Liga MX: Teams That Will Qualify to the Liguilla
It's been 16 tough weeks for the Liga MX clubs and with one matchday to go only eight teams will qualify to the 2014 Clausura Liguilla.
Three of those squads have already secured their tickets to the knockout stage, while 11 more will give their all in Matchday 17 to grab one of the five available spots.
Not all of them have an easy path, though, and are depending on other clubs' results to advance to the final showdown.
Let's find out which teams will make it to the playoffs.
Luis Fernando Tena was appointed as manager last December. Tena was the coach who led the squad to its last league title, in 2007, and is hoping to do it again, which will end a 16-year run without winning the local tournament.
Cruz Azul started the season with a draw and then managed to win eight consecutive matches. After nine matchdays it was the only unbeaten team.
"La Maquina" have been the 2014 Clausura leader since Matchday 2 and have a 10-3-3 record.
With 33 points and the second-best offense of the tournament, Cruz Azul have secured their ticket and are one of the favorite teams to take the trophy home.
Players to follow: Jesus Corona, Rogelio Chavez, Luis Perea, Marco Fabian and Mariano Pavone
Toluca are one of the most successful squads in the Liga MX. History tells us that from 1998 to 2010, they secured seven of their 10 Primera Division titles; they have also been runners-up six times.
During the 2014 Clausura they have stayed in the top three since the first matchday.
"Los Diablos Rojos" are Cruz Azul's closest competitor with 31 points and have the best goal difference of the tournament (plus-11).
Although they have won 10 times, Toluca have also lost five games, mainly due to defensive mistakes.
With the Liguilla giving all a fresh start, expect big things from them.
Players to follow: Alfredo Talavera, Sinha, Pablo Velazquez and Isaac Brizuela
The third qualified team is UNAM. "Pumas" advanced to the final stage for the first time since the 2013 Clausura, when they lost 3-1 on the aggregate to Club America.
This time, Jose Luis Trejo is ready to face the best of the best to give UNAM's fans another Liga MX title.
Although "Pumas" had a rocky start in the 2014 Clausura, which included one draw and two successive defeats in the first three matchdays, they didn't lose in the six following games.
Little by little they picked up the pace and grabbed 25 points, enough to leave other teams behind.
Players to follow: Dario Veron, Javier Cortes, Daniel Luduena and Ismael Sosa
"Los Guerreros" have practically secured their place in the Liguilla and are tied with Club America and Tijuana with 24 points.
Next weekend they'll visit Veracruz, which in theory tips the scale to Santos' side as "Los Tiburones Rojos" have only won three times this season.
A Santos Laguna win would put them ahead of "Las Aguilas," even a tie would do the trick, but not a defeat. Actually, if they lose, they'll have to wait and see if Morelia, Pachuca, Atlas, Queretaro and Guadalajara lose their respective games.
Oribe Peralta's side has the best offensive unit of the tournament with 31 goals for; in contrast, it also has the second-worst defensive unit, with 27 goals against.
Players to follow: Oswaldo Sanchez, Juan Pablo Rodriguez, Darwin Quintero, Oribe Peralta and Javier Orozco
After a successful process with Miguel Herrera, Club America have had a hard time adjusting to the new manager, Antonio Mohamed.
From Matchday 6 to Matchday 12, "Las Aguilas" won one game, lost four and tied two. It has been a very irregular season for the squad; however, they have a big chance to get to the Liguilla.
If they win or tie the last match with Toluca, they will automatically reach the playoffs. A defeat could complicate the feat, but it would still be a possibility.
But "Los Diablos Rojos" will give "Las Aguilas" a hard time because they have the chance to snatch the tournament lead from Cruz Azul.
Club America have a balanced and structured side that can surprise any team in the blink of an eye.
Players to follow: Paul Aguilar, Miguel Layun, Rubens Sambueza, Juan Carlos Medina and Raul Jimenez
Ever since Tijuana were promoted to the Liga MX, they have had good performances in the tournament, including the 2012 Apertura title.
This season they are seeking to advance to the Liguilla for the third time in their history; they have only been a Primera Division team for the past six competitions.
They sit sixth in the general table with a 7-3-6 record and have the same 24 points as Santos Laguna and Club America. Since their goal difference equals to zero, a victory or a draw against Leon in the final matchday would be the ideal result for "Xolos."
Players to follow: Cirilo Saucedo, Javier Gandolfi, Cristian Pellerano, Edgar Castillo and Dario Benedetto
Currently tied for seventh with Pachuca, Atlas, Queretaro and Guadalajara, Morelia must win their final clash with Puebla.
It should not be a difficult task, although "La Franja" play on home soil, they are second-to-last in the table and have nothing left on the tournament.
So far, "Monarcas" have a 5-6-5 record and a better goal difference that the other four squads that hope to qualify to the Liguilla.
Moreover, they have only lost once since Angel David Comizzo took over the club in Matchday 11.
Players to follow: Joel Huiqui, Egidio Arevalo, Duvier Riascos, Aldo Leao and Hector Mancilla
From the pack that has a better chance to qualify, Queretaro sits last. Although they are the 10th team of the tournament "Gallos Blancos" have not lost since Matchday 12.
Ignacio Ambriz's squad had a shaky 2014 Clausura. They won their first two games but then lost seven of their following nine. However, they managed to turn things around and are now in position to qualify to the Liguila.
Queretaro will face Pachuca in the last matchday, and although "Los Tuzos" have a chance to secure their ticket, they will visit Estadio Corregidora in their worst moment.
In the last four games, Pachuca have three defeats and a draw and have only won two away matches in the tournament.
Players to follow: Yasser Corona, Miguel Angel Martinez, William da Silva, Diego de la Torre and Ricardo Da Silva