Liga MX Best XI: Pabon and Aguilar shine
The nitty-gritty of the Liga MX season grinds on and while a club like Leon may make another incredible run at playoff time, players are emerging to make sure their teams are the ones at or near the top of the standings.
It's hard to remember that only last season, Cruz Azul was there, but the Cementeros' top players may now be past their sell-by date.
Others, however, like Colombian Dorlan Pabon, are just hitting their prime. Here are the week's Best XI in Liga MX.
Dorlan Pabon, Monterrey - It wasn't just that the forward scored all three goals for his team in the 3-1 victory over Cruz Azul. It was that each was better than the last, showing off both his ability and growing confidence.
Pablo Velazquez, Toluca -- Clinical finishing by Velazquez contributed a brace to Toluca's 3-0 victory over Pachuca. The Paraguayan striker may seem a running beanpole on the field, but his potency in front of the net shouldn't be doubted. His thumping header for his opening goal displayed his talent in the air.
Rubens Sambueza, Club America -- When a match goes to and fro, it matters to have a battler in the midfield. Sambueza is the sort to do whatever is needed to pull out a victory, helping the Aguilas to defeat Morelia, 3-2. Like good midfielders often to, he also contributed on the scoresheet, scoring the second goal for America.
Carlos Darwin Quintero, Santos Laguna -- The winger tore away on a solo run against Chivas that covered nearly the entire field before putting away the only goal of the game in the waning moments of the match. Quintero has a knack for the 'dagger goal' into the heart of a rival.
Juan Arango, Club Tijuana -- Sure, Dario Benedetto will get the glory for scoring both Xolos goals in the 2-1 victory over Jaguares, but it was Arango's lovely, incisive pass for the opener that helped secure the first win of the Liga MX season for Tijuana.
Elias Hernandez, Club Leon -- Losing captain Rafael Marquez to an Italian team meant that Leon needed a victory both for morale and to also climb in the standings. It was attacking midfielder Hernandez who helped stabilize the team's attack. Late in the game, he provided the crucial feed to Miguel Sabah for the winning goal over Pumas in the 2-1 match.
Paul Aguilar, Club America -- Another team dealing with the loss of their own star player, Raul Jimenez, avoided any let down thanks in part to the dynamic play of Aguilar. The defender is so consistently dynamic that he's in danger of being taken for granted. Aguilar run and pass to his last name-twin Pablo Aguilar opened up the scoring versus Morelia in the 3-2 Aguilas victory.
Paulo da Silva, Toluca -- Technically, Toluca didn't even need Pablo Velazquez to score, because da Silva had already contributed the winning goal. The Paraguayan centerback also helped deny Pachuca even a single goal in the 3-0 result.
Leiton Jimenez, Veracruz -- Jimenez and his defensive cohorts were able to repel all the attacks of Queretaro, and that has been no easy feat this season. A precious point was earned in the scoreless draw.
Edgar Castillo, Atlas -- He didn't score the winning penalty for Atlas versus the University of Guadalajara, but it was Castillo's penetrating run into the box that provoked the foul that led to the penalty opportunity in the 1-0 game.
Oswaldo Sanchez, Santos Laguna -- The pressure involved in facing a desperate Chivas squad and their fervent fans is immense, but if anyone could handle it well, it would be the veteran goalkeeper who once donned Guadalajara's colors with pride. Turning aside a number of shots, Sanchez earned the clean sheet that helped set up the Laguneros victory.
Andrea Canales covers both Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Follow her on Twitter @soccercanales.