Liga MX Apertura 2021 Review

Liga MX
Photo Credit: Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images

Liga MX has now concluded the regular season of the Apertura (Grita Mexico) 2021 season. We’ll unpack and review the last four months that brought us to this point and go over the format of Liguilla and present the matchups in the Repechaje. Next week we’ll have a breakdown of each matchup.

How does Liga MX work?

For newcomers to Liga MX, it may be difficult to follow the format and the vocabulary. I am here to help break it down and make it easier to understand. 

Liga MX plays two seasons or tournaments per year. The season that runs from July to November is called the Apertura (opening season), and the season that runs from January to April is called the Clausura (closing season). There are 18 teams in Liga MX which play each other once per season (17 games). After each season, there are playoffs known as the Liguilla. Since the Apertura 2020 season, 12 teams qualify for Liguilla; the top four advancing to the quarterfinals. Teams that finish 5-12 play the first round known as Repechaje in a single game hosted by the team that finished higher in the regular season. After Repechaje, every round is played over two legs (games); the higher seed hosts the second and deciding leg. The winner is the team that scores the most goals over the two games (aggregate). Prior to the final, if there is a tie on the aggregate score the higher seed moves on. In the final, 30 minutes of extra time are played and then penalties, if necessary. Hopefully this helps answer some questions about the format.

Jornada 17 Results

Santos Laguna 0-0 Atletico San Luis

Pumas 4-3 Cruz Azul

Tijuana 3-2 Pachuca

Tigres 3-0 Juarez

Club America 0-0 Monterrey

Leon 3-0 Necaxa

Mazatlan 0-1 Guadalajara

Puebla 1-0 Toluca

Atlas 2-0 Queretaro

Apertura 2021 Results

Biggest Surprise


Atlas has rapidly improved over the last year.  Los Roginegros were at the bottom of the coefficient table and just finished 16th in the Apertura 2020 season. They improved to 7th in the Clausura 2021 season and performed admirably in the Liguilla. I don’t think many people thought they were capable of finishing 2nd this season though. Atlas has been excellent on the defending end and only allowed 10 goals. They will be tough to beat in the Liguilla.

Biggest Disappointment (Tie)

Cruz Azul

This one seems harsh. On one hand, Cruz Azul did finally end their curse in the Clausura 2021 and could be suffering from title hangover. On the other hand, La Maquina did have the summer break and they just haven’t been the dominant force they were the entire year before. Finishing 8th isn’t a disaster, but their squad is capable of better.


Los Rayados have no excuse to be this low (9th). They have the most expensive and deepest roster in Liga MX. They have looked really good at times this season but were mostly inconsistent. There’s no sugar-coating the fact that only getting two points from the last six games is awful, especially for the talent Monterrey has.

Liga MX Apertura 2021 Liguilla

Repechaje Matchups

12 Atletico San Luis vs Santos Laguna 5

11 Pumas vs Toluca 6

10 Guadalajara vs Puebla 7

9 Monterrey vs Cruz Azul 8

Next week, we’ll have a breakdown for each of these matchups since the teams are off due to the international break!

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