Leon eyes Toluca as stepping stone to Liguilla

Leon at home will need to capitalize with a win or draw to place themselves comfortably in the playoff race picture.

With two games remaining in the Apertura 2019, Leon is on the verge of punching its playoff ticket and their first chance comes Saturday when Toluca pays a visit.

The Esmeraldas are in 6th place in the standings but they have not clinched a spot in the Liguilla just yet. They need 2 points from their final two matches to secure a seat at the postseason dance, but their form has not been great of late. In their past two games, Leon was shocked by Cruz Azul 1-0 and then settled for a 1-1 draw at Morelia that has complicated a few things for coach Nacho Ambriz. He will search to turn their hopes around quickly and try to move La Fiera toward a more favorable playoff seeding.

The biggest problem Leon has struggled with throughout the Apertura 2019 compared to the Clausura 2019 has been their defense. This season, Leon has had only two clean sheets (a scoreless draw against America and a 4-0 beatdown of Queretaro). Leon was the league’s best defense last season, but are only eighth best this season. It will be crucial for Ambriz to tighten up the loose ends on his team if he hopes to guide them to a long postseason run.

Toluca has had a very difficult season and will miss out on the Liguilla for a second season in a row. The team has not performed well for coach Ricardo La Volpe who will be out of a job come December and their poor home performance against the Chivas on Sunday certainly placed a dagger in the hearts of the team and the fans.

With only 4 wins, 4 draws and 8 losses in the Apertura 2019, the Diablos are in 17th place with 16 points. They are surely already looking forward to reinventing themselves for the Clausura 2020, but ending the Apertura as best as possible is the short-term goal. It is safe to say that Toluca will not be a high threat as the visiting team facing Leon.

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