The first leg of the America vs Leon Liga MX Final will take place this Thursday, December 12, 2013 (6:00 PM Pacific) at the Nou Camp. The Apertura 2013 Final definitely features the two best teams in the league. Leon has been good all season long, finishing the regular season in the #3 spot, and widely regarded as the team that has played the best during the playoffs. Herrera’s Club America finished the regular season in first place, traveled to New Zealand to secure Mexico a spot in the World Cup, and then qualified to the Liga MX Final, as expected. This championship series should be spectacular.
Leon’s journey towards the Liga MX Final began with a solid regular season, where Leon accumulated 30 points, had one of the best offenses, and the second best defense. In the playoffs, Leon first faced Morelia in the quarterfinals. After an exciting first leg in Morelia, where Leon earned a 3-3 draw, Matosas’ team finished off the TV Azteca owned team with a 4-0 trouncing at the Nou Camp.
Leon then faced Santos, a well-managed team that coach Caixinha had developed into a powerful scoring machine with good defense. Leon once again overcame a difficult obstacle in front of its home crowd, winning the first leg 3-1. Back in Torreon, Leon was able to hold Santos to a 2-2 draw, thus earning the historic ticket to the Liga MX Final.
Club America had a great season as well, as you may all well know, America finished the regular season in the #1 spot, basically leading all major statistics. However, the playoffs have not gone smoothly for Club America. A combination of heavy travel and training with the Mexican National Team, and the anxiety caused by knowing that a new coach (Turco Mohamed) is on the way, have affected Club America.
In the quarterfinals, America tied Tigres 2-2 in Monterrey, and tied once again (1-1) at the Estadio Azteca. Club America moved on to the semifinals due to the away goals rule. In the semifinals, America lost the first leg held at the Estadio Nemesio Diez 2-1 to Toluca. Fortunately for Herrera, America was able to defeat Toluca 2-0 at the Estadio Azteca, thus earning the team’s first win in the playoffs.
Miguel Herrera will likely use the same lineup that made an appearance at the Estadio Azteca this past Sunday against Toluca. Here is Club America’s expected lineup: Moisés Muñoz, Paul Aguilar, Francisco Rodríguez, Aquivaldo Mosquera, Adrián Aldrete, Miguel Layún, Osvaldo Martínez, Juan Carlos Medina, Rubens Sambueza, Luis Gabriel Rey and Raúl Jiménez. Club America will start off with its usual 5-3-2 formation.
America vs Leon Prediction
Leon has won both of its playoff home games by ample margins, with combined scores of 7-1. Matosas needs to motivate his players, use the energy from the crowd, and go after the victory. If Leon does not defeat Club America at the Nou Camp, America will be champions. Club America has not lost a single home match this entire season, the Azteca has been turned into a fortress. That is why Leon has to go for the win, it cannot play timidly.
Boselli and Burbano need to have a big game for Leon, the talented strikers have combined to score 17 goals between them. Furthermore, goalkeeper Yarbrough needs to cut down on the mistakes; he has been shaky during the playoffs with the aerial plays, and Leon cannot allow a mistake to cost them a title.
Miguel Herrera knows his team very well, and he will play the same way he has been playing all season long. A 5-3-2 formation, with Layun and Aguilar moving up the flanks, providing crosses in for Jimenez and Luis Rey. America needs to take advantage of the openings Leon tends to leave in its flanks, and try to capitalize with a counterattack.
This first leg of the Liga MX Final will be very exciting, Leon has not held back in any of its home games, and America does not go into any stadium to park the bus, expect plenty of attacking. Given Leon’s great run in the playoffs, I believe that they will take a slim victory at the Nou Camp. I predict Leon will defeat Club America by a score of 2-1. However, America will be far from defeated, the 90 minutes left to play at the Azteca will define the winner.
Note: There are no away goal rules or higher seed rules in the final, the only thing that counts is the aggregate score.
America vs Leon TV Schedule
The America vs Leon match will be televised this Thursday, December 12, 2013 on Telemundo at 6:00 PM Pacific.