Liga MX Power Rankings: Monterrey move to top as America slip up
It couldn't last forever. Club America had to lose eventually. It's just that almost anything would've been preferable to a 1-0 defeat to Mexico City rivals Pumas in the Estadio Azteca. The loss let the increasingly organized and clinical Monterrey sneak up to first place in the Power Rankings after its 1-0 win on the road to Queretaro.
Elsewhere, the Apertura season has been marked by inconsistency in performance so far in the seven rounds of matches, such as with Tigres following up a 5-1 away victory over Morelia with a 2-0 home loss to Chiapas this past Saturday.
Nearer the foot of the table, Morelia's situation is worrying, while Leones Negros seem to have woken up and look ready to compete, with Chivas locked in a battle against themselves to score a goal.
1. Monterrey (+1): Los Rayados have been missed at the top end of the table in recent times and while its football has been far from spectacular this season, the team has won its past three matches. Statistics-minded coach Carlos Barra deserves credit for finally getting results from a squad that remains one of the best in the Liga MX.
2. America (-1): Worryingly, America has not scored in two games now, although Las Aguilas squandered a plethora of chances against Pumas, with Luis Gabriel Rey missing what was almost an open net in the first half. It is difficult to believe America would've lost the game with Raul Jimenez still at the club.
3. Atlas (-1): Los Rojinegros looked like the team that was most likely to win against Santos Laguna, but sides are coming to the Estadio Jalisco and are happy with a point, as the visitors were in the 1-1 tie Saturday. Tomas Boy's Atlas needs to find a Plan B to circumnavigate that.
4. Pachuca (+2): Hirving Lozano is fast becoming the youngster to watch in the Liga MX and scored two goals of the highest quality in Pachuca's 2-1 win over Leon on Saturday. Los Tuzos remain one of the teams with a realistic shot at the Apertura title, after finishing as runner-up in the Clausura 2014.
5. Santos Laguna (-1): Perhaps unlucky to fall down a place, Santos Laguna is looking increasingly comfortable in its own skin this season. It was a mature display against Atlas and one that emphasized that Los Guerreros are a tricky opponent to break down. The tandem of Andres Renteria and Darwin Quintero further forward makes Santos perhaps the Liga MX's best counterattacking team.
6. Chiapas (+2): Coach Sergio Bueno deserves all the praise that is coming his way at present. Tigres had 13 corners, but Chiapas opened the scoring just after halftime from the only corner they got in the entire 90 minutes. The celebrations on the bench when Emiliano Armenteros tapped in late in second-half injury time highlighted an united squad. Chiapas remain a side to keep an eye on, however surprising that may have sounded before the season started.
7. Toluca (No change): Toluca's performance in Sunday's 2-1 victory over Veracruz was a far cry from the side that impressed in the Clausura regular season. Work remains for Jose Cardozo to get this team back to those levels, with a Paulo da Silva header winning the game against a plucky Veracruz.
8. Tigres (-3): The Jekyll and Hyde of the Liga MX this Apertura. Tigres can't seem to string two good results together. One win in their past five simply isn't good enough for a squad with Tigres' quality and depth and they can be thankful that others are stepping up.
9. Cruz Azul (+2): Not very exciting to watch, the 0-0 draw away to Chivas was nevertheless a decent result. The team is, however, a pale shadow of what it was last season and relies too heavily on Joao Rojas and Marco Fabian for attacking inspiration.
10. Pumas (+5): Guillermo Vazquez's team was second best against America for most of the game, but put in a gritty, determined and organized display. The reward was a bit of luck, when Dante Lopez's late shot took a huge deflection and looped over Moises Munoz to secure the three points.
11. Queretaro (-2): Los Gallos Blancos aren't playing badly, but are mismanaging games, conceding at inappropriate times and in bizarre ways. Monterrey's goal came within 30 second of Queretaro hitting the bar on Friday. It was a classic counterattack, but Queretaro left itself needlessly exposed.
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12. Veracruz (-2): Slightly unlucky not to pick up at least a point against Toluca, Veracruz has been defensively sound all season, but unless the attack improves -- the team has scored only three in seven -- Los Tiburones Rojos won't pick up the points their performances possibly deserve.
13. Tijuana (-1): Really should've defeated Leones Negros on Friday, but could only tie 1-1 in the end. Cesar Farias left as coach the following day, despite Xolos being unbeaten in five Liga MX matches. Daniel Guzman comes in and the team -- somewhat methodical under Farias -- should play with a little more flare.
14. Puebla (+3): Incoming manager Jose Luis Sanchez Sola -- aka "Chelis -- worked his magic at his hometown team, with La Franja coming back from 2-1 down at halftime to defeat Morelia 3-2. It was a massive three points for Puebla to keep them right with Chivas, Veracruz and Leones Negros in the relegation battle.
15. Leones Negros (+1): A good point away at Tijuana. There are some tentative signs that Leones Negros are ready for the relegation dogfight. Whether the quality is there, however, is debatable. Xolos certainly should've put the game to bed before Leones Negros equalized Friday.
16. Chivas (-2): Goals. Goals. Goals. Owner Jorge Vergara told ESPN's Raza Deportiva on Tuesday that players would see psychologists to try to sort out the problem. Chivas have now gone 364 minutes in the Liga MX without a goal and while the team isn't playing badly, the pressure of potential relegation is being ratcheted up each winless week.
17. Leon (-4): An early red card again set off Leon on the wrong foot and led to another defeat for the reigning champion. These are worrying times for Gustavo Matosas and Leon, although it would surprise no one if the team got it together after the international break and made a charge for the playoffs.
18. Morelia (No change): Planted to the bottom of the league and without a win, Monarcas need points fast, with Angel Comizzo's job on the line. Defense is the principal problem, with the team having received 17 goals in just seven games.