Esmeraldas claim playoff berth with latest win
Three weekends remain in the Guardianes 2020 season and Liga MX fans are in for an exciting finish.
Since the Liguilla was expanded to 12 teams this season, not a single club has been eliminated.
Even last place Atlético de San Luis is still “in the hunt” for the postseason.
In addition to the battle just to make the playoffs, the fight over the Top 4 seeds – and a first-round bye – also adds drama to the stretch run.
Top-of-the-table León has actually clinched a bye because the Matchday 16 América-Tigres contest means only one of those teams can overcome their deficit in the standings. The red-hot Esmeraldas have a 6-point cushion over No. 2 UNAM and, more importantly a 10-point lead over No. 6 Monterrey. As such, León can finish no worse than 4th should they lose all three remaining games.
The teams that finish 5th through 8th will earn home-field advantage in the first round of the Liguilla and the Chivas, Pachuca and Santos Laguna could be duking it out for the No. 8 seed.
But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, have a look at the Liga MX Power Rankings after Matchday 14.
Some important movement took place in the bottom half as Necaxa soared 6 rungs up the ladder while the Gallos Blancos plummeted 4 spots. Meanwhile, Tijuana (down 3) and Mazatlán (up 3) are headed in opposite directions.
In the top half, injury-riddled América slipped while the two northern powerhouses – Tigres and Monterrey – climbed into position to nab top seeds.
Without further ado, here are this week’s Liga MX Power Rankings. The figure in parentheses after the team name reflects the club’s movement compared to last week’s rankings.
1. León (—)
The Esmeraldas are on an 11-game unbeaten streak, boast the stingiest defense in Liga MX and have an easy schedule left.
2. Tigres (—)
Tuca Ferretti’s club has five consecutive wins, outscoring their opponents 12-0. They seem primed to be León’s biggest challenger.
3. UNAM (+2)
The Pumas continue to confound the pundits, but they’ll be tested down the stretch (at Pachuca, vs. Guadalajara, at Cruz Azul).
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4. Monterrey (+2)
The Rayados are poised to make a late push for a top seed, but they face a heavy schedule. Monterrey plays Tijuana (on Oct. 21 and Nov. 4) in the Copa MX Final.
5. Cruz Azul (-1)
The Cementeros have picked a terrible time to go cold, suffering shut-outs in three consecutive games. And their remaining schedule (at Chivas, at Rayados, vs. Pumas) is the second-toughest in Liga MX!
6. América (-3)
The Aguilas are running out of healthy players. Already down three central defenders, coach Miguel Herrera watched playmaker Nico Benedetti re-injure his surgically repaired knee on Monday night.
7. Guadalajara (+2)
The Chivas are mathematically alive for a first-round playoff bye, but their schedule is identical to Cruz Azul. After hosting the Cementeros, they visit the Pumas before closing at home against Monterrey.
8. Santos (—)
The Guerreros have gone 3-1-0 in their past 4 to climb into the thick of the race for home-field advantage in the first round of the Liguilla.