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Jonathan Rodriguez of Santos Laguna (L) jumps to kick the ball during the 2nd round match between Santos Laguna and Veracruz as part of the Torneo Clausura 2017 Liga MX at Corona Stadium on January 15, 2016 in Torreon, Mexico. (Photo by Saul Gonzalez/LatinContent/Getty Images)

 By Jason Gordon

NAN Sports Contributor

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. Jan. 17, 2017:  Soccer has always been an immensely popular sport, with origins dating as far back as 1863. Since then, a astonishing number of professional leagues have developed around the world.

One very successful example of a professional football organization is Liga MX. Recognized as the highest level of the Mexican Football League, Liga MX is one of the most popular sports leagues in North America with the fourth highest average attendance across the four major sports in the continent (A quick primer on Mexico’s Liga MX).

Every year there are two main tournaments held in the league. The word Apertura means opening, and naturally, the Apertura tournament takes place in the first half the year whereas the word Clausura means closing and the Clausura tournament takes place in the latter half or ending of the year. With 18 different teams competing in both of these tournaments since 2012, there are a numerous number of storylines and news to follow every season. This article will take a look at two of the exciting developments in the Clausura tournament that fans can expect to see now that Liga MX has resumed following a winter break.

Will The Tigres Repeat, Who Will Win It All?

The last Apertura tournament concluded with a very close, nail-biting finish complete with controversy as the UANL Tigres won the series on penalties against Club América following a last-minute goal by Tigres midfielder Jesus Duenas in extra time (Tigres win instant classic Liga MX final as America’s centennial ends in failure). This season will not only see the historically successful, twelve-time champions Club América looking for revenge and a path back to greatness but other teams who previously have had poor performances last season like Cruz Azul take a stride towards the next step. Much of Cruz Azul’s inevitable success can be attributed to the team having a new roster with the arrivals of forwards Martin Cauteruccio and Angel Mena.

Similarly, Toluca F.C, a team that failed to qualify for the playoffs last season, now looks better than ever with complimentary additions over the offseason and a bright start to the season following a 4 -1 win over Atlas to begin the season. Currently, 5th in the standings, Toluca’s real test will come in the form of a match against Club América on January 15th. Overall, the race of the Aperture league title is more open than ever, and if last season was any indication, the finals are bound to be exciting regardless if the both the Tigres UANL or Club América make it.

What teams will face relegation?

Just like in other prominent soccer leagues like the Premier League, every year the team last in league standings and accompanied with the lowest points per game played ratio in Liga MX is relegated to the second-tier league in the Mexican soccer system, Ascenso MX.

Following what teams fall into the void of relegation can be an exciting task. This season the race to relegation is expected to be closer than before with some of the last season premier candidates like Veracruz and Santos Laguna being early favorites due to a lack changes over the offseason and continuity in their underperforming rosters (Toluca, Paco Jemez and Necaxa: 10 Liga MX storylines to watch in 2017).

Likewise, Puebla and Los Canarios may also fall into relegation primarily because unsuccessful teams tend to experience less investment into new players by their owners or management. In conclusion, just as this Liga MX will find a new champion, unfortunately, another team will find its way out of the league.

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