Dorados' likely drop and Herrera's Azteca return top Liga MX weekend
Chivas nearly safe from relegation, Miguel Herrera returning to the Estadio Azteca and Tigres searching for a much-needed victory. With the end of the regular season now just a few weeks away, there's plenty to keep an eye on this week in Liga MX.
Here are five things to watch during Week 13 of the 2016 Clausura:
1. Miguel Herrera returns to the Azteca
"Piojo" Herrera will be taking on America for the first time since leaving the Mexico City giants in 2013 to manage the Mexican national team. Now in charge of Club Tijuana, the manager will look to put on a show in the Estadio Azteca this Saturday when Xolos face off against Las Aguilas.
After their recent 4-2 defeat to Queretaro, very few fans will have much faith in Tijuana, but it must be mentioned that club is the only Liga MX side left without an away loss. With Herrera looking to impress his former employers and Xolos still unbeaten on the road, Saturday's match in the Estadio Azteca might be able to produce a surprising result.
That being said, Las Aguilas will have plenty of momentum after recently qualifying for the CONCACAF Champions League final. The club has also won their last four league matches and is just three points behind leaders Monterrey. The odds of Tijuana winning are slim, but Herrera's team will likely put up a good fight on Saturday night.
2. Tigres looking to bounce back
One could justifiably make the assumption that Tigres are doing just fine. Like America, the team recently earned a place in the CONCACAF Champions League final and is in the top eight of Liga MX.
Yet, Los Auriazules have only collected one victory in their last seven league games and may fall out of the top eight if they lose their match this weekend. Are Tigres in a crisis? Not yet, but there is a chance they might be if they lose Saturday night's away game against Pachuca.
Los Tuzos have racked up 26 goals in the Clausura, more than any other club, and have yet to lose a single match at home. Mexican youngsters Hirving Lozano, Erick Gutierrez and Rodolfo Pizarro are all having a standout seasons for Pachuca and have the ability to knock a couple of goals past Tigres.
This weekend's game will be a massive test for Tigres manager Ricardo "Tuca" Ferretti. The Brazilian has high expectations after winning the 2015 Apertura and can't afford to continue to lose momentum before the Liguilla.
3. Dorados' last stand
After months of calculations and guesses, we may finally see the end of the relegation race during Week 13. Dorados, with just eight points after 12 matches, will officially be this year's relegated squad if they lose to Cruz Azul at home this Saturday. Even if the club got a draw against La Maquina and won their next four games, the team would still be dropped to the second division.
Assuming Dorados are somehow perfect and pick up five wins in the last five matches, Chivas would need three points and Morelia would need five to avoid relegation.
This means that if Dorados beat Cruz Azul on Saturday, Chivas would officially be safe from relegation with a win against Puebla on Sunday. As for Morelia, the team would be one step closer with an away victory against Atlas.
To quickly summarize all of the possibilities: Dorados will eventually be relegated. The club might be able to escape with a victory this weekend and some other results in their favor, but the team's days in the Liga MX are surely numbered.
4. Chivas and Javier Lopez on fire
Speaking of Chivas, Los Rojiblancos are currently playing with an immense amount of motivation. With 11 points in their last six games, and a dominating 4-0 victory against Pumas last weekend, Chivas appear to be well on their way to qualifying for the playoffs. Thanks to the goalscoring exploits of Carlos Pena, Javier "Chofis" Lopez, Isaac Brizuela and Orbelin Pineda, the Guadalajara side has recently impressed Liga MX fans with seven goals in their last two games.
Lopez in particular has stood out. The 21-year-old has stolen plenty of headlines with three eye-catching goals in his last two matches. Against Puebla this Sunday, the player could again become a massive factor for Los Rojiblancos and possibly make a late push for a spot on Mexico's Under-23 Olympic roster.
With plenty of motivation and momentum, Week 13 may not only see Chivas secure safety from relegation, but also sneak into the top eight for the first time since Week 1.
5. Rayados securing a Liguilla spot
With a win against Chiapas at home this Saturday, Monterrey would be the first Liga MX club to clinch a Liguilla berth.
Los Rayados have easily been the most dominant team in the league this season and the top candidate to take home the Clausura title. The league leaders boast a roster that includes Colombian Edwin Cardona, Uruguayan Carlos Sanchez, as well as up-and-coming Mexican talent Cesar Montes. It would be difficult for anyone to bet against this talent-laden squad from winning this year's title.
Manager Antonio Mohamed struggled during various moments of 2015, but now has a well-oiled machine that should be able to find plenty of success in the playoffs.
Los Jaguares already have six losses and will likely add on another when they visit Monterrey this weekend.
Cesar Hernandez covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @cesarhfutbol.