Mexican international defender Jorge Sanchez is seen in action in the Liga MX Apertura final against Monterrey and will be hoping to help his team fulfil their position as favorites to win the 2020 Clausura title. Photo from @Club America EN Official (Twitter)
- Eagles ready to hit back after penalty shoot-out defeat last month
- Monterrey are second favorites after their most recent triumph
- Santos Laguna could improve on regular season first place finish
Mexico’s double-headed Liga MX quickly returns to action this weekend with Club America rated as favorites to lift the 2020 Clausura title.
It would atone for the disappointment of losing on penalties in the final of the recently-completed Apertura section of the championship against rivals Monterrey.
America last won the Clausura in 2013. But after reaching the playoff semifinals in last year’s edition and then also reaching the final of the Apertura in December, the analysts believe they are due some tangible success.
They are priced as the +400 first choice to lift the prize with the bookmaker Bovada.
Liga MX Clausura 2020 Odds
|Team||Odds to Finish Top Eight||Odds to Win at Bovada|
|Atletico San Luis||+700||+6600|
Odds taken Jan. 7
Tigres UANL Rated Joint-Second Hopefuls
Monterrey, who defeated America in the Apertura final, are joint-second favorites at +500 along with Tigres UANL.
Leon are rated at +800 with Santos Laguna an interesting +1000 and Cruz Azul at +1400.
America – nicknamed The Eagles – do not begin their schedule until the second weekend of the new competition after playing until the last weekend of December in the Apertura playoffs.
They begin with a fixture which will immediately offer a view of how the leading candidates will shape up when they meet Tigres UANL at home on Saturday, January 18, at 10:00 pm EST.
Santos Laguna have won the Clausura four times since 2008 and offer an intriguing prospect at +1000 after their impressive run in the Apertura regular season.
The season opens with a clash between Tijuana and the Apertura regular season table-toppers Santos Laguna on Friday, January 10 at 10:00 pm EST.
Antonio Mohamed had promised his son Farid, who tragically died in a car crash in 2006, that he'd one day win the Liga MX championship with his favourite club Monterrey.
This weekend he did just that, bursting into tears after winning on penalties ❤️ pic.twitter.com/CWTkcwTN5S
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 1, 2020
Santos Laguna have won the Clausura four times since 2008 – most recently in 2018 – and offers an intriguing prospect at +1000 after their impressive run in the Apertura regular season.
They finished in first place after 11 wins, four draws and only three defeats and four points ahead of second-placed Leon.
They also had the Apertura’s second-leading goalscorer in Argentine Julio Furch who struck 12 times.
However, they suffered a shock defeat by eventual winners Monterrey in the opening round of the Linguilla two-legged knock-out playoff section.
2020 English Premier League Odds Tracker
Winners Finished Eighth in Table
Monterrey went on to score that penalty shoot-out win over America in the final after finishing the regular season in the lowest playoff qualification position of eighth.
America coach Miguel Herrera led the club to a victory in the 2013 Clausura in his first spell with the club and again to a triumph in the 2018 Apertura.
Mexican football observers state that America have become increasingly strong and well-organized in recent seasons and believe they are now ready for more success under a manager with a proven track record of winning trophies.
They proved their resilience in the Apertura playoff section by coming back from first leg defeats in both the last eight and last four stage – against Tigres and then Morelia.
Monterrey were the standard bearers for Mexican football in the Club World Cup tournament in Qatar in December and are also reigning CONCACAF Champions League title holders.
There was another comeback in the final after they lost the opening leg away at Monterrey by 2-1. America won by the same score in the return match at their Azteca Stadium home in Mexico City but lost the shoot-out.
Liga MX ➡️ MLS
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) January 7, 2020
Monterrey were the standard-bearers for Mexican football in the Club World Cup tournament in Qatar in December and are also reigning CONCACAF Champions League title holders.
It required an added time winner by Roberto Firmino to clinch the semi-final success for Liverpool , the eventual winners of the trophy.
They proved their pedigree in a narrow 2-1 defeat by European Champions League holders and current runaway English Premier League leaders Liverpool in the Club World Cup semifinal.
It required an added-time winner by Roberto Firmino to clinch the semifinal success for Liverpool, the eventual winners of the trophy.
Monterrey’s rivals in their northern Mexican city-base are Tigres UANL who are third favorites for the Clausura after finishing third in the Apertura regular season.
Observers believe that the Tigres squad is aging and point out that star French striker Andre-Pierre Gignac is 34-years-old.
Observers believe that the Tigres squad is aging and point out that star French striker Andre-Pierre Gignac is 34-years-old, although he managed 10 goals in the most recent Apertura.
Tigres won last year’s Clausura with a 1-0 aggregate victory in the final over Leon.
Really enjoyed writing this one. Hope people enjoy reading it!
— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) January 4, 2020
Queretaro finished fourth in the Apertura 2019 regular season standings and offer good value at +225 for another top-eight finish. The same goes for Necaxa who were fifth and are now +200 for the leading eight playoff spots.
The Liga MX competition is divided into two separate championships which take place over the course of a regular season span.
The Apertura is played from summer until early winter. The Clausura runs from early January until Springtime.
Leon Second in Apertura Regular Standings
The Clausura third favorites Leon were impressive in the Apertura regular season and finished second in the standings with nine wins, six draws and only three defeats.
But they were beaten at the first knockout playoff stage by Morelia.
I’ll back Monterrey to repeat as champs in the Clausura while tipping Queretaro and Necaxa as strong plays for the playoffs.
John Dillon is a leading member of the UK's sporting media, having spent three decades as a national newspaper soccer and sports writer, broadcaster and author. He has covered five World Cups, six European Championships and was Chief Sports Writer at the Daily Express for 14 years.