By DANIEL PRICE
The Liga MX semifinals start on Wednesday evening, with Club Leon facing Toluca and Santos Laguna playing Pachuca.
Of the two games, Leon vs Toluca is arguably the more entertaining. The matchup sees the reigning champions face the side who finished second in both the regular season and CONCACAF Champions League. If Leon manage to progress they will have eliminated the two sides who finished top of the pile in the regular season, and would go into the final confident of taking their second title in six months.
All eyes will be on the performance of Carlos Pena – the midfielder has suffered a drop in form in recent months and it remains to be seen if he can now respond when it matters most. With Mexico manager Herrera set to name his 23-man World Cup squad on Friday both he and teammate Luis Montes will be trying hard to establish themselves as his preferred midfield starter in Brazil on June 13th.
Toluca undoubtedly go into the tie as favorites for the championship, but after being the underdogs to Cruz Azul throughout the domestic and continental campaigns it remains to be seen if the tag is a help or a hindrance to them. They will be looking to top scorer Pablo Velazquez and diminutive midfielder Isaac Brizuela to inflict the damage on the league’s second strongest defense.
Here’s a full rundown of the semifinal schedule:
9:30pm – Pachuca vs. Santos Laguna
9:05pm – Club Leon vs. Toluca
9pm – Santos Laguna vs. Pachuca
1pm – Toluca vs. Club Leon