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Liga MX Femenil, Apertura Week 16: FC Juárez and Pumas to fight for final playoff spot

Decision Day isn’t just reserved for American soccer. Liga MX Femenil will enjoy their own playoff-onslaught day after the women’s international break, with one spot available for the Liguilla.

The top eight teams make it out of 18 clubs. Two more spots were claimed this weekend, with Pachuca and Toluca securing Liguilla berths. However, one spot remains up for grabs. Currently, FC Juárez sits in eighth place with 26 points, but UNAM Pumas are on the edge with 23 points.

Of course, to add dramatic flair, the two will face each other on Friday, November 3.

There isn’t much math to do here. Three points separate the two sides. The only way that Pumas can clinch a playoff spot is with a win, considering they have a +8 goal differential, and Juárez is sitting with a +7 goal differential. A tie or a loss would mean that Juárez would advance, for their second-straight Liguilla.

To add more pressure to Las Bravas, they are the home side.

Take a look at how each team has fared in the last few weekends of competition, and who has the edge heading into ‘Día de la decisión.’

FC Juárez: 8th Place, +7 GD

Las Bravas haven’t enjoyed the most consistent season. Last year, they were a powerhouse; this season, the team is re-working their attack. Miah Zuazua, the star of the 2023 Clausura campaign, left and joined Club América. Now, FC Juárez relies heavily on Jasmine Casarez, who leads the team with eight goals.

However, FC Juárez is picking it back up. After a 4-0 victory against Santos Laguna in Week 15, Las Bravas stunned Club Tijuana on the road in Week 16 for three points. Julitha Singano — who hails from Tanzania — scored the game-winning goal. Singano scored off a free kick, earning a helpful deflection from midfielder Joselyn De La Rosa.

FC Juárez doesn’t lack on attacking options this season, with Japanese international Sayuri Watari wearing the No. 9 shirt, and supplementing Casarez with seven goals.

Longtime Liga MX Femenil defender Ana Lozada joined the team this season to help shore up the defense, after three years with Cruz Azul and five seasons with América. In goal, Renata Masciarelli has provided a steady presence.

FC Juárez go into the match with confidence coming off two-straight victories — especially with beating an already-clinched Liguilla side in Tijuana. And, having a clean sheet doesn’t hurt, either.

UNAM Pumas: 9th Place, +8 GD

Another team that has fought inconsistency issues, UNAM Pumas have had a rocky October. To kick off the month, they played Tigres and lost, before going to Necaxa and winning, 6-0. That’s an expected win, and they were able to pile on goals to help their goal differential numbers. However, facing Querétaro turned into a difficult task, with a 3-2 loss. After that, they lost at Chivas before winning, at home, against Atlético San Luis in Week 16.

In the recent 4-1 victory, Pumas saw four different players find the back of the net — all scoring in the second half. Mónica Monsiváis scored off a free kick outside the box, putting a header past goalkeeper Nicole Buenfil. In the 66th minute, Stephanie Ribeiro timed a run down the right side perfectly, cutting into goal and sliding her shot on frame.

Marylin Díaz scored a stunner at the top of the box, as the initial ball on a corner kick bounced out to her. Díaz didn’t waste any time in settling the ball, electing to take her shot on the first touch. There was nothing that goalkeeper Buenfil could do but stand and watch.

The fourth and final goal was courtesy of Ana Mendoza in the 77th minute. Mendoza picked up an errant pass and took it almost 40 yards down the pitch by herself — having no pressure from the San Luis defense — before getting her shot off toward the far post. A friendly deflection from the post sent it in goal.

Pumas’ only down fall in this match was the inability to keep a clean sheet for goalkeeper Melany Villeda. For San Luis, Trudi Carter scored in stoppage time, as the Jamaica picked off Villeda in a head-scratching play from the 29-year-old goalkeeper.

Inconsistency has been a big issue for Pumas this year. Losing against Querétaro could come back and haunt them if they can’t earn a victory against Juárez — a tough task for any side.

Other Apertura Week 16 Scores

  • Club América 4-1 Querétaro
  • Atlas 1-2 Chivas de Guadalajara
  • UANL Tigres 1-3 C.F. Monterrey*
  • Pachuca 3-1 Necaxa
  • Toluca 3-0 Cruz Azul
  • Mazatlán 3-4 Puebla
  • Santos Laguna 2-2 Club León

*NOTE: There is a new No. 1 in town! Take a look at the table below. There is currently a three-way race for the top spot in this season’s Apertura. It’ll come down between Club América, Tigres and Chivas. Keep an eye on those matches, along with the eighth-place match, in a few weeks.

Liga MX Femenil Apertura 2023 Table | Week 16

NOTE: The top eight teams in Liga MX Femenil will qualify for the Liguilla, which are the playoffs.

UANL Tigres122073938
Club América1202193536
Chivas de Guadalajara1031102533
C.F. Monterrey851102329
Club Tijuana842161028
Club León70726-921
UNAM Pumas62623820
FC Juárez55421220
Cruz Azul61723-719
AtlasFC Juárez42829-1214
Atlético San Luis33828-1212
Santos Laguna041039-294

Looking Ahead: Apertura 2023 | Week 17

*All Times in Eastern Time.

DECISION DAY MATCH: Friday, Nov. 3: FC Juárez vs. UNAM Pumas at 11:10 PM

Friday, Nov. 3: Necaxa vs. UANL Tigres at 7 PM (ViX+)

Friday, Nov. 3: Club León vs. Atlas at 7:06 PM

Friday, Nov. 3: C.F. Monterrey vs. Club América at 11 PM (ViX+)

Saturday, Nov. 4: Cruz Azul vs. Santos Laguna at 2 PM (ViX+)

Sunday, Nov. 5: Puebla vs. Club Tijuana at 1 PM

Sunday, Nov. 5: Atlético San Luis vs. Toluca 6 PM

Monday, Nov. 6: Querétaro vs. Mazatlán at 6:06 PM

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