Apertura 2016 Week 17 Preview: Saturday’s Games

liga mxJaguares de Chiapas vs Atlas – 6:00 PM – Galavision 
Jaguares de Chiapas (18th) fell 2-0 to Santos Laguna last time out to extend their losing streak to five games and their winless streak to 13. Jaguares’ last league victory – and their only one of the season to date – came way back in July and they have been rooted to the foot of the table essentially all season. The players are once again dealing with off-field distractions in the shape of late and unpaid wages, and Chiapas has essentially nothing to play for in this game. They are likely to remain in 18th even with a win here, and their chances of getting that win are slim.

As for Atlas (14th), the Rojinegros drew 1-1 with América last time out to keep them winless in three. The result wasn’t enough to keep Atlas in playoff contention, and they’ll look to close out their season on a positive note with an away victory here. They have yet to win on the road this season, but facing a demoralized Jaguares side will give them a golden opportunity to end that winless streak.

Cruz Azul vs León – 6:00 PM – Univision Deportes
Cruz Azul (13th) beat Pachuca 2-1 last time out to end a three-game winless streak, but the victory still wasn’t enough to keep them in playoff contention. La Máquina will now look to end their season on a positive note with a second consecutive home win here. However, Cruz Azul has actually lost more games than they’ve won in the Estadio Azul this season.

As for León (9th), La Fiera drew 1-1 with Chivas de Guadalajara last time out to remain winless in two but unbeaten in nine. León is just one point outside the top eight and they need a positive result here – along with at least one loss among Pumas/Toluca/Necaxa – in order to claim a spot in the Liguilla. León does not have a great road record, with just two wins from their eight away games, but a win is what they need in this one.

Tigres UANL vs Querétaro – 8:00 PM – Univision Deportes
Tigres UANL (3rd) beat Tijuana 0-1 last time out to keep them unbeaten in three and mathematically assure their spot in the playoffs. The universitarios are now angling for positioning, as they could finish anywhere from first to fifth. Tigres have been better on the road than at home this season, but they will look for a victory in the Volcán in this one. Tigres have been hard to beat at home – with just one loss – but they have more draws than wins there. However, they are tied for the best defensive record in the league and they’ll look for a shutout in this one.

As for Querétaro (15th), the Gallos Blancos fell 2-3 to Toluca last weekend to end their two-game unbeaten run and eliminate them from playoff contention. The Gallos Blancos will look to improve their standings in the relegation picture – where they currently sit 13th – with a win to close out their season, but they’ve only won one road game in the Apertura while losing five. They’re averaging just a goal a game on the road, and they’ll be hard-pressed to get past Tigres’ stingy defense here.

Monarcas Morelia vs Monterrey – 8:00 PM – Azteca America
Monarcas Morelia (12th) drew 1-1 with Pumas UNAM last time out to remain unbeaten in two. Morelia is also unbeaten in two at home and they’ll look to close out the season with a victory in the Estadio Morelos after they were eliminated from playoff contention. Morelia endured a serious mid-season slump that saw them rooted to the foot of the relegation standings; Veracruz’s own slide has seen Morelia move up to 17th, and they’ll look to further improve their positioning in the Tabla de Cociente ahead of the crucial Clausura 2017 campaign.

As for Monterrey (10th), the Rayados beat Veracruz 4-0 last weekend to keep them unbeaten in five and keep their playoff hopes alive. Monterrey needs a win and some help to qualify for the Liguilla, but they have a decidedly mixed road record this season (2-2-4). Nevertheless, they are unbeaten on the road in two and they have a lot to play for in this one with a playoff spot on the line.

Pachuca vs América – 8:06 PM – NBC Universo
Pachuca (2nd) fell 2-1 to Cruz Azul last time out to end a three-game winning streak and a seven-game unbeaten streak. They are still unbeaten at home this season, however, and in fact have not lost in the Estadio Hidalgo in league play in more than a calendar year. They are assured of a spot in the playoffs and will look to build some momentum ahead of them with a win here. The Tuzos could finish top of the table with a victory, and they have the best attacking record in the league with 33 goals scored.

As for América (5th), the Águilas drew 1-1 with Atlas last time out to remain unbeaten in seven. América is actually unbeaten on the road this season, although they’re also winless in four on their travels after a string of draws. The Águilas also have a Liguilla spot locked up and are playing for positioning here, as they could finish anywhere from second to eighth. América has the worst defensive record of any of the top eight teams, however, which could cause some difficulties against Pachuca’s attack.

Chivas de Guadalajara vs Necaxa – 10:00 PM – Univision Deportes
Chivas de Guadalajara (4th) drew 1-1 with León last time out to remain unbeaten in two. El Rebaño has locked up a spot in the playoffs and is now playing for positioning – and momentum. Chivas has scored the fewest goals of any of the playoff teams and in fact is tied for the fourth-lowest goals total in the league. Even at home, Chivas’s offense hasn’t exactly been prolific, but a solid defense – second-best in the league – has allowed them to win games.

As for Necaxa (6th), the Rayos beat Puebla 3-1 last time out to remain unbeaten at home this season. They are on the verge of clinching a playoff berth, but need a win to guarantee it; a loss or a draw would leave them dependent on other results to qualify. Necaxa has enjoyed incredible success this season as the newly-promoted team and they’ll look to continue their dream Apertura with a victory here and a spot in the Liguilla.

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