How many times have América won Liga MX playoffs after finishing first in regular season?
Not many Mexican league clubs have managed a regular-season and playoffs double, but Club América are one of them.
As regular-season champions, Club América head into the Apertura 2022 playoffs tasked with overcoming the Liga MX’s ‘curse of the superlíder’: since the postseason format was introduced in Mexico’s elite division in 1970/71, the winner of the league phase has gone on to lift the title in the playoffs just 22 times.
América, Cruz Azul the playoffs’ most successful top seeds
However, history suggests that América are as well equipped to overcome this hoodoo as anyone. Together with Cruz Azul, Las Águilas have won a joint-record five Mexican championships after finishing the regular season top of the pile.
América first managed it in the 1970/71 season, under the command of Luis Grill and José Antonio Roca, who replaced Grill mid-season. Further league-phase and playoff doubles then arrived in 1975/76, 1983/84, 1987/88 and, most recently, in the Apertura 2014 tournament. Cruz Azul, for their part, followed up regular-season success with the overall title in 1971/72, 1972/73, 1973/74, 1978/79 and the Clausura 2021.
Toluca, Pumas, Pachuca...
After América and Cruz Azul, the Liga MX’s next-most successful postseason top seed is Toluca, who have topped the regular-season standings and been victorious in the playoffs on three occasions: in the Verano 1998, Verano 1999 and Verano 2000 tournaments.
Two teams have achieved the feat twice. In 1990/91, an entertaining Pumas side went into the playoffs as league-phase champions, and proceeded to win the Mexican title after a thrilling final against America. Los Universitarios also doubled up in the 1976/77 campaign. Meanwhile, Pachuca edged out Chiapas by one point in the Clausura 2006 regular season, then secured the championship with victory over Atlético San Luis in the postseason decider. A year later, Los Tuzos finished eight points clear of Chivas Guadalajara in the Clausura 2007, before seeing off América in the final.
Five clubs have been double champs once
Monterrey, Tecos, Chivas, Santos Laguna and León have all won both regular season and playoffs once.
Monterrey withstood the pressure of the superlíder tag in the Mexico 86 tournament: Rayados surpassed surprise package Tampico Madero by five points in the regular season, then secured a 3-2 aggregate triumph over Los Jaibos in the final. In 1986/87, a Chivas team coached by Alberto Guerra defeated Cruz Azul in the final after topping the league phase with 55 points - one more than La Máquina in second. In the 1993/94 season, Tecos beat Cruz Azul to top spot by three points and saw Santos off in the final.
More recently, Santos led the way in the Clausura 2012 regular season with 36 points, and were crowned champions in the final of the playoffs when they beat Monterrey 3-2 on aggregate. It was Los Albiazules who had come second to Santos, finishing four points behind the men from Torreón.
Finally, León were title-winning top seeds in the 2020 Apertura tournament, Los Panzas Verdes’ haul of 40 points earning them first place in the regular-season table. They finished eight ahead of Pumas, who were also the side they overcame in the final.