Liga MX Liguilla semifinals set with three Mexico City teams still alive

Cruz Azul, America and Pumas all made it into the last four of the Apertura with Monterrey looking to prevent an all-Mexico City final

Mexico’s capital will be the center of the Liga MX world for the next two weeks, with all three Mexico City teams qualifying for the semifinals of the Apertura.

Monterrey will be the odd club out, with Rayados the only team from outside the country’s largest city to get out of this weekend’s quarterfinals.

They beat a fellow northern club, reigning champion Santos Laguna, in both legs of the quarterfinal for a 3-0 aggregate lead. As the lowest seed remaining, that set up a date with No. 1 seed Cruz Azul.

La Maquina rolled past Queretaro 2-0 in the first leg and worked to a 1-1 draw in the Estadio Azteca to get into the semifinals.

The first leg of that series will take place Wednesday at Estadio BBVA Bancomer before Saturday’s return leg. Cruz Azul is looking for its first league title since 1997, while Monterrey last lifted the trophy in 2010.

The other series pits Club America, which topped Toluca 5-4 on aggregate in the quarterfinals, against Pumas, which knocked out Tigres in the last round.

Pumas host the first leg Thursday with America welcoming them for the deciding leg Sunday night.

With three out of four teams qualified, the final could easily be an all-Mexico City affair. The possability that both Cruz Azul and America could face off is still on the table.

That would set up a thrilling final between two of the country’s best-supported clubs with each leg taking place in the Estadio Azteca, Mexico’s most famous stadium where Cruz Azul moved at the start of the tournament.

However, the venue’s playing surface could be an issue. The NFL moved the contest it planned there between the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams because of the poor field conditions, and America elected to move its final regular season match to Toluca’s Estadio Nemesio Diez to allow for grounds crews to lay down a new surface.

Both America and Cruz Azul played their home legs there without much issue this weekend, prompting hope that it would hold up for four more matches.

Pumas, which plays farther north at the Estadio Olimpico, and Monterrey, which plays more than 600 miles north, will look to disrupt the party.

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