Tigres' Valencia, Monterrey's Funes Mori top entirely Monterrey-based Best XI
The Liga MX championship trophy will belong to the city of Monterrey this season. The only question left to answer is whether Los Rayados or Los Tigres will claim the crown. Both finalists combined for nine goals during the semifinals, and got through their respective rivals without allowing a single score against them.
Unsurprisingly, the top performers from the semifinals come from both Monterrey squads. As the teams prepare for their collision course at the top, here are the men who shone the brightest this past week:
Hugo Gonzalez, Monterrey: Unlike Nahuel Guzman, Hugo Gonzalez had to do a little bit of work to maintain his clean sheet. Morelia took 17 shots in the second leg of the semifinal, and Gonzalez made three saves, including a penalty stop on Raul Ruidiaz during a crucial juncture of the tie.
Leonel Vangioni, Monterrey: The Argentine full-back was especially hard on Raul Ruidiaz and Angel Sepulveda, who had been strong all season long. Not only was Vangioni adept on defense, but he was able to start attacks as well throughout both matches.
Hugo Ayala, Tigres: Rock solid and steady in the back, Hugo Ayala manhandled the likes of Oribe Peralta for the entire semifinal series. Though America had been in a goal scoring slump of late, Ayala led Tigres' defensive effort, shutting the Mexico City giants down for two full games.
Luis Rodriguez, Tigres: One of Liga MX's best full-backs, Rodriguez continues to impress in big spots. El Chaka was responsible for one key pass during Tigres' rout of America in the second leg, and completed 86 percent of his passes over the series.
Javier Aquino, Tigres: Another strong performance from Aquino, who continues to push towards a potential World Cup spot with Mexico next year. The former Villarreal man was accurate with his passes all series long, completing 90 percent of them in the second leg, including three long balls and one big chance.
Carlos Sanchez, Monterrey: In just 56 minutes, Sanchez influenced Monterrey's rout of Morelia on Sunday by scoring a goal and completed 83 percent of his passes. He was also strong in defense, patrolling the flank and recording five interceptions and five tackles over the course of both games.
Jesus Duenas, Tigres: The talented midfielder created chances galore for his team through both legs of their semifinal tilt against America. He also completed 53 passes, serving as Tigres' main director of traffic on offense. Let's not forget Duenas' usual contribution on defense: he won 10 duels over 159 minutes in both games.
Rafael Carioca, Tigres: The Brazilian signing continues to make a marked difference within Tuca Ferretti's system. Carioca is a top-notch defender (15 duels won over both games), he also created a big chance in Tigres' 3-0 win over America on Saturday.
Rogelio Funes Mori, Monterrey: Three goals in just 61 minutes for Funes Mori means the Argentine has regained top form just in time for the final. After a tough first leg in which he missed a big chance, Funes Mori came back with a vengeance on Sunday, scoring on every single shot he took.
Enner Valencia, Tigres: Valencia was all over America's defense on Saturday, scoring twice, hitting the woodwork once and missing a couple of clear chances that would've made Tigres' rout even bigger. In just a short amount of time, the Ecuador international has combined in a fantastic manner with Andre-Pierre Gignac and Eduardo Vargas.
Dorlan Pabon, Monterrey: The Colombian forward has transitioned from a finisher to a creator. Pabon created chances in both legs, including an assist to Funes Mori on Sunday night. Monterrey's strong attack has deposited an enormous amount of importance on Pabon, as he often combines with the likes of Funes Mori, Aviles Hurtado, Celso Ortiz and Carlos Sanchez to generate offense.
Honorable mentions: Agustin Marchesin (America, GK), Francisco Meza (Tigres, DF), Jose Basanta (Monterrey, DF), Jonathan Gonzalez (Monterrey, MF), Diego Valdes (Morelia, MF), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Tigres, FW), Eduardo Vargas (Tigres, FW).
Eric Gomez is an editor for ESPN's One Nación. You can follow him on Twitter: @EricGomez86.