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My dear colleague is usually right on the money with these types of takes. The Copa MX final has usually been an afterthought, the forgotten Mexican tournament. In the past, interest has been reserved for fan bases looking to quench long title droughts (Cruz Azul, Chivas), those who wouldn’t typically get a mass audience remotely interested in their games, (Puebla, Veracruz) or those of us so addicted to the sport we’ll pretty much watch anything.
Quick, name the last five Copa MX champions. Okay, name the last three. The last two? Point made. This Copa MX final, however, has an air of actual interest around it. Why? One word: failure. Monterrey and Pachuca will look to take some silverware home on Dec. 21 after failing to do so in their last pursuits, the Liga MX final and the Club World Cup, respectively.
On the other side, Pachuca’s Club World Cup bid was never expected to end in silverware. However, it’s ultimately bittersweet to watch Los Tuzos cough up a chance to make the final and potentially face Real Madrid after a disappointing 1-0 loss to South American champs Gremio in the semifinal.
After an uninspiring 1-0 win in extra-time against Wydad Casablanca, Pachuca dominated large stretches of the match against Gremio. Like their Mexican rivals, the Copa Libertadores were themselves unable to parlay their continental success into league glory in 2017.
Pachuca might not be as hyped up for the tournament either but they definitely are in better spirits. After years of having terrible performances in the Club World Cup, they were finally able to tie Monterrey and Necaxa in getting a third place finish in the competition. While many criticized the team for failing to get to the final after facing the CONMEBOL team in the semifinals (when most of the times, the CONCACAF team is placed in the UEFA’s team semifinal bracket) the fact of the matter is they gave Gremio, CONMEBOL’s representative, a game and only lost 1-0 in extra time. That said, they will be coming back from a long trip from Abu Dhabi and to make matter worse, they will be facing the better team in Monterrey.