The Leagues Cup is the latest tournament to pit teams from Liga MX against teams from the MLS. That has generally gone very much in favor of teams south of the border, and one of the semifinals will pit two Mexican teams against each other after three of four Liga MX sides won their quarterfinals match.
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Tigres UANL went to Salt Lake City and beat Real Salt Lake 1-0 thanks to an Eduardo Vargas goal to advance to the semifinals, while Club America beat the Houston Dynamo in penalties after the Dynamo scored a late goal to push the match to extra time.
Tigres UANL vs. Club America
Date and Time: August 20, 2019, 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: BBVA Stadium, Houston, Texas
US Television Coverage: ESPN2
Betting Line: Check Back Later
Club America and Tigres UANL squared off in the Campeon de Campeones last month. America had won last year’s Apertura and Tigres won the Clausura, so the two powerhouses squared off to determine the overall champion. A full 90 minutes couldn’t decide the winner, so they were forced to go to penalties to determine the title. There, Club America converted all of their spot kicks to win.
Both of these clubs are off to a great start to this year’s Apertura. Tigres defeated Monarcas 4-2 in their season opener, but unfortunately a Carlos Salcedo midway through the first half against Guadalajara led to a 2-0 loss in their second match. They were able to bounce back to knock off both UNAM Pumas and Necaxa and are tied for fourth in the table.
Meanwhile, America are tied with Queretaro for second place in the Liga MX table at 3-1-0. The club beat Monterrey 4-2 in their first match, and then they played a good Leon squad to a scoreless draw away from home. America beat Tijuana 3-1 and then knocked off Toluca 1-0 to keep their unbeaten run in league play alive, but they were unable to knock off Atlanta United to claim the Campeones Cup on Wednesday.
Tigres will be without Julian Quiñones for the rest of the Apertura campaign and some of the Clausura season. Quiñones suffered a torn ACL in mid-July, and it will take him at least six months to recover. Leading scorer Javier Aquino and Francisco Meza are doubtful to play in this match.
Forward Nicolas Castillo will be out for at least a few more months after sustaining a broken fibula two weeks ago. Not having Castillo is significant as he was one of America’s top players after coming over from Benfica earlier in the year.
Tigres UANL Player to Watch
Since joining the club in 2015, Andre-Pierre Gignac has made himself a legend. Gignac recently became the all-time leading scorer in Tigres history, and he has a total of 90 goals in 152 appearances. The French forward has yet to slow down at the age of 33, and he can be lethal in the air.
Club America Player to Watch
Roger Martinez was able to make his mark against Atlanta United, tallying a goal in the 57th minute to help America briefly take the lead in the Campeones Cup. Martinez is going to need to pick up the scoring with Castillo out, as Renato Ibarra will be focused on. Ibarra has scored in each of America’s last three matches.
Leagues Cup Semifinals Free Picks
Tigres have been the best team in Liga MX this decade, and I can’t go against them. They have been looking sharp and I believe they will avenge their earlier defeat.
Leagues Cup Semifinals Prediction: Tigres UANL 2, Club America 1