Liga MX Power Rankings: America, Cruz Azul steady; Chivas falter
MEXICO CITY -- The headlining events this weekend in Liga MX fit into a perfect narrative: the Monterrey teams searching for continued legitimacy, going up against the old guard represented by Mexico City giants. In the end, the north did not prevail against the capital, with both Cruz Azul and Club America taking three points against Rayados and Tigres, respectively.
Week 10 ranking: 1
Statement win for Las Aguilas, who were coming off a disappointing result against Chivas in the Clasico Nacional. To abuse a cliché, it took grit and determination to grind out the win, with three defensive players (Rodriguez, Valdez and Aguilera) providing the goals in the Estadio Universitario against Tigres. It was Club America's first win in the stadium since 2014.
Week 10 ranking: 2
This is how you rebound from a tough loss. Following Pachuca's domination of Cruz Azul last week, La Maquina faced one of their most difficult matches of the season against a Monterrey squad aching to capitalize on their recent drop in form. However, Rogelio Funes Mori, who was sent off and put Cruz Azul on the road to eventual victory spoiled that narrative for the Rayados.
Week 10 ranking: 3
Not much to write home about when you beat Atlas at your place, but Santos Laguna looked especially calm in their domination of the bottom-dwellers. Julio Furch, Osvaldo Martinez and Jonathan Rodriguez combined to score while Omar Gonzalez provided the only goal for the visitors. With 24 points and five weeks to go, it's a near-certainty the defending champions will be back to defend their crown in the postseason.
Week 10 ranking: 4
The only Mexico City team left out of the North vs. South narrative this weekend, Pumas instead decided to make history in Guadalajara by beating Chivas away for the first time in 36 years. Martin Rodriguez and Felipe Mora scored to counteract Isaac Brizuela's opener on Saturday. The win vaults Pumas into the upper echelon of the league table with five weeks to go.
Week 10 ranking: 7
At home against Pachuca, Toluca appeared destined to once again disappoint their fans by losing a man to a red card early in the game. However, Luis Quinones scored the goal of the season (until now, that is) against Pachuca late in the second half, turning a broken play into a beautiful looping finish to grant his team the three points.
Week 10 ranking: 6
Sure, they lost at home and looked absolutely dreadful on the opposition's set pieces, but Tigres could argue that their late game efforts were at least worth them grabbing a spoil of the points on Saturday. After Gignac brought them to within one goal in the 58th minute, Tuca Ferretti's team had multiple opportunities to even the score.
Week 10 ranking: 5
Cesar Montes put Monterrey ahead at the Estadio Azteca early in the first half, but a defensive (and disciplinary) collapse put the game squarely in Cruz Azul's favor. Elias Hernandez buried a penalty kick and later, Rogelio Funes Mori was sent off, giving Cruz Azul a one-man advantage for the game's last 70 minutes. In the end, it was too much to bear as Edgar Mendez put the home team ahead in the second half.
Week 10 ranking: 9
It's always interesting to see an away team pressure their opponent so much that the home team's fans end up frustrated at their team's lack of action. That's exactly what happened last weekend in Tijuana, with Queretaro fighting to overturn a first-half goal from Fabian Castillo for most of the match. In the end, a questionable penalty kick gave them a draw -- but they certainly looked to deserve more.
Week 10 ranking: 8
After the emotional high that was preserving a draw in the Clasico against their rivals, Chivas fell back to Earth after being unable to extend their 36-year unbeaten streak against Pumas at home. The pressure is piling on for Jose Cardozo, who is back to receiving criticism from the same fan base that was slowly starting to warm onto him.
Week 10 ranking: 14
The first Morelia win in two months came at the expense of Leon, another inconsistent team that still harbors a glimmer of hope to make the postseason. A very late goal from Miguel Sansores probably preserved his manager's job, only a few days after the team's president made a very public statement backing him.
Week 10 ranking: 12
Derbies are always unpredictable, but it seemed like Puebla would have enough to beat Lobos BUAP at home, given that their opponents are one of the league's very worst squads. Despite the mismatch, Lobos hung in against their crosstown rivals and drew level towards the end of the game. A missed opportunity for sure.
Week 10 ranking: 11
Speaking of missed opportunities, Pachuca was unable to capitalize on a one-man advantage in Toluca against a reeling but talented team. However, Pako Ayestaran's team could not make the numbers work at the Nemesio Diez, and at times looked overwhelmed despite having more players on the pitch. In the end, a wonder goal eradicated any hopes of even walking away with a draw.
Week 10 ranking: 16
Tough loss at home against Morelia, especially after Walter Gonzalez had helped turned the tide for them against the game's opening goal, scored by Sebastian Ferreira. Miguel Sansores was able to score just seconds before the game ended to wrest all three points away.
Week 10 ranking: 10
Yes, they're a hard luck team, but at some point, Necaxa is going to need to put some measure of practicality ahead of their freewheeling style. Even against Veracruz, a historically terrible team this season even by their standards, Necaxa's strikers were unable to produce more than six shots on goal even on 65% of the possession.
Week 10 ranking: 15
On the other hand, Tijuana is getting results despite playing some of the ugliest soccer in the country. Against Queretaro, they seemed destined to lose after Camilo Sanvezzo scored the leveler from the penalty spot. They held on (at home!) for 30 minutes against a team that certainly deserved more. Yet, they walked away with a point.
Week 10 ranking: 16
Exciting draw at the Cuauhtemoc against their local enemies. In their last three games, Lobos BUAP has picked up seven of their 11 points this season. This would probably be worth celebrating if relegation was a certainty in Liga MX.
Week 10 ranking: 18
The only reason why they don't repeat at the bottom of the table is, because, they somehow grabbed a point off Necaxa at home despite giving up the lion's share of possession and producing just four shots on goal.
Week 10 ranking: 17
After a shocking 2-0 win against Toluca, the Atlas we know and love showed up in Torreon against the defending champs. Just two shots on target isn't going to cut it, usually. Their defense was once again porous, and their buildup play rarely yielded any chances for the increasingly desperate strikers.