Just as Liga MX and Ascenso MX have concluded their regular seasons and are poised to begin the Liguillas (playoffs, for those not in the know), so too are the national Sub-20 and Sub-17 leagues in Mexico.
[“Sub” is the Spanish word for “under” just so y’all follow.]
Both the U-20 and U-17 leagues consist of teams from all 18 Liga MX Clubs.
Because Mexico doesn’t have a reserve league for its first-division clubs, the U-20 league fulfills the functions that a stand-alone reserve league would. As such, players who are out of form or are recovering fitness from injuries will play a one or two game assignment with the U-20 squad. The U-20 team will play the same schedule as the senior team, playing its counterpart from the opposite club either the day before or the day after.
The cut-off point for registering as an under-20 player is the first of January, 1993. Any player born in 1993 or after counts as an under-20 player and doesn’t need special registration before participating in U-20 matches.
The squad is somewhat porous, as noted above, and each club can have up to four over-age players on the U-20 squad at any one time. In addition to over-age players, a club may register two foreign born players that are 20 years old or younger to the U-20 team. During the playoffs, no over-age players are allowed to play with the U-20 squad to prevent the possibilities of pulling in a ringer.
The U-17 squad is reserved exclusively for Mexican players born in 1996 or later.
The Quarterfinal Round of the Sub-20 Liguilla was set as follows:
1. Chivas vs 8. Pumas
2. Monterrey vs 7. Santos Laguna
3. Chiapas vs 6. Tijuana
4. América vs 5. León
Chivas beat Pumas 2-1 and Tijuana overcame Chiapas thanks to U.S. prospect Stevie Rodríguez. Meanwhile Santos Laguna won 3-1 on aggregate over Monterrey, as did León over América.
This sets up the semifinals as Chivas against Santos Laguna and León against Tijuana. Chivas and León will play away in the first legs and host the second leg, as they are the higher seeds.
The Sub-17 Liguilla Quarterfinals were:
1. Morelia vs 8. América
2. Chivas vs 7. Cruz Azul
3. Atlas vs 6. Pachuca
4. Monterrey vs 5. Tigres
After beating number one seed Morelia 4-3 on aggregate, América will go up against fierce rivals Chivas who beat Cruz Azul. Tigres brushed aside Monterrey to advance and Pachuca outlasted Atlas to round out the other semifinal match-up.