Classic or not, Tigres-América is a must-see

Get ready for an Instant Classic! But wait, it isn’t a “Classic”? … Tigres visit América to kick off their quarterfinals series.

The silly debate about whether or not the Tigres-América match is or is not a Classic is upon us once again. All I know is I’m expecting a helluva soccer match tonight and another one on Sunday as these two powerhouse teams stage yet another Liga MX … meeting.

The No. 3 seed Tigres start their title defense against a familiar foe as this marks the third time this year these two teams are squaring off in an elimination series.

On July 14, América claimed the Champions Cup title via a penalty kick shoot-out after a 0-0 draw. Just a month later (Aug. 20), the Tigres earned a measure of revenge by bouncing América from the Nations League at the semifinal stage  by winning yet another penalty kick shoot-out, this time after a 2-2 draw.

In the Liga MX playoffs, the Tigres are 6-3-5 vs América all-time. The last time these two franchises met in the Liguilla was in the Apertura 2017 semifinals with the Tigres winning both games (1-0 and 3-0).

Overall, this will be the seventh time these two clubs meet in a knock-out series in the playoffs with the Tigres leading 4-2.

Tigres-America classic

André-Pierre Gignac and América’s defense have staged classic battles in recent Liguillas. (Photo by Alfredo Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images)

For the third time, this “Classic” takes place at the quarterfinals stage. The Tigres and Aguilas met in the Apertura 2005 quarterfinals with the Tigres advancing on a 5-4 aggregate score after winning 4-1 at home in the second leg. They met again in the Apertura 2013 with América advancing as the higher seed after a 3-3 aggregate score.

Odds and Ends

América not only has to go up against the defending champions, but they have to overcome the curse of the No. 6 seed. The Aguilas entered the final weekend of the regular season in third place, but they were on a bye so they sat at home as León, the Tigres and Querétaro won to leap-frog América, bumping them into sixth place.

In the previous 46 Liga MX short seasons, the No. 6 seed has never won the title. Only six times has the No. 6 seed advanced to the Final, losing all six times, the most recent in the Clausura 2015 season when sixth-seeded Querétaro lost to the No. 8 seed, Santos Laguna.

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The No. 6 seed has been eliminated in the quarterfinals in 31 of the past 46 short-season Liguillas, but the Aguilas have emerged victorious from the quarterfinals in each of their eight previous appearances under the direction of “El Piojo” Herrera.

Between them, the Tigres and Aguilas have won seven league titles this decade … The Tigres are making their 11th straight playoff appearance which is the longest current streak in Liga MX. … The two teams battled to a 1-1 draw on Aug. 24 in their regular-season meeting during the Apertura 2019.

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