Pumas slip one spot after suffering first loss of season
Not much movement in our Liga MX Power Rankings this week despite three key match-ups involving Top 10 teams.
The Tigres – winners over Querétaro – climbed three spots, while Pachuca (down 2) and Santos (up 2) were the only other teams to move more than 1 spot. The Gallos only slipped 1 spot after the loss.
León and UNAM switched spots after the Esmeraldas ended the Pumas’ unbeaten start to the Guardianes 2020 season, while neither América nor Guadalajara moved an inch after the Aguilas 1-0 win over the Chivas.
Two of those three contests were heavily influenced by red cards. Querétaro was holding its own on the road when striker Hugo Silveira was shown two yellow cards in quick succession and was banished before the half-hour mark. The Gallos held off the Tigres thrusts until a late flurry produced a 3-0 final score.
Monday night’s bout between the No. 1 and No. 2 teams lost considerable luster when UNAM goalie Alfredo Talavera was red-carded before halftime. The in-form keeper had made several spectacular saves as La Fiera was poking holes in the Pumas defense.
Reserve goalie Julio González came off the bench cold and was unable to stop the penalty kick caused by Talavera’s foul on Angel Mena. The penalty call was rather strict and did not merit a second yellow, but así es la vida en Liga MX.
The Esmeraldas then did what they do best – dance-and-jab, dance-and-jab – before landing a late knockout punch in minute 78.
Let’s get on to the Liga MX Power Rankings now. As always, the figure in parentheses after the team name reflects the movement compared to last week’s rankings.
The second line after the team name is the club’s record, total points, goals for and goals against.
1. León (+1)
7-3-1, 24 points, 14 GF, 7 GA
The Esmeraldas are playing the best futból in Liga MX and winger Ángel Mena seems to be rounding into top shape after battling niggling injuries for roughly a year. Captain Luis Montes is running the offense like a puppet-master and the defense is exceedingly stingy.
2. UNAM (–1)
6-4-1, 22 points, 20 GF, 10 GA
It’s always going to be hard to win if you lose your best player and the expulsion of goalie Alfredo Talavera basically made the outcome a foregone conclusion. Even so, sub Julio González did a very fine job between the pipes which should give him confidence next week against lowly Necaxa while “Tala” serves his suspension.
3. Cruz Azul (—)
8-1-2, 25 points, 20 GF, 9 GA
The Cementeros are atop the Liga MX table on points but have won in unconvincing fashion the past three weeks which comes on the heels of a stunning upset at Atlas. Coach Robert Siboldi has been tinkering with his line-up quite a bit, but he better not get it wrong this weekend with No. 4 América on tap.
4. América (—)
7-2-2, 23 points, 22 GF, 15 GA
The Aguilas did just enough to win the Super Clásico, edging the Chivas on the back of a brilliant goal by Gio dos Santos who got a measure of revenge after suffering that terrible injury a year ago against Guadalajara. Central defender Emannuel Aguilera limped off in the first half against the Chivas, but initial reports are that he should be available for the Cruz Azul game.