Liga MX Power Rankings: Club America and Santos Laguna lead the pack
MEXICO CITY -- There were 26 goals scored over the nine Liga MX matches this weekend. Only one was scoreless but, ironically, it was one of the most exciting games that didn't get a goal. Cruz Azul and Club America fought to a 0-0 draw at the Estadio Azteca, keeping Las Águilas in first place but allowing the upper reaches of the league table to tighten up. Just three points separate the top five teams in Mexican soccer, setting the stage for an exciting finish to the regular season.
Here are the Power Rankings for Week 14:
Week 13 ranking: 1
Gifted an extra game on their ground by way of Cruz Azul's move to the Azteca earlier this year, Miguel Herrera's team had the comfort of having all three matches against their rivals on home turf. They didn't win any of them. The upside? They didn't lose any of them, either.
Week 13 ranking: 3
No one's talking about the defending champs. Spoiler alert: we should be. They continue to be impossibly good on offense, with Julio Furch blossoming into a star and the latest in a long line of quality players brought into the league by the Torreon side. Last weekend, they beat a tough opponent at home whom they might just see down the road in the playoffs.
Week 13 ranking: 5
On more than one occasion on Saturday night, it looked more likely that Pumas would walk away with a loss, not a win, from Tijuana. But then, Alfredo Saldivar saved a soft penalty kick from Juan Lucero and Matias Alustiza dramatically slotted home the winner five minutes from the end of the game.
Week 13 ranking: 3
In their last four league matches, Cruz Azul has won just once. The drop has seen them fall out of the top of the standings and down into third place. On Halloween evening, much of this can fall by the wayside if they can beat Monterrey and claim the Copa MX. If they don't, the pressure will once again focus on the Liga MX drought.
Week 13 ranking: 4
Similarly, Monterrey took a loss this weekend as they geared up for the Copa MX final. Given their hard luck with championship-deciding matches on their home ground, this will be yet another test for a team that has had a huge amount of investment with few results to show for that expenditure.
Week 13 ranking: 8
Huge win at home for Toluca over Queretaro. In their last three matches, the Diablos had seen one player go off with a red card: two of those games ended in losses. On Sunday, they were on the other side of that scenario and took full advantage. Their fourth goal, culminated by young Mexican striker Alexis Vega, was a work of art.
Week 13 ranking: 7
Conventional wisdom says this has been an extremely mediocre season for Tigres and it has been, seeing as they haven't won in a month. But, their roster is so loaded that you wouldn't bet against them in the playoffs, which makes them sneaking in at eighth place (where they're located right now) a terrifying prospect for the top-seeded squads.
Week 13 ranking: 6
Their lopsided loss against Toluca happened largely because of the red card. It also showed Queretaro's inability to adjust at these types of situations, a fatal flaw they must fix if they want to get into the liguilla and close the season on a high.
Week 13 ranking: 9
Solid comeback victory against Chivas in Guadalajara. It must be said, however, that most teams would have put Morelia away in the first half. Chivas squandered a buffet of chances on Saturday, with Angel Zaldivar's goal the only positive. After a mid-season lull, Morelia's win this weekend puts them back in the driver's seat for a spot in the playoffs.
Week 13 ranking: 11
In Veracruz on Friday, Pachuca avoided a massive embarrassment when they came close to coughing up a 3-0 lead late in the second half. In the end, they walked away with a win everyone expected them to take from the beginning and a faint hope that they might be in the running for the playoffs.
Week 13 ranking: 14
Finally snapping a four-game winless streak, Puebla destroyed Leon on their home ground on Sunday. It is patently maddening that Puebla's identity can shift so wildly from week to week. Some days, they are punchless and appear to not know what to do with the ball in the final third. Other days, they look unstoppable in front of goal.
Week 13 ranking: 10
Don't buy into those who make it sound like Chivas' season is already over. With three winnable games left in the Apertura, they could yet sneak into the playoffs. What is troubling, however, is the team's inability to finish off sides like Morelia when they get the chance. They've now gone a month and a half since winning in the league.
Week 13 ranking: 13
This team hasn't lost in their last five matches. As incredible as it might sound, Lobos BUAP has been buoyed by a sound approach to their defensive setup and the rise of Argentine striker Leo Ramos. This weekend, their improbable run continued with a great, last-minute goal from "Maza" Rodriguez of all people.
Week 13 ranking: 12
This season has been an unfathomable mess for Leon, who continue to have some of the most fearsome offensive players in the league. Their defense, on the other hand, has been historically bad, setting them up for another semester of disappointment. A 4-0 loss to Puebla at home is enough to make some managers resign.
Week 13 ranking: 16
After firing their coach last weekend, Necaxa showed a bit more fight this weekend even if it was against a minnow in Atlas. Even then, it was disheartening to see Necaxa abandon the idea of a long-term project with a young, idealistic manager. With relegation gone as a potential threat and no hopes of a championship this season, it seemed unnecessary to fire Marcel Leano.
Week 13 ranking: 15
A diminished, angry home crowd saw Tijuana squander their dwindling playoff hopes at home on Saturday when Juan Lucero missed a penalty kick with the game tied 0-0. In the last two months, Xolos has accumulated a grand total of one win.
Week 13 ranking: 17
Since Sept. 28, Atlas has scored nine of their 10 goals this season. The surge in scoring has meant two wins, one draw and just one loss in that span. The bad news is more than one team will be knocking at their door for Jefferson Duque -- the man largely responsible for their offense -- this winter, and given their history, it's likely Atlas will go for the cash.
Week 13 ranking: 18
Veracruz just fired their second manager this season. They now have as many coaching changes as they have wins.