An introduction to the Liga MX Clausura Liguilla playoffs

Get to know the eight teams vying for the title

(Liga MX)

The 2017 Liga MX Clausura playoffs have kicked off with the top eight teams from the regular season of the second championship of the 2016/17 campaign (the Clausura). Each of the three playoff rounds consist of two legs. The away goals rule is in effect in the quarterfinals and semifinals (the final uses extra time and a shootout, if needed). Here are the match-ups and a quick rundown of each of the eight clubs:

(Liga MX)

Tigres UANL

Top division titles: 5
Position in regular season: 7th
Nickname: Tigres (Tigers)
Location: San Nicolás de los Garza, Nuevo León
Notable players: Andre-Pierre Gignac, Ismael Sosa, Eduardo Vargas, José Francisco Torres
Biggest rivals: Monterrey

Interesting fact: In the past couple of years, Tigres have spent big on their players and have been rewarded for it. Los Felinos bought French striker Andre-Pierre Gignac and handed him a contract 10 times larger than the average Liga MX salary.

CF Monterrey

Top division titles: 4
Position in regular season: 2nd
Nickname: Los Rayados (The Striped Ones)
Location: Monterrey, Nuevo León
Notable players: Carlos Sanchez, Dorlan Pabón, Edwin Cardona, Rogelio Funes Mori, Edgar Castillo
Biggest rivals: Tigres UANL

Interesting fact: In 2016, Monterrey led the league with the highest attendance, averaging 48,392 fans per match (7,000 more than rivals Tigres).

Santos Laguna

Top division titles: 5
Position in regular season: 5th
Nickname: Los Guerreros (The Warriors)
Location: Torreón, Coahuila
Notable players: Carlos Izquierdoz, Jonathan Rodriguez, Ventura Alvarado, Jorge Villafaña,
Biggest rivals: Monterrey, Tigres UANL

Interesting fact: Their stadium is the first in the world to have a church in it.

(Santos Laguna)

Deportivo Toluca FC

Top division titles: 10
Position in regular season: 4th
Nickname: Los Diablos Rojos (The Red Devils), Los Choriceros (The Sausagers)
Location: Toluca
Notable players: Fernando Uribe, Pablo Barrientos, Enrique Triverio
Biggest rivals: Club América, Club Atlas, Neza FC

Interesting fact: 2017 is a huge year for Toluca as they celebrate their centennial. The club was created back in 1917 and is considered the fifth oldest Mexican football club.

Monarcas Morelia

Top division titles: 1
Position in regular season: 8th
Nickname: La Monarquía (The Monarchy)
Location: Morelia, Michoacán
Notable players: Raul Ruidiaz, Gaston Lezcano, Andy Polo (“The Jewel”)
Biggest rivals: Club América

Interesting fact: Morelia avoided relegation and qualified for Liguilla in dramatic fashion thanks to leading scorer Raul Ruidiaz.

Club Tijuana

Top division titles: 1
Position in regular season: 1st
Nickname: Los Xolos
Location: Tijuana, Baja California
Notable players: Avilés Hurtado, Victor Malcorra, Joe Corona, Michael Orozco, Paul Arriola
Biggest rivals: Mérida, Club León

Interesting fact: Tijuana is currently coached by eccentric former Mexico head coach Miguel Herrera.

Club Atlas

Top division titles: 1
Position in regular season: 6th
Nickname: Los Zorros (The Foxes)
Location: Guadalajara, Jalisco
Notable players: Matias Alustiza, Luis Reyes, Rafa Marquez
Biggest rivals: Guadalajara, Deportivo Toluca, Querétaro

Interesting fact: One of the founding members of the Mexican league, Atlas’ only title came in 1951. ESPN’s Tom Marshall has compared their plight to that of the Chicago Cubs.

CD Guadalajara

Top division titles: 11
Position in regular season: 3rd
Nickname: Las Chivas (The Goats)
Location: Guadalajara, Jalisco
Notable players: Rodolfo Cota, Alan Pulido, Angel Zaldivar
Biggest rivals: Club América

Interesting fact: Called “Chivas Locas” (Crazy Goats) by rival fans as an insult in 1949, the name was embraced to the point of officially being used by the club itself.