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Tune in to the 2019 Clausura Liguilla.
Though its origins go back to regional competitions in Mexico in the early 20th century, the league now known as Liga MX started in 1943 and has grown to become one of the best soccer leagues in the Americas. Featuring top Central American and South American players (as well as the occasional standout American and European), the league has a strong following in the United States already, with some of the league’s best teams making summer tours to connect with fans north of the border.
What is Liga MX?
The Liga MX name is a rebrand of the top-flight Mexican league that was initiated for the 2012-13 season. Eighteen teams compete each season from August to May but split each season into two halves: the Apertura (opening), which goes from August to December, and the Clausura, which goes from January to May. Each half-season lasts 17 weeks and is then followed by a liguilla, a playoff involving the top eight teams from each half-season.
The 2019 Clausura Liguilla starts Wednesday, May 8, with two pairs of teams facing off and then meeting in return legs on Saturday, with the other four teams going Thursday and then Sunday.
Liga MX live stream: Watch Liga MX matches for free
FuboTV carries Univison Deportes, providing a one-week trial and therefore an easy way to watch Liga MX matches for free. (Fox Deportes and Televisa will carry select liguilla matches, but Univision Deportes is where the bulk of the action will take place. You’ll also find Fox Deportes on FuboTV.)
- Cost: $44.99 for the first month, $54.99 per month thereafter (after a 7-day free trial)
- FuboTV devices: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Android TV, iOS and Android devices
- FuboTV local channels: Fox, NBC, CBS (check local availability here)
FuboTV is a solid TV streaming service option, whether your tastes run to entertainment (AMC, Syfy, FX), news (MSNBC, CNN), or sports (NBA TV, NFL Network). If you’re a soccer fan, however, it will appear tailor-made for you, with Univision Deportes, UniMás, 10 beIN SPORTS channels, NBCSN, FS1, and FS2 all on tap. If you can’t watch a match live, FuboTV offers a three-day replay for each match and 30 hours of cloud DVR. (Check out the complete FuboTV channels list.)
Which Liga MX teams should I know?
Let’s start with some rivalries. El Super Clásico, the biggest ongoing rivalry in Mexican football, involves Mexico City-based Club América—nicknamed the Aguilas (Eagles), and CD Guadalajara, nicknamed Chivas (Goats). The two original members of Mexico’s top league have long histories of success that continue today: America won this season’s Apertura Liguilla and is in the Clausura tournament, while Chivas won the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League featuring the top club teams in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean (including MLS teams). The teams also have rivalries closer to home: America shares a stadium (the legendary Azteca) and a keen rivalry with Cruz Azul, which Chivas have a crosstown competition with Atlas called El Clásico Tapatio.
Another prime rivalry involves two Monterrey teams: CF Monterrey and UANL Tigres. Called El Clásico Regio, it’s an intense competition that has produced champions of late; the teams faced off in the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League finals, won by Monterrey.
Other clubs with significant followings include Club Tijuana, a relatively new but successful franchise better known by their Xolos nickname); Pachuca, which launched in 1901 (making it one of the oldest club teams in the hemisphere); and Santos Laguna, a Torreon-based club that won the 2018 Clausura.
Liga MX teams:
- Cruz Azul
- Santos Laguna
- UANL Tigres
Liga MX top scorers
Angel Mena: A major contributor to Léon’s Clausura success, Mena is an Ecuadorian winger who spent most of his career with his hometown club, Emelec, before moving to Liga MX as a Cruz Azul player.
Andre-Pierre Gignac: Gignac is an anomaly in Liga MX as a French player, but he’s embraced life in Mexico and is part of a contingent of international stars (including Chile’s Eduardo Vargas and Ecuador’s Enner Valencia) who have made Tigres one of Mexico’s best teams.
Rogelio Funes Mori: The Argentine forward—who has a twin brother playing professionally in Spain—is a key member of Monterrey’s powerhouse lineup. He also has an unusual connection to the U.S.: He won the Sueno MLS competition in 2008 (think American Idol, but for soccer) and he’s featured for the likes of River Plate and Benfica.
Milton Caraglio: Cruz Azul’s top scorer has had something of a journeyman career. He’s now on his fourth Mexican pro team since 2016, was the first Designated Player for the New England Revolution back in 2011, and has also played professionally in Argentina and Chile.
Liga MX Champions
Here’s a list of recent Apertura and Clausura champions, showing the competitive nature of the liguillas. While there’s not MLS-level parity in Liga MX, there aren’t a fixed number of teams that have a grip on the title, either.
- Apertura 2012: Tijuana
- Clausura 2013: América
- Apertura 2013: León
- Clausura 2014: León
- Apertura 2014: América
- Clausura 2015: Santos Laguna
- Apertura 2015: UANL Tigres
- Clausura 2016: Pachuca
- Apertura 2016: UANL Tigres
- Clausura 2017: Guadalajara
- Apertura 2017: UANL Tigres
- Clausura 2018: Santos Laguna
- Apertura 2018: América
Here’s the complete list of champions going back to 1943.
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Phil West is a sports reporter and the author of two books on soccer, ‘The United States of Soccer,’ and ‘I Believe That We Will Win,’ both from The Overlook Press. His work has appeared most recently in MLSSoccer.com, Pro Soccer USA, Texas Highways, and Howler. Based in Austin, he is also a lecturer in the Writing Program at the University of Texas at San Antonio.