Winner of Liga MX Clausura Season? An exciting new Liga MX Clausura season begins on Friday night. The best teams in Mexico will vie for supremacy during a regular season that lasts until May and the top eight will go through to the playoffs. These are the leading contenders for glory, along with futures odds from 888 Sport:
Club América (+400)
Last season, América won the Apertura championship after battling to a tense victory over Cruz Azul in the final. It came within a whisker of repeating the feat this term, but ended up losing to Monterrey in a penalty shootout following a 3-3 aggregate draw. That was a cruel blow for Miguel Herrera’s men, but they have been the strongest team in Mexico for the past couple of years. Guillermo Ochoa, Bruno Valdez, Guido Rodriguez and Nicolas Castillo provide a strong spine. América should reach the playoffs and it is formidable in knockout competition, so it is easy to see why it is the outright favorite to lift the trophy.
Monterrey is the champion of Mexico for the first time since 2010. It picked up seven wins and two draws in its final nine Apertura regular season games. That saw it narrowly sieze the final playoff spot, finishing two points clear of ninth placed Pachuca. It maintained that form throughout the playoffs and ended up getting the better of América in that final shootout. It is also the champion of North America. Rogelio Funes Mori is a dangerous striker, and it is not to be taken lightly in the Clausura championship. However, no team has won both the Apertura and Clausura in a single season since León in 2013-14.
Tigres UANL (+500)
Tigres is the reigning Clausura champion after beating León in last year’s final. Manager Ricardo Ferretti spent many months doubling up as interim manager of the Mexican national team, but he has now handed the reins to Gerardo Martino and he can focus solely on Tigres. The team lost 5-4 on aggregate to América in a thrilling Apertura quarter-final last month. Carlos Salcedo and Guido Pizarro make Tigres a solid team, and if Eduardo Vargas and Enner Valencia hit form it could be dangerous, and +500 looks like a good set of odds on this team.
León remains the only team to ever win the Apertura and Clausura in a single season, but it has not won either tournament since then. Yet it was brilliant during the Clausura championship last year. It finished top of the regular season standings and became the first team to ever win 12 games in a row in the Mexican top division. It went all the way to the final and suffered a narrow defeat to Tigres. León then suffered a shock defeat to Monarcas Morelia in the Apertura quarter-finals last month. If it can recapture the form it displayed last year, when Angel Mena ran riot, then it could be formidable.
Santos Laguna (+1100)
Santos finished top of the Liga MX Apertura standings after racking up an impressive 37 points. It won more games and scored more goals than any other team, which made up for a lackluster defensive record. Yet those defensive failings came back to haunt it as it suffered a 5-2 thrashing at the hands of Monterrey in its first playoff game and crashed out. If Guillermo Almada can fix its defensive issues, Santos could be a threat in the Clausura, but right now it looks too shaky at the back to win the title. América and Tigres have the quality and the experience to win this tournament, and they make more appealing choices.