Bobby's Guide to Liga MX


The Legend
Usually around this time of year you see articles pop up in American outlets giving you a(n often very) rough guide to the Premier League, telling you why you should pay attention to it and all sorts of stuff about the teams. They usually tell you about how great Manchester United is, how romantic Liverpool is [include Beatles reference], some wise crack about Arsenal (usually related to Wenger's big coat) because they know Arsenal's fans will take the bait -- they always take the bait -- and they nearly always wind down by telling you that you ought to give some serious consideration to throwing your support behind that scrappy Tottenham, probably because the author hates you.

I decided to do something different and do a forum post (and let's be honest here, SG has more credibility than NBC these days) on why you should pay attention to Liga MX. Truthfully I was going to do a post on the entire Mexican league but I decided to cut it down to Liga MX, this is because I'm lazy. All of this information is probably wrong.


Liga MX is the biggest, richest league in all of North America, slightly ahead of the Columbia (SC) Adult Summer League, Men's 30+ division. It is the SEC of North American soccer. The league runs two 17-game single table tournaments per season (Apertura: July-Dec; Clausura: Jan-May), the top 8 teams at the end of each season qualify for the playoffs ("la liguilla") with the winner of la liguilla where the champion is determined. At the end of the overall season one team is relegated to Ascenso MX, relegation is determined by averaging the points-per-game ratio over the last three seasons.


América: Club América is probably the biggest team in Mexico (and in North America) though Chivas would probably take umbrage with that statement. América plays at Estadio Azteca, the largest (105,000) stadium in the country. Along with being one of the most popular teams Las Águilas are also the most hated, a fact that they revel in with their fans having adopted "Ódiame Más" ("hate me more") as their motto. [11 Leagues, 6 Cups, 5 Champions Leagues, 1 Giants Cup]

Atlas: Atlas is one of the older clubs in Mexico but it hasn't always been very successful, despite this the club is actually pretty popular and enjoys pockets of fans all over North America. Los Zorros at Estadio Jalisco (60,000) in Guadalajara and are known for their successful youth academy. [1 League, 4 Cups]

Chiapas (Jaguares): Honestly, pretty nondescript. They're based at Estadio Víctor Manuel Reyna (31,500) in Tuxtla Gutiérrez. Carlos*son Martínez had a cup of coffee there.

Cruz Azul: A big ass club owned by a big ass cement company. Most teams would be thankful to own one nice stadium...Cruz Azul owns two (Estadio Azul, Mexico City -- 35,000 & Estadio 10 de Diciembre, Hidalgo -- 17,000). They play all of their home games in Mexico City with their reserve teams playing slightly to the north in Hidalgo. Often referred to as La Máquina (the machine). [8 Leagues, 3 Cups, 6 Champions League*]

Guadalajara (Chivas): The other club that could claim to be Mexico's biggest. They're traditionally very successful (13 titles in the amateur era), though they've fallen on hard times in a bad way. Chivas built a new stadium recently (Estadio Omnilife, 50,000) but could actually go down this season if they don't sort things out quickly. [11 Leagues, 2 Cups, 1 Champions League]

León: Pretty successful club, especially lately. Last season Leon won both titles and they've got deep pockets too. They play at Estadio Leon (30,000) in Guanajuato. Pilar Perez is a La Fiera fan. [7 Leagues*, 5 Cups]

Monterrey: One of the two big teams from Nuevo Leon, Monterrey basically owned CONCACAF between 2010 and 2013, winning all three editions of the Champions League during that period. They plan on moving to a world class stadium in 2015. Traditional rivals with Tigres. [4 Leagues, 1 Cup, 3 Champions Leagues]

Morelia: A traditional club from Michoacán, they usually do pretty well but haven't won a bunch of trophies. They have a pretty big fan base and play at Estadio Morelos (35,000). [1 League, 1 Cup, 1 Super Cup*]

Pachuca: The oldest team in Mexico. Refer to themselves as Mexico's team. They had a really good period between 2000 and 2010. They've got money, fanatical support, and a very nice stadium (Estadio Hidalgo, 30,000). [5 Leagues, 4 Champions Leagues]

Puebla: Puebla is nicknamed La Franja (the stripe) because they have a big stripe on their shirts. Estadio Cuauhtémoc (42,500) is big. I'm trying to think of things to say. Their theme song is kind of catchy? Puebla will probably get relegated this season. Cuauhtémoc plays there now, he'll turn 42 this season. They were actually pretty good at one time. [2 Leagues, 4 Cups, 1 Champions League]

Querétaro: If you watch Queretaro play you'll hear a rooster call. They play at Estadio Corregidora (45,000) and they're a soccer team. They got "relegated" once but bought and relocated Jaguares (who in turn bought and relocated San Luis) so they stuck around.

Santos Laguna: A strong team from Torreón, Coahuila in northern Mexico. They usually compete for the championship and are generally a really well put together organization. They play at the 30,000 seat Estadio Corona and usually pull in good crowds. [4 Leagues, 2 Champions Leagues]

Tijuana: Officially called "Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente", usually simply referred to as "Xolos". The youngest team (2007) in Liga MX and a team that enjoys growing popularity (and hate) on either side of the border. Big ambitions. Owned by this man. [1 League]

Toluca: Another big team. Toluca is one of Mexico's older teams and they play at a charming little stadium (Estadio Nemesio Díez, 27,000) which they call "La Bombonera". If you live in North America you probably know a Toluca fan. [10 Leagues, 2 Cups, 3 Champions Leagues]

UANL (Tigres): Affiliated with Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, a huge public university in the Monterrey area, but currently licensed to Cemex. They're Monterrey's rivals, the two contest the Clásico Regiomontano against one another. Tigres is a very popular club and it's very rare to see Estadio Universitario (45,500) not sold out for a game. [3 Leagues, 3 Cups*]

UNAM (Pumas): The official team of Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City, the largest university in Latin America. Lots of fans. They play at Estadio Olímpico Universitario (63,000), the main venue for the '68 Olympics. They hate Club América, even more than the other teams do. [7 Leagues, 1 Cup]

U. de G. (Leones Negros): Freshly promoted. They're pretty popular given their affiliation with Universidad de Guadalajara. I have a thread on here about an FM save with them, you should read it. They were rivals with Tecos until Tecos got moved. Tecos' last game was actually a loss to Leones Negros on penalties. That would suck.

Veracruz: Welp. [1 League, 1 Cup]

* - current champions

Look, I'm contributing to the forum.


Make America Great Again
Couldn't care less about this league, but I like Pumas just because when I started to play FM (CM at the time), there were a lot of solid players there.


Unreliable deceiver
Staff member
You would think that Mexico, being the largest Spanish-speaking Latin-American country, would have won the World Cup already. Having a larger pool than Argentina and Uruguay combined; yet they've only ever been a 1/8 and 1/4 finalist team. I know that there's a big rivarly between the national teams dating back to 1848, but; how do the Mexican club teams fare in the continental tournaments? Do they sweep all before them in CONCACAF? I also have a vague idea that Mexican clubs are invited into the Copa Libertadores/Sudamericana.

Back Door Skip

Staff member
RobbieD_PL;3709783 said:
You would think that Mexico, being the largest Spanish-speaking Latin-American country, would have won the World Cup already. Having a larger pool than Argentina and Uruguay combined; yet they've only ever been a 1/8 and 1/4 finalist team.

Mexico basically looked as soccer as a sideshow that generated money through the club ranks rather than worrying about the national team. The national team was a joke up until the 80s. But after 94 as a Mexican fan, we have been living as if we were stuck Groundhog Day come every World Cup. The youth set up was a joke until they lucked into a championship in 2005. After that they took it more seriously and won it again in Mexico, in 2011 and making the finals in 2013. So due to that, Mexico is barely starting to generate talent, but the culture doesn't change.

That culture is about hierarchy of sorts. What that means is that even if a young up and coming, and talented player is waiting to his spot to shine, the manager would rather take the safe bet and play a veteran 30-something in his place. That happens both in club level and national level. Due to that split season bullshit, the win-now mentality makes it even more risky to play youth players over a seasoned vet or a hotshot foreigner. It's a lose-lose situation.

Also, the players are treated like merchandise that the owners pass off to one other to their liking. They have this thing called "pacto de caballeros" which roughly translates to "fuck you, pay me". Due to that, if a player decides that he wants to forgo his contract in a Mexican team to play abroad, he is basically blacklisted from Mexico. That poses a big risk for the player if he wants to migrate to Europe in fear that his safety net (Mexico) will be gone if he flops. That is why there are talented players stuck in the league. Also since the league is relatively rich, some players have outrageous price tags when an Euro team is interested, and that is yet another reason why players don't move on to better leagues frequently. That is, in short, why Mexico isn't as good as it could be.

RobbieD_PL;3709783 said:
I know that there's a big rivarly between the national teams dating back to 1848, but; how do the Mexican club teams fare in the continental tournaments? Do they sweep all before them in CONCACAF? I also have a vague idea that Mexican clubs are invited into the Copa Libertadores/Sudamericana.

Club teams have had their fair share of success, especially in CONCACAF play. Although for the most part Mexican teams don't take them seriously due to the competition being relatively low.

Pachuca won Copa Sudamericana in 2006 as a guest team, so they scrapped the whole guest thing after that.

In Libertadores there have been several Mexican teams making deep runs (Cruz Azul losing to penalties against Boca Jrs. in the final, Chivas losing to Internacional in the finals as well). But for the most part, since format was changed to favor CONCACAF tournaments, the teams that go to Libertadores flop now more than before.


The Legend
Also, there's very little stability outside of the big teams because they get bought and moved so often to avoid relegation or by lower clubs buying a spot in the Ascenso MX league so they can try for promotion.

The worst example of this was when Puebla got relegated and their owners tried to buy Leon and move it to Puebla, as you could understand the Leon fans were pissed and raised hell. Eventually the Leon franchise moved to Puebla so that Puebla could stay in the first division. Leon stayed in Leon (but not the first division) by purchasing the franchise of Unión de Curtidores, another team in Leon. This created the problem of what to do with the relegated Puebla franchise because no one claimed it, it eventually became Lobos BUAP.