Apertura 2016 Week 1 Preview: Sunday’s Games

liga mxPumas UNAM vs Chivas de Guadalajara – 1:00 PM – Univision / Univision Deportes
Pumas UNAM finished the Clausura 2016 in 10th place, two places and two points outside of the playoffs. The universitarios had a mixed home record last season, where they drew nearly half their games; they will look for a stronger showing in the Estadio Olimpico Universitario here. Pumas was very much a mid-table team last season, with the 9th-best attack and 11th-best defense, and they will look for improvements on both ends of the field under new coach Francisco Palencia.

As for Chivas de Guadalajara, El Rebaño finished 5th in the Clausura but were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round by archrival América. Chivas did enjoy recent success with a victory over Veracruz in last weekend’s SuperCopa MX. That win gives Chivas a spot in the 2017 Copa Libertadores play-in round. They will look to build on that victory here and they were quite good on the road last season, with four wins, three draws, and just one loss.

Santos Laguna vs Tigres UANL – 7:00 PM – Univision / Univision Deportes
Santos Laguna finished 7th in the Clausura 2016, making the playoffs but losing in the first round to eventual-champion Pachuca. The Laguneros were strong defensively last season, but they struggled in attack; they were the lowest-scoring team to make the playoffs and had just the 10th-best goalscoring record in the league. They were good at home, though, with four wins, a draw, and two losses, and they will look to continue that form here in their Apertura opener.

As for Tigres UANL, the universitarios finished 8th in the Clausura, and like Santos, they made the playoffs but were eliminated in the first round. Tigres did defeat Pachuca last weekend in the 2016 Campeón de Campeones game, although that victory came with a price: a one-game suspension for Guido Pizarro, who will miss this match. Tigres were not very successful on the road last season, with just two wins in nine games, and they will look to address that in this one. They will be without last season’s leading goalscorer, André-Pierre Gignac, however, as he has not yet returned to Tigres after participating in the Euro with France.


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