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W2W4: Monterrey clash with title rival America

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Cruz Azul, America both lose

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W2W4: Toluca a test for Tigres' attack

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 By Tom Marshall

Pumas, Tigres, Queretaro try to stay unbeaten in Apertura

Andre-Pierre Gignac is once again on fire for Tigres, who have yet to lose a match this Apertura.

The defeat of Mexico's Olympic side has stolen the headlines this week in the Mexican game, but attention is now back on the Liga MX and the fifth round of the Apertura 2016 regular season this weekend.

Gignac, Tigres unbeaten run

There are three teams in Liga MX looking to make it five games without defeat. Tigres, Queretaro and Pumas all go into their round five matches with zeroes in the loss column. The common thread is the cautious and balanced approach each has employed so far this Apertura, as opposed to other more attack-minded teams.

Tigres face a complicated trip to Toluca for Sunday's game and would likely settle for a draw, although with French international Andre-Pierre Gignac having scored in both of the last two games, a victory wouldn't come as a surprise against a Toluca team still attempting to forge its identity under new manager Hernan Cristante.

If Toluca can score, it'll break Tigres' current run of 450 minutes this Apertura without conceding a goal.

In Queretaro, Gallos Blancos host the so-far disappointing Cruz Azul on Saturday, with coach Victor Manuel Vucetich putting together a side this season that could yet be a dark horse for the title. On the other side, there is already some pressure on La Maquina and coach Tomas Boy, after a transfer spree in which a lot of money was spent. Cruz Azul will be looking for a first win.

Finally, Pumas travel to reigning champion Pachuca on Saturday. Los Tuzos will have Hirving Lozano, Raul Lopez and Victor Guzman back from the Olympics. It remains to be seen if Diego Alonso decides to put them straight back into the team, which may be risky given the recent disappointment.

For Pumas, rookie coach Paco Palencia has come under some criticism for the team's defensive style in the early matches, but he won't care if his team can frustrate a strong Pachuca and earn a draw.

Leon's Tena needs result against Tijuana

In the week that Mexico's Olympic side crashed out of Rio 2016, there is something poignant about the future of Luis Fernando Tena -- coach of El Tri's 2012 Gold medal winning team in London -- being in grave doubt at Club Leon.

Tena took over Leon last January from current Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi and guided La Fiera to the semifinals of the Clausura 2016, where the team lost to eventual champion Pachuca.

With a full preseason, Leon was supposed to kick on this Apertura, not unlike Friday's opponents Xolos have done under Miguel Herrera. Instead, Leon has failed to win any of its first four matches and is propping up the Liga MX table on one point. La Fiera has only scored one goal and has been hammered 5-1 by Pachuca and 3-0 by Monterrey.

Some seemingly smart signings like young right-back Carlos Guzman, Andres Andrade, Efrain Velarde and Alex Mejia haven't performed as expected so far and Leon will face a major test against Tijuana's devastating forward line of Aviles Hurtado, Dayro Moreno, Gabriel Hauche and Milton Caraglio.

Tena not only needs a win quickly, but he also could do with the players conclusively showing that they are behind him on the pitch.

Where is Necaxa at?

Monterrey coach Antonio Mohamed declared that his side is back after last Saturday's victory over Leon, following a stuttering start to the season. And that makes Necaxa's job in containing Los Rayados on Saturday all the more difficult.

The most recently promoted side to the Liga MX is always the favorite to go straight back down (due to the league's archaic points-per-game relegation system) and it's not the exception in Necaxa's case, even if the team looks solid on paper.

Three draws (against Cruz Azul, Leon and Pumas) and a loss versus Pachuca shows Necaxa can compete in Mexico's first division, but if the lessons from Dorados de Sinaloa and Leones Negros -- the last two teams to get promoted and go straight back down -- are anything to go by, Los Rayos will have to start winning sooner rather than later.

That may be too much to ask if Los Rayados really are back, but the game will be another test of just how prepared Necaxa is for its battle to stay in the Liga MX.

Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.

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