Tigres climb into Top 4 for first time this season
Angel Mena is getting hot, rediscovering the form that led León to the No. 1 seed during the Clausura 2019 and that’s great news for La Fiera. Mena has scored in three consecutive games, including two splendid goals that were his first from open play since March 14.
The Esmeraldas have ridden a 9-game unbeaten streak and a league-best defense to the top of the Liga MX standings, a week after they rose to No. 1 in our Power Rankings.
The No. 5 Tigres had been mired in the middle of the table until coach “Tuca” Ferretti went against grain and turned to a pair of young playmakers. Desperate for offense, “Tuca” subbed out his favored veterans and sent Leo Fernández and Nicolás López into the fray. The resulting 3-game win streak has the Tigres in the hunt for a playoff bye.
Without further delay, here is the Playing for 90 Power Rankings after Matchday 12. The figure in parentheses after the team name indicates movement (same, up, down) related to the previous rankings.
1. León (—)
The Esmeraldas are looking like the Clausura 2019 juggernaut with their flowing offense and stingy defense. I’m not saying they’ll go on a 12-game wins streak, but coach Ignacio Ambriz has his team playing extraordinary fútbol.
2. Cruz Azul (+1)
The Cementeros fell out of first place in the Liga MX standings by settling for a scoreless draw against a wounded América team. Twenty shots on goal, but too many sprayed wildly. They were also deprived of a penalty.
3. América (+1)
The Aguilas lost goalie Guillermo Ochoa to a pre-game injury then saw two central defenders limp off during the match against Cruz Azul. No problem, Oscar Jiménez pulled on Ochoa’s gloves and put on a show.
4. Tigres (+1)
I was tempted to slot the Tigres above América, but finally relented. Coach “Tuca” Ferretti can convince me otherwise by remaining aggressive with his tactical formations.
5. UNAM (–3)
The Pumas complained about the lack of respect they’ve been given despite not losing a match until Week 11. After a tough loss to León, they nearly lost at home to the worst team in Liga MX albeit playing with 10 men for 75 minutes. They can shut us all up next weekend with a win against América.
6. Monterrey (—)
The Rayados find themselves this high in the Power Rankings only because of inconsistent performances by other teams and by virtue of their talented roster. But if they continue to under-perform, their playoff experience will be short-lived.
7. Pachuca (—)
The Tuzos brought in veteran strikers over the summer but none seems prepared to take up the scoring duties. This is a solid team that needs to find better offensive tactics.
8. Guadalajara (+1)
The Chivas again benefited from a questionable whistle that resulted in a penalty and an expulsion. However, they’ll be without skipper Jesús Molina, out for a month with strained knee ligaments.