the first leg on the road 3-1. “La Fiera” then finished off the Xolos with a 2-1 win at home, demonstrating that their super leader status was not a fluke.
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Leon features the Liga MX scoring champion, Angel Mena, who scored 14 goals this season. He is joined in attack by teenage goal scorer Jose Juan Macias who had eight goals in the Clausura 2019 and also scored in the first-leg match against Tijuana. Also up front is Costa Rica international Joel Campbell who scored both goals in the second leg, one off an assist from Mena.
America survived a Clasico Joven quarterfinal series against Cruz Azul with a 3-2 aggregate win, but they did not convince many observers after Cruz Azul defeated them 1-0 loss in the second match at Estadio Azteca. America looked impressive in the first leg, sweeping past the Cementeros 3-1, but they were much more conservative in the second leg. Cruz Azul controlled possession virtually the entire game, in attack mode from the opening whistle. The America defense – and goalie Agustin Marchesin – managed to protect the lead although it went right down to the wire.
America will have to be more proactive against Leon, the league’s highest-scoring team (41 goals in 17 games) and the stingiest defense (14 goals allowed), especially in the first leg at home. It would be a tough mission to have to win at Estadio Leon.
The Aguilas likely need to keep a clean sheet at Estadio Azteca and they have a sturdy defense that could certainly stand up to the Leon offense (19 goals allowed in the regular season). But their offense has not been as potent as last season (28 goals), so they can’t afford to get into a high-flying match with the Esmeraldas.
Leon’s arsenal of attackers should be able to deal with the America defense at Estadio Azteca (they won there during the regular season, 3-0). And if the Aguilas play anything like they did against Cruz Azul on Sunday, Leon will easily go back home with a lead.