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 By Nayib Moran

Monterrey still top Liga MX Power Rankings, Tigres up to No. 3

Aviles Hurtado and Monterrey did lose last week but it's all part of the rotation ahead of the Liguilla.

It's been a busy week in Liga MX because there were midweek games before Week 14 got underway. Teams like Monterrey and America switched their line-ups around to give rest to several of their key players, while Queretaro became the sixth team to fire its coach.

Only three match-dates separate us from the Liguilla so with that in mind, here are Week 14's Liga MX Power Rankings:

1. MONTERREY  (no change)
To see Monterrey suffer a 2-0 loss against Puebla on Wednesday was unforeseen but manager Antonio "Turco" Mohamed saw it right to rotate his squad in the games against Puebla and Pumas. He wants his players to arrive fresh to the Liguilla and luckily in its visit to Pumas, it got a 1-0 win.

2. CLUB AMERICA  (no change)
Coming off a 2-1 win over Chivas in the Clasico Nacional, Miguel "Piojo" Herrera decided to give rest to starters like Pablo Aguilar, Oribe Peralta and Darwin Quintero, but the plan didn't work because Necaxa played excellent defense and took a 1-0 win over America. Next week America travels to Monterrey.

3. TIGRES UANL  (+1)
When it looked like Javier Aquino's red card in the 34th minute was going to complicate the game for Tigres, Toluca's Alexis Vega was also sent off minutes later. Once the game was 10 vs. 10, Tigres took over thanks to an inspired Enner Valencia, who got a brace in an easy 3-0 victory.

4. MORELIA  (+1)
Morelia continues its impressive season. This past week it got a 1-0 win in its visit to Atlas, and a scoreless home draw against Leon. Morelia's last three regular season games are against Toluca, Cruz Azul and Necaxa.

5. LEON  (-2)
After an impressive start under manager Gustavo Diaz, which included wins over America and Tigres, Leon finally had a shaky week. Leon lost 2-0 to Pumas on Tuesday and drew 0-0 against Morelia on Friday. Nevertheless, it's still a playoff contender.

6. NECAXA  (+2)
After Necaxa's 1-0 win over America at Estadio Azteca, manager Ignacio Ambriz described it as a "brave act." This act could allow Necaxa to start a winning streak that will secure a Liguilla place.

Necaxa are getting the kind of results that could sneak them into the playoffs.

7. TOLUCA  (-1)
The panorama for Toluca looks gray because although it's in the Liguilla zone, its results against Tigres, America and Monterrey are ones that prove that it might not have what it takes to compete for the league title.

8. ATLAS  (+2)
Atlas couldn't beat Morelia but on Friday, it got an important 1-0 win over Xolos. The positive results keep coming for Los Rojinegros but they have a tough schedule coming up with games against Queretaro, Chivas, Pachuca and Tigres.

9. CLUB TIJUANA  (no change)
In the current season, Xolos' ups and downs have been a common theme. They had a slow start to the season but then got on a hot streak. Sadly, now they're once again suck in a rut that's seen them manage just one win in their last six games.

10. CRUZ AZUL  (-3)
There's troubling times at Cruz Azul, especially when taking into account that in its last five games, it has lost three by considerable margins -- vs. Pachuca 4-0, vs. America 3-1 and vs. Lobos BUAP 3-0. La Maquina's Liguilla spot could escape after its game against Tigres.

11. LOBOS BUAP  (no change)
Lobos currently have seven losses but throughout the season, they've been one of the most fun teams to watch. Their offensive style allowed them to pulverize Cruz Azul 3-0.

12. PACHUCA  (no change)
One of the interesting developments in Pachuca is that Keisuke Honda is getting looks in the no. 9 role. Pachuca's numerous talented midfielders makes it tough for Diego Alonso to set Honda in the midfield so he has opted to set him up with the forwards. The idea isn't working well yet but at least on Saturday, Pachuca got a hard-fought 1-0 win over Puebla.

Keisuke Honda and Pachuca had to work hard to beat Puebla as the Japan international learns how to play up front.

After a poor start to the season and a coaching switch, things are changing for Santos, who got back-to-back wins against Necaxa and Queretaro.

 14. CHIVAS  (no change)
In Chivas' 3-2 win over Veracruz on Sunday, players like Michelle Benitez, Rodolfo Pizarro and Javier Eduardo "Chofis" Lopez got the goals. This game was only the second time this season that Chivas scored three times.

15. PUEBLA  (+2)
No one saw Los Camoteros ending Monterrey's unbeaten streak but they achieved it. Unfortunately days later in their visit to Pachuca, they lost 1-0, but at least the sensations with Enrique Meza in command are positive.

16. VERACRUZ  (-3)
Veracruz continues to sink, and after four games without wins, it looks like it will start next season as the club with the highest chances of being relegated.

17. QUERETARO (-2)
Jaime Lozano couldn't get the team back on track and was fired late Sunday. There will be a serious overhaul in the club but until then, new manager Luis Fernando "Flaco" Tena will try to lead the team to victories to close out the current season.

18. PUMAS UNAM  (no change)
The first games under David Patino's watch have already shown enough evidence to think that Pumas will improve next season.

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


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