Just a few weeks after winning the Apertura 2013 title, Leon FC is ready to hit the pitch once more. The Panzas Verdes will have a busy Clausura 2014 as they will compete in both La Liga MX and the Copa Libertadores.
“It’s possible, the team has the capacity to go for both tournaments,” defender Ignacio Gonzalez told ESPN Deportes. “We proved that last tournament. If we didn’t do so well in the Copa [MX], but we qualified and lost to the eventual champions. I think we proved that we can play both tournaments well.”
Leon earned a direct ticket to the Copa Libertadores after finishing the regular season in the third position on the league table. La Fiera qualified as Mexico 2, behind Club Santos Laguna, team that was awarded Mexico 1. Monarcas Morelia is Mexico 3 and will have a home and away playoff against Santa Fe of Colombia.
The team is hoping for a good start this January when they open the Clausura 2014. The champs will only have one preseason game as a tune-up for next year. They will be facing Monarcas Morelia in San Jose, Calif.
“It’s going to be a hard start,” defender Edwin Hernandez said. “It’s because we haven’t done much of a preseason. But it will be important to get good results in the first games to earn points since the team will have a busy season.”
The team had a short recess and preseason, but the players believe that they could start off well, but do admit that they may suffer in the later months.
“The last championship is over,” Hernandez added. “Now we have a new challenge where we will be looking for the top position once more. To me it’s important to repeat as champions, it’s why we are playing. We also have the Copa Libertadores coming up.”
Leon is in group 7 of the Copa Libertadores. They will face Bolivar of Bolivia, Flamengo of Brazil, and Emelec of Ecuador. This is Leon’s second shot at the Libertadores. Last year Leon qualified to the playoff round as Mexico 3 but were eliminated by Deportivo Iquique of Chile.