Summer vacation is almost over, it is nearly time to get Liga MX rolling again. Sunday evening at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA the Campeon de Campeones (Champion of Champions) and SuperCopaMX will serve as the curtain call for the new 2017 Apertura season. Club Queretaro will take on Club America in the SuperCopaMX while 2016 Apertura league champions Tigres UANL will battle against the newly crowned 2017 Clausura league champions Chivas Guadalajara.
Both matches are scheduled for Sunday July 16th at StubHub Center with the SuperCopaMX match taking place at 2:30PM (Pacific) and the Campeon de Campeones kicking off at 7:45PM (Pacific). Fans watching at home and in the stadium will be able to enjoy Mexico’s third group stage match in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup against Curucao in between both matches.
The yearly event that pits champions of the cup and league against each other serves as the official kickoff to the new Liga MX soccer year. The 2017 Apertura season kicks off less than a week later on Friday July 21st.
CLUB QUERETARO vs CLUB AMERICA
The first match of the day will have the 2016 Apertura Copa MX champion Club Queretaro against Club America. Theoretically Queretaro should be facing the 2017 Clausura Copa MX champion Chivas Guadalajara, but since Chivas also won the 2017 Clausura league title, they’ll be taking place in the Campeon de Campeones series. Club America was called to replace Chivas in the SuperCopaMX since America were the team that won the most points during the group stage of both Apertura and Clausura editions of the Copa MX.
America made several important changes to its roster following the 2017 Clausura season. The most important change came in the leadership department. Manager Ricardo La Volpe had his contract expire and not renewed while club administrators Ricardo Pelaez and Jose Romano were also let go from the institution. Former America manager Miguel “Piojo” Herrera will make his return to the club.
Herrera left Club America to take over the Mexican National Team as it was heading into the 2014 FIFA World Cup. His former assistant Santiago Baños was was given an administrator’s job with the National Team after Herrera was let go following the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Baños will join Herrera once again at America but no longer as his assistant but rather his boss as he takes over the administrator position left vacant by Pelaez.
When ‘El Piojo’ left in late 2013 he did so with the admiration and backing of the very rigorous America fan base. He left on the best of terms. And nothing would be more special for Herrera to come back and lift an official trophy right away.
Queretaro won the cup in the 2016 Apertura but struggled in league play for the majority of that tournament and the 2017 Clausura season. Things started to look up for Queretaro when the team decided to let go of Liga MX legend Victor Manuel Vucetich as manager and bring in a rookie manager in
Jaime Lozano. The team started picking up positive results and even seemed to be making a late push for the Liga MX playoffs but that effort fell just short.
Nothing will motivate Lozano’s Queretaro than to win a piece of silverware against a team like America prior to the start of a new season.
TIGRES UANL vs CHIVAS GUADALAJARA, LIGA MX FINAL REMATCH
Tigres UANL did not have to wait long to have a chance at revenge against Chivas Guadalajara. The 2016 Apertura champions Tigres were gunning for back-to-back titles but Chivas took that from the just a few months ago in the 2017 Clausura final.
It was a bitter pill to swallow for Tigres. The Monterrey side have been pushing to become one Mexico’s elite clubs through big name transfers like Andre Pierre-Gignac and Eduardo Vargas. They have taken that very expensive talent and won a handful of league titles recently (2015 Apertura and 2016 Apertura). But they have also come short in several occasions losing out trophies in the final (2014 Apertura, 2015 Copa Libertadores, 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League, 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League and 2017 Clausura). This Campeon de Campeones trophy will be the perfect opportunity for Tigres to leave behind the 2017 Clausura disappointment and start the new Liga MX season on the right foot.
Chivas on the other hand has been on an impressive rise over the past two years. It was not too long ago when Chivas found themselves in the middle of the relegation race with real possibilities of being dropped into Mexico’s Liga de Ascenso (second division) for the first time in club history. The dark days for Chivas were only made worse with their arch-rivals Club America finding success. America was able to first equalize Chivas and then surpass them in the league title count.
But Chivas is back. Chivas have accumulated four titles (2017 Clausura league title, 2017 Clausura Copa MX, 2016 SuperCopaMX and 2015 Apertura Copa MX) over the past two years. Argentine manager Matias Almeyda saved Chivas from the dreaded relegation drop and now has the team winning titles and a fifth one would solidify the importance of his project.