With 3 spots left up for grabs, there are more than a handful of teams that have possibilities to make the MFL post season. Some teams need merely a tie to secure a liguilla spot. Others need to set in motion a series of events so incredulous, I’m having trouble even typing it. But then I am reminded that this is the MFL, where the unpredictable is a given. Anything can and will happen.
Matchday 17 got going last night. Pachuca needed a win vs. the recently promoted electricians of Necaxa and they got it, 2-1. They now must wait and see results of one other game: If Pumas wins and scores one more goal than Pachuca, then the gophers are out.
Possibility of qualification: 95%. Pumas have been awful vs America at the Azteca. Goals aren’t how Pumas have made a name for themselves this season.
Jaguares vs. Queretaro
It’s real simple for the Chiapan jungle cats: win and you’re in (as the 2nd place team of Group 3). But Queretaro is a tough place to get a result, so they have plenty of work to do. Chiapas was left for dead before Guadalupe Cruz took over at mid-season. He has done a terrific job in turning their fortunes around -- probably the most underrated coach in the league. If they lose, however, they have to hope that Pumas does not win (Pumas will get the 2nd place spot) and a whole host of other teams win or lose by about 10 goals.
Possibility of qualification: 85%. Road wins are rare at the Corregidora. Jaguares will tie and then have to sweat it out during the Mexico City Derby.
Cruz Azul vs. San Luis
Both teams have qualified and only San Luis can better its position in the table. Cruz Azul has clinched the top seed, while San Luis can lock in the 3 with a win at the Azul combined with a Santos and America loss or tie.
Cruz Azul wins going away. They need momentum going into the tournament.
Monterrey vs Chivas
Monterrey has locked in the 2 seed, and Chivas was eliminated last night with Pachuca’s win in Aguascalientes.
Santos vs. Estudiantes
Santos are currently 3rd in the table and will stay as such with a win over the last place team from Guadalajara.
Atlas vs Tigres
Tigres are in with a win at the Jalisco as one of the best 3rd place teams. But these are Tigres we are talking about. The perennial underachivers of the MFL. A loss puts them at the mercy of Toluca. Not a good place to be.
Atlas has been out of the fight since mid-August, but it would be just like them to win here.
Possibility of qualification: 40%. Tigres have always come up toothless at the moment of truth. They might need outside help to clean up the mess they make in Guadalajara tonight.
Morelia vs Puebla
Morelia needed one of those crazy scenarios to work out just right if they have any chance. Pachuca’s victory put an end to any hopes they had. Puebla had been eleiminated for a while.
Toluca vs Atlante
The choriceros lost last week at Estudiantes, and now have to hope that Tigres does not win or tie. They have to win in order to make it. Atalante is falling precipitously and are now looking to stave off relegation.
Possibility of qualification for Toluca: 60%. Having to rely on Tigres for anything, win or lose, is a bet I would never want to make.
America vs Pumas
America is in the big show, and pumas can make it as long as they win and Chiapas loses or if Tigres does not win. Good luck with that, Pumas fans. They have yet to win on the roads this year, and haven’t won at the Azteca in 6 years.
Possibility of Qualification: 20%. Pumas does not deserve a playoff spot.
Who makes it then?
1 Cruz Azul vs 8 Toluca
2 Monterrey vs 7 Pachuca
3 Santos vs 6 Jaguares
4 America vs 5 San Luis