Slow starts have a deadline of a few games in which teams and players can claim to be shaking off rust or just getting warmed up. That time is now past for Liga MX. The thick of the season has arrived. The time is now for the players who are going to make a mark on this season.
Here are the week's standouts for the Liga MX Best Xl.
Matias Alustiza: Pachuca, forward -- A hat trick will always gain notice, but Alustiza was especially pitiless in pounding Atlas into submission in a 3-1 victory. The Argentine scored twice in the opening half, then kept the pressure on with another goal in the second half. Atlas finally mustered a goal before the final whistle, but it was far too little and too late to even raise the question of denying the Pachuca the win.
Dorlan Pabon: Monterrey, forward -- Consistency is a hallmark of truly great players, and while the Colombian didn't have the gaudy goal total he registered last week, Pabon scored the one that truly mattered in a 1-0 victory over Puebla.
Fidel Martinez: University of Guadalajara, midfielder -- What a way for the Leones Negros to get their first win in Mexico's top flight this season, beating the defending champions Leon. The 1-0 victory was due largely to Martinez, whose timely goal finally gave the team's fans the win they craved for so long.
Hernan Burbano: Tigres, midfielder -- It only seemed like Burbano was everywhere versus Morelia because he contributed so much to the 1-5 victory. The Colombian contributed a direct assist and a goal, but he was influential on many other key plays as well. Basically, when he clicks into action, so does Tigres.
Mauro Cejas: Santos Laguna, midfielder -- The three goals Santos Laguna pasted on Toluca in a 3-0 win weren't all set up by Cejas, but the Argentine playmaker is responsible for many of the attacks generated by the squad. The team's number ten isn't flashy, but his precise passes are incisive.
Joao Rojas: Cruz Azul, midfielder -- A hungry Queretaro squad looking to bounce back ran into a desperate Cruz Azul squad needing full points more than ever. They got them thanks to Rojas, whose winning goal in the 2-1 match provided just the margin needed for victory.
Efrain Velarde: Monterrey, defender -- Speed kills, and ball skills on top of that are part of the reason that Velarde always occupies teams and contributes to dangerous attacks going forward.
Carlos Salcido: Chivas, defender -- There's not much in the way of good news these days for Chivas, but the veteran defender has settled in and is making sure that the team does not concede goals easily. Guadalajara held Veracruz to a scoreless draw. The problem is, Chivas still need to score goals to win.
Richard Ruiz: Tijuana Xolos, defender -- When the forwards can't get it done, it's time for the defenders to step up. Ruiz did exactly that to score off a Dario Benedetto feed and salvage a point for the Xolos in a 1-1 away game against Pumas.
Daniel Arreola: Pachuca, defender -- Pachuca's win appears easy in hindsight of the 3-1 victory over Atlas, but it was a tight game until Arreola's feed in the 44th minute that got things rolling for his squad.
Oscar Jimenez: Chiapas, goalkeeper -- Club America is a daunting opponent for any squad in La Liga, but Jimenez wasn't intimidated this past weekend. It was his saves which helped Chiapas hold on to a scoreless draw and break America's streak of winning every league game this season.