I picked a team to follow at last, and seeing as Cruz Azul sounded cool, had a cool shirt, and were reasonably local, I picked them! I’ve been to see them four or five times this season, so far. And result…they just finished top of the league! Woohoo! Actually, no woohoo. Boy is Mexican football complicated.
Here’s how it works. The 18 teams in the Primera are split into three groups of six. But for now tht doesn’t matter. When the season starts they go back into the standard 18 team league format. They play each other just once, as there are two seasons a year, the Apertura and Clausura (Opening and Closing) seasons. At the end of the season they are put back into their three groups, and the top two from each group go into La Liguilla, a knockout tournament. But 2 teams from 3 groups is just six teams, and they need 8. So the teams finishing 3rd in each group plus one other (chosen I know not how!) play off and the top two go into La Liguilla.
Then the real tournement begins! Quarters, Semis and final are all two legged home and away affairs, and the winner has the right to add another star on their shirt. Guadalajara Chivas, Mexico’s most famous team, who play only Mexican players have 11 stars. Club Americas, the richest team playing at the Azteca Stadium have 10. Cruz Azul are third with 8. But I have high hopes that’ll become nine. They play Chivas at home on Saturday in the first leg of the Quarter Finals with the return leg on the following Wednesday. Hopefully I’ll be able to get a ticket!