Pumas U17s are headed to the league final after defeating Pachuca in their semifinal series.
The two sides were knotted 2-2 after the first leg in Hidalgo, and the return leg was just as tight with Pumas getting the narrow 3-2 win in front of their home supporters at the Cantera on Sunday morning.
Morales and Figueroa standouts
Jacob Morales scored two goals, and Brian Figueroa scored one for Pumas in the return leg. Figueroa scored both goals in the opening leg at Pachuca.
Pumas, led by head coach Israel Lopez, came into the liguilla as the second seed and will face the fourth-seeded Rayados after they eliminated Chivas in their series.
Morales and Figueroa were both standouts during the Clausura tournament and are two prospects to keep an eye on.
Figueroa scored five goals during the regular season and has added four more in the liguilla, giving him a total of nine in 20 total appearances. The 17-year old can play as a second striker or as a left-sided winger.
Morales, who lines up as a center forward, led the team in goals scored with nine during the regular season. The 18-year old entered the tournament as a regular substitute, but after scoring six goals off the bench, Lopez took notice and inserted him into the starting lineup. Morales now has 11 goals in 20 appearances.
Tough opponent ahead
Pumas next opponent boasts two of the top five scorers, including the leading goalscorer of the Clausura, Daniel Lajud. Pumas defense will have to keep Lajud under control, as well as Aldo Tamez. Together the two forwards scored 19 goals, however, neither has scored in the liguilla so far.
Monterrey may come in as the fourth seed in the U17 league, but they were the league’s best offense (39 goals) and best defense (16 goals allowed). Pumas will have their hands full on their quest to lift the championship cup.
The success of the U17 side provides hope for the cantera, which has the promise of the current administration to be revitalized. A year ago Pumas Premier lifted the Segunda Division title, and now the U17s will fight for a title. Things appear to be on the right path.