With one week left in Mexico’s Clausura season, there are so many teams that are still alive for the post season, Pete Rozelle would be very proud. Only 3 teams have golden tickets in hand.
There is no better celebration of a watered down playoff system than what amounts to 8 .500 teams fighting for the remaining 5 spots.
Playoff fever. Catch it.
This is what we know so far.
Pumas, Tigres, and Morelia are all in. The boys from UNAM can lock up the top seed with a win, tie, or a loss (as long as they are not passed up in goal differential).
After that it gets interesting. All you have to do is look at the current Group 2 standings.
Atlante – 24 pts +10
Atlas – 23 pts +3
America -- 23 pts +1
Toluca -- 21 pts +2
San Luis -- 20 pts +2
Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Cruz Azul are also still alive.
For some teams, it is as simple as win or tie, and you get to keep playing. Others, as you can see, will need to win and then hope for an intricate combination of dominoes to fall just right.
I have long professed that predicting outcomes in this league is only for professional suckers. Usually, every hunch I have turns out to be wrong, so the opposite would have to right, right? Let’s ignore every urge towards common sense and good judgment.
Instead of having the tuna on toast, let’s go for the chicken salad on rye… with a cup of tea.
Here we go.
Atlas will fall back on their history of clutch performances to defeat Tigres and clinch.
Tigres’ loss takes pressure off Pumas, who field a team of mostly recent academy graduates vs. America. Club America, still nursing their mid-week Brazilian victory hangover, are stymied by the youngsters and ousted.
Monterrey celebrates their unlikely mid-week trophy lift with another improbable win at the Omnilife, seemingly flushing Guadalajara’s playoff possibilities away, only to get a reprieve when their arch rivals fail to win at CU the next day.
Realizing that giving up a 4 goal lead wasn’t impressive enough, Toluca go 5 up on Atlante in the first half. But the iron sea horses get a double hat-trick from el Hobbit to win 6-5. Even that dazzling display doesn't do enough to merit a call-up.
Cruz Azul win in San Luis, and an eerie sense of calm overtakes their fans.
So these would be the first round match-ups after the above scenarios play out.
1 Pumas vs 8 Chivas
2 Tigres vs 7 Monterrey
3 Morelia vs 6 Atlas
4 Cruz Azul vs 5 Atlante