Liga MX Power Rankings: Cruz Azul retain top spot, Pumas No. 2
MEXICO CITY -- Week 3 of the Apertura tournament in Mexico marked the first time that all four of Liga MX's big teams accumulated points. However, Chivas remains the only one in a group that includes Club America, Cruz Azul and Pumas to not have a win yet this season.
Their 2-2 draw at Toluca pulled them out of the cellar, leaving just one team (Pachuca) with zero points in the league table.
Here are the Power Rankings for Mexico's first division:
Week 2 ranking: 1
When you haven't won a single league title in over two decades, it's easy to get overexcited about a great start to the season. However, Cruz Azul has signaled to the rest of the league that they are indeed for real. The 1-0 win against Tigres this past weekend proved they can go toe-to-toe with Liga MX's finest and obtain the desired results. Three games, three wins for La Maquina.
Week 2 ranking: 2
Similarly, Pumas fans have had little to root for in recent seasons, so a perfect start to the season after three matches is a welcome change. After a penalty kick was called against them early in the first half against Atlas, it seemed like David Patino's team would have to claw back from a deficit. However, the attempt was muffed and Pumas cruised to victory against a 10-man opponent soon after.
Week 2 ranking: 4
At the Estadio BBVA, Monterrey did have their rival score a penalty kick against them early on, forcing the team to come back and beat a Queretaro team that played superbly for various parts of the match. In the end, the consistent pressure yielded in a second goal, and a comeback victory was thrillingly consummated in the 90th minute with Aviles Hurtado's strike.
Week 2 ranking: 5
America's last game will likely be remembered in the future as the day the countdown clock officially began ticking in regard to Diego Lainez's eventual European exit. The 18-year-old scored twice at Pachuca, dazzling fans with his tricky play and on-field intelligence. For now, those following Club America can marvel at what Lainez can do with fellow offensive stalwarts Oribe Peralta, Roger Martinez and Andres Ibarguen.
Week 2 ranking: 3
Yes, Tigres went down in the Estadio Azteca against a stellar Cruz Azul, but Ricardo "Tuca" Ferretti's boys were without French striker Andre-Pierre Gignac. The only real trouble here is if the Monterrey side can't figure out a way to win without their standout player down the road.
Week 2 ranking: 10
The win over Lobos BUAP might not be much to write home about, but Marcelo Michel Leano's team is eminently watchable, as they try to consistently dominate possession and create opportunities at every stage of the match. An already talented side continues to be elevated by an ambitious manager.
Week 2 ranking: 12
Losing your three best players before the season starts is never a good sign for any team, but it seemed especially cruel for it to happen to the reigning champions. However, Santos Laguna has recouped nicely after a rocky start to the Apertura 2018, beating Puebla at home 2-0 for their second straight win. They might yet get a chance to repeat in the liguilla later this year.
Week 2 ranking: 6
Tough loss in Monterrey for Rafa Puente's boys, but it was equally refreshing and surprising to see a visiting team come in and attempt to win over possession against one of the better Liga MX teams. However, Queretaro dropped back late and Monterrey pounced to take all three points. Only time will tell if the lesson was learned.
Week 2 ranking: 8
It has been a rough go for last season's runners-up thus far in the Apertura 2018. Unable to win at home against an ailing Chivas side, the match was compounded by an undisciplined Toluca getting into it with the referee, as well. Still plenty of time to turn it around, though, as Toluca is one of the most consistent teams in Mexico.
Week 1 ranking: 11
Moving forward, it will be hard to make what Tijuana's goal is this season as they continue to play so differently from match to match. At home against Leon, Xolos dropped back and defended against a team that shot 24 times on goal and held the ball far longer. Despite the red card that dropped them down to 10 men early on, it seemed patently unnecessary to cede the match's rhythm to their biggest rival.
Week 2 ranking: 7
Drawing at home against a hapless Veracruz side is just unacceptable, given how good Morelia has been in the recent past. Too many mental mistakes on defense were coupled with too many misses on offense to produce a disappointing 2-2 result.
Week 2 ranking: 9
A golden opportunity wasted to at least grab a point away from home against a team that is still adjusting to life without their biggest stars. Puebla looked punchless and predictable against a Santos team that really didn't do much to best them on Sunday.
Week 2 ranking: 10
After the 2-2 draw at the Nemesio Diez, manager Jose Cardozo claimed his team had been "infinitely superior" to Toluca. We are inclined to agree, even if Chivas' defense is still in grave need of fixing. Goalkeeper Raul Gudino looks to be a star in the making.
Week 2 ranking: 13
It is perfectly reasonable for Francisco Palencia to instruct his men to go out and smother opponents away from home in search of a draw. It doesn't make for entertaining football, though. Even trigger-happy Necaxa were stifled for most of the match, eventually squeaking out a 1-0 win at the end.
Week 2 ranking: 15
Wasting the chance to vanquish one of your most hated rivals is unforgivable. A one-man advantage for 70 minutes was parlayed into a quiet, 1-1 draw at the Estadio Caliente on Sunday evening. On paper, this team is loaded with talent. On the pitch, however ...
Week 2 ranking: 18
In Morelia, Veracruz slogged through a mistake-riddled game that would usually end with them losing. This time, however, they managed to coax a vital point that might serve them down the road in their quest to stay up.
Week 2 ranking: 14
Picking on Atlas remains very, very easy for any Liga MX observer. After a crushing 3-0 loss at home, that seems especially cruel. Therefore, we'll focus on a bit of good news: it appears former legend Rafa Marquez will be named the team's new president sometime this week.
Week 2 ranking: 17
After only three games, Pako Ayestaran's seat seems especially warm. Pachuca is loaded with young talent but has nothing to show for it so far. You know who's great at developing kids and doesn't have a job right now? Matias Almeyda.