Match Preview: Pachuca vs Club América, Liga MX Clausura Quarter Final

Edging past Necaxa in the play-in tournament, Pachuca's prize is a two-legged tie against Mexico's most in-form team this season.
America v New England - Concacaf Champions Cup 2024
America v New England - Concacaf Champions Cup 2024 / Jam Media/GettyImages

Eight days after their last encounter, Pachuca and Club América will face off for this fifth and sixth time this season across the first and second leg of this tie.

Last Tuesday, 30th April 2024, Pachuca caused a surprise in North American football after booking their place in the CONCACAF Champions League final, at the expense of Club América. A final that will be played at Pachuca's Estadio Hidalgo against Columbus Crew, who knocked Monterrey out in the semi-final.

In that shocking semi-final, the honours were even after the first leg. A 1-1 tie that left everything to play for at the Estadio Hidalgo. Los Tuzos raced into a 2-0 lead before América grabbed a consolation game to bow out of the competition.

The surprise is for a multitude of reasons. Club América is currently enjoying one of its best-ever campaigns. Their impressive performance in the 2023 Apertura included just one defeat in the regular season. This was followed by a triumph in the Liga MX final, where they secured their 14th title by defeating Tigres 4-1 over two legs. The decisive second leg featured a commanding 3-0 victory in front of their passionate supporters at the iconic Estadio Azteca.

Andre Jardine's side has continued its dominance in the second half of the season. Topping the table at the end of the Clausura season, Club América once again come into the playoffs as the number one seed. Their record was ten wins, five draws and two defeats across the 17 games played. The fear for Pachuca will be the fact that they conceded just 12 goals across the regular season fixtures, which was the best in the league.

Despite Las Aguilas' dominance this season, they have found a 'bogey team' in Pachuca through recent meetings. Their most notable defeat was last week in the CONCACAF Champions League, but also from their meeting in the Clausura regular season. The two met in February as Los Tuzos got the better of Mexico's most successful club in history by a 2-1 scoreline. 24-year-old explosive midfielder Erick Sánchez scored a brace on the day to secure an important three points for Pachuca and start a run of three games against América without defeat.

Pachuca will not only take confidence from their current run of three games without defeat against América but also from the fact that they scored the joint-second most goals during the Clausura regular season. Behind Toluca, who will face Chivas in the playoffs, Pachuca and Tigres both scored 34 goals to average two goals per game during the regular season. Leading the line for Los Tuzos is journeyman and former Everton, Newcastle and West Brom striker Salomón Rondón, who was responsible for eight of their 34 goals alone.

While their goalscoring record is impressive, it is due to their defensive display that Pachuca ended the regular season in 7th position and needed to qualify for the playoffs via a play-in tournament, which they managed to beat Necaxa 2-1 to reach this stage. Among the remaining eight playoff teams, Pachuca has the least noteworthy defensive record, having conceded 27 goals. This figure is four goals worse than the next team, which is Monterrey and Tigres.

Team News

Pachuca has played two games since its previous meeting with Las Aguilas, including the first play-in game against Pumas UNAM which took place just 48 hours later. It is then expected that Los Tuzos would be missing a few extra players. Celso Ortiz is a doubt for the game, managing a knee injury that has kept him out of action since the November win over Tijuana. Javier López is also a doubt for the first leg after missing the past month with an ankle injury which he sustained against Costa Rican side Club Sport Herediano. The only certain absentee for this game is Israel Luna, who suffered a cruciate ligament injury and is expected to miss the rest of 2024.

Former Ajax, Feyenoord and Sevilla winger Oussama Idrissi will miss the first leg due to suspension, he was given a red card whilst on the bench during Pachuca's win against Necaxa.

As for América, Uruguayan defender Sebastian Caceres picked up a knee injury which means he is likely to miss both legs against Pachuca. However, there is hope that Néstor Araujo and Emilio Lara could play apart across the two games, the pair are currently doubtful for the first leg, but they may feature later down the line.

Are you interested in reading about the Clásico del Norte (Monterrey vs Tigres), make sure to click here to prepare for Thursday's quarter final derby!