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 Posted by Tom Marshall
Aug 26, 2014

Liga MX power rankings: Tigres on the rise

Tigres sent out a warning to other Liga MX sides with their impressive 5-1 win over struggling Morelia.

It was a weekend of firsts in Round 6 of matches in the Apertura 2014, with Club America losing its first points, Atlas being defeated for the first time, and Leones Negros picking up their first win since winning promotion to the Liga MX.

Elsewhere, Morelia remains the only team without a win after getting thrashed 5-1 against Tigres on Friday, while Chivas' goalless streak is now at 274 minutes following the Guadalajara team's 0-0 draw against Veracruz.

But the biggest take so far from the Liga MX's Apertura is the lack of consistency, aside from America and Morelia, with teams performing well one week and falling off the next, or vice versa.

1. America (same): Pablo Aguilar and Michael Arroyo both went close for Las Aguilas in the 0-0 draw against Chiapas in the humidity of southern Mexico. At times, it was a stale affair, but the Mexico City team is now the only club that hasn't tasted defeat this season and remains the side to beat this Apertura.

2. Atlas (same): Despite a 3-1 loss to Pachuca, Atlas hold on to second place in the power rankings. The loss was a wake-up call -- as coach Tomas Boy stressed after the game -- and a reaction should be expected next weekend against Santos Laguna. At least, if Atlas is to be considered a genuine title challenger.

3. Monterrey (same): The 1-0 win over Puebla at home on Sunday was unspectacular, which explains why Los Rayados didn't go up in the power rankings. Manager Carlos Barra admitted that his team has to improve against better opposition. Anyone who watched the game will have come to the same conclusion.

4. Santos Laguna (+2): If there is a team (aside from America) with a little momentum, it is Santos Laguna, after consecutive wins. The 3-0 victory over Toluca was impressive both due to the quality of the opposition and because key Guerreros attacking figures Darwin Quintero, Javier Orozco and Andres Renteria all scored. That bodes well in erasing the memory of Oribe Peralta. Next up is a crucial test away at Atlas.

5. Tigres (+2): Friday's victory was a reminder of just how good Tigres can be. The challenge now is to be more consistently brilliant, instead of just showing it in flashes, something that undoubtedly frustrates the club's fans.

6. Pachuca (+3): A deserved and important victory for the Tuzos against Atlas emphasized that last season's final appearance wasn't a fluke. Pachuca is once again meshing proven experience (Walter Ayovi, Aquivaldo Mosquera, Oscar "Conejito" Perez) with some of Mexico's best young talent (Rodolfo Pizarro, Hirving Lozano, Dieter Villalpando). Having Matias Alustiza around to bang in a hat trick does no harm at all, either, and helps the club get over the loss of Enner Valencia.

7. Toluca (-3): If there is one team that sums up the inconsistencies of the Liga MX Apertura, it is Toluca. With two wins, two ties and two losses so far, the Diablos Rojos followed up a 3-0 victory over Pachuca in Week 5 with a 3-0 loss against Toluca on Friday. The quality is there, if Jose Cardozo's team can click into gear.

8. Chiapas (same): A solid home draw against America meant Chiapas became the first team to take points from the Aguilas. The result re-instilled confidence in a defense that had been breached too often the previous few weeks and proved this Chiapas team could still be the surprise of the Apertura.

9. Queretaro (-4): One point from its last two games has seen Queretaro slide down the power rankings. The defensive errors in the 2-1 loss to Cruz Azul on Saturday would've worried "Nacho" Ambriz ahead of a tough game against Monterrey on Friday.

10. Veracruz (same): Cristobal Ortega's team is very defensive in nature. The reward has been conceding only two goals, but the team has only one win from six games. Against Chivas on Saturday, Veracruz ceded the game to the away side late, inviting pressure and settling for the point. It is a dangerous game to play moving forward.

11. Cruz Azul (+2): It wasn't pretty, but Cruz Azul picked up a vital three points against Queretaro after a midweek loss to Chorrillo in the CONCACAF Champions League. This relieved some of the pressure on coach Luis Fernando Tena heading into Sunday's clash on the road to Chivas.

12. Tijuana (same): There are a few signs that Cesar Farias' Tijuana is starting to get warm in the Apertura. Xolos certainly deserved their point away at Pumas, and it could've been more aside from some poor finishing.

13. Leon (-2): It could've been a different story against Leones Negros if Edwin Hernandez hadn't got himself sent off in the 21st minute, but Leon's up-and-down season continued. The redeeming factor is that this Apertura is eerily similar to the past Clausura, when Leon sneaked into the playoffs and then went on to win the title.

14. Chivas (same): More goals, por favor! Chivas play decent football, pass the ball around well at times, and even create some chances, but it all means nothing if there is no end product. The pressure is increasing each week.

15. Pumas (+1): Guillermo Vazquez's return to the Pumas bench bodes well and coincided with an improved performance against Tijuana. But he has a lot of work to do to return the Mexico City university side to the top echelons of the Liga MX table.

16. Leones Negros (+2): At last, Leones Negros recorded their first win of the season to inject some belief into the club that it does belong in the first division. The three points also throw the relegation race wide open.

17. Puebla (-2): Jose Luis Sanchez Sola -- better known as Chelis -- is back, after Ruben Omar Romano left the club on Monday. The charismatic former jeweler made history in his first stint at the club and will be looking to instill the same team spirit as Puebla seek to avoid relegation. If nothing else, it should be a fun ride, especially with Chelis up against former employer Jorge Vergara's Chivas in the relegation battle.

18. Morelia (-1): Must do better. The Morelia ownership has to make a decision: stick or twist with coach Angel Comizzo. The Argentine is presiding over the youngest team in the Liga MX, and with relegation not an issue at present, it may be better to keep him on, although with too many more defeats like Friday's, patience will quickly run out.

Tom Marshall

Tom Marshall has been based in Guadalajara since 2008 and has specialized in writing about Mexican football ever since. As well as contributing to ESPN Insider's Mexico National Team blog (@ESPNtri), he co-hosts The Mexican Soccer Show podcast and can be found on twitter @MexicoWorldCup

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