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 By Nayib Moran

Monterrey still top, Leon rapidly rising Liga MX Power Rankings

If Monterrey keep winning, they have to be considered Liguilla favorites, though there's a long way to go.

If the Liguilla started tomorrow, Monterrey would be the favorite to win it all. But in Liga MX, the unpredictable is always an option, and clubs such as Xolos, Leon, Cruz Azul or even Necaxa can end up making deep runs.

October will be an important month in defining which clubs will best arrive come Liguilla time.

Here are Week 12's Liga MX Power Rankings:

1. MONTERREY  (no change)
Monterrey still has games against Pachuca, America and Tigres. Those are the games in which Monterrey's current unbeaten streak will be put to the test, but with numbers such as 20 goals scored and seven conceded, the idea that Los Rayados will finish the regular season without a single loss is strong.

2. CLUB AMERICA  (no change)
In America's tight 1-2 win over Toluca, Colombia midfielder Mateus Uribe scored his first league goal, but Argentina midfielder Guido Rodriguez was red-carded for the second time in league play. Had America ended the game with 11 players on the field, the win over Toluca might have been more comfortable.

3. LEON  (+6)
Elias Hernandez scored two goals and got an assist in Leon's 0-3 win over Lobos BUAP. With Gustavo Diaz as manager, Leon has yet to lose a game, and its recent home win over America proved that the club's intentions are to compete against the league's best.

4. TIGRES UANL  (+1)
Tigres' past two results (1-0 wins over Xolos and Chivas) were important because the team's known defensive stability showed up again. Keeping Xolos without goals at Estadio Caliente is not an easy feat because the club from Tijuana had at least scored one goal in its past three home games.

5. CRUZ AZUL  (-1)
Although Cruz Azul lost 4-0 to Pachuca during midweek action, it managed to learn from that defeat and on Sunday beat Pumas 4-1. Martin Rodriguez and Felipe Mora scored the goals in a game La Maquina won with ease.

Once again Xolos are experiencing difficult times, especially after back-to-back losses in which they couldn't score goals. The break will come at a great moment, because players such as Miller Bolanos and Juan Manuel Iturbe still need time to get to know the rest of their new teammates.

7. MORELIA  (-1)
Over the past four matches in which Morelia are unbeaten, they have scored 10 goals. Peruvian striker Raul Ruidiaz has scored five of those. Also, a win over America and a draw against Tigres at home are great results for Morelia. 

8. NECAXA  (no change)
Necaxa visited Pachuca at Estadio Hidalgo and managed to get a valuable scoreless draw. Although Necaxa had a more defensive strategy than Pachuca, it still managed to take four shots on target, causing goalkeeper Alfonso Blanco to make four crucial saves. Necaxa could have gotten a win.

9. TOLUCA  (-2)
Right now, Toluca might be in the playoff mix, but the losses it has suffered against Monterrey and, recently, America make one think that it might lack that extra spark that will keep it among the top eight.

Keisuke Honda is still settling in at Pachuca, and until he does, they'll remain an outside shot.

10. LOBOS BUAP  (no change)
Their poor home record is keeping them from competing for the top places. So far in the season, the Liga MX rookies have lost three home games and have conceded 13 goals when playing in Puebla. Those numbers are alarming.

11. PACHUCA  (+3)
It's taking a while for Keisuke Honda to win a starting role with Los Tuzos. Diego Alonso likes to slot him right behind the three forwards and play him like a No. 10, but it's not easy to figure out who Alonso will need to send to the bench to include Honda in the starting XI.

12. ATLAS  (+3)
Atlas has gotten two important wins against clubs who are in relegation troubles -- Puebla and Veracruz. Will this good winning streak provoke something positive? Only time will tell.

13. VERACRUZ  (-1)
There are no guarantees that under Jose Cardozo's guidance, Veracruz will be able to improve its current season. However, the squad has several talented players, and if he's able to convince those selected few, the team could yet spring a few surprises.

 14. CHIVAS  (-3)
The season after Santos Laguna won the league title in the 2015 Clausura, the club finished with 17 points and zero home wins. As of right now, Chivas, the league's defending champions, have nine points and zero home wins. Will Chivas be able to win one home game this season?

15. QUERETARO (-2)
Getting a 2-2 draw against Monterrey at home felt like a win for Los Gallos, but it also shed light on the fact that they don't have a brilliant squad, but a limited one instead.

Pumas UNAM are at a free fall with no end in sight. Would a new manager really change much?

16. SANTOS LAGUNA  (no change)
Under new coach Robert Siboldi, Santos drew 0-0 against Puebla. Last season, Los Guerreros looked like they were creating something special, but since last season's playoffs, it has all fallen apart.

17. PUEBLA  (+1)
It has been reported that Puebla will announce a new manager in the upcoming hours; the club's directors are looking for an experienced manager, and it will be interesting to see if this new veteran coach will be able to turn things around.

18. PUMAS UNAM  (-1)
Pumas have lost 11 of their past 14 Liga MX matches; the club's situation is critical.

Nayib Moran covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @nayibmoran.


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