Aguilas, Diablos rule the Liga MX roost

Toluca defender Haret Ortega gestures after scoring against his former team. Ortega scored twice as the Diablos handed América its first loss of the season. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
Toluca defender Haret Ortega gestures after scoring against his former team. Ortega scored twice as the Diablos handed América its first loss of the season. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) /
Liga MX Power Rankings 9
Monterrey has looked impressive in its past two games after suffering through a four-game winless streak. (Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

Through nine games of the Apertura 2021 season, the Liga MX table is still not shaking out as many pundits predicted. But as upsets recur each and every matchday, one wonders if they actually are upsets or if handicappers are simply miscalculating the strength of certain teams.

To wit: Atlas and Atlético de San Luis are in contention for first-round playoff byes, while last season’s finalist Santos Laguna might have to lower its sights to a wildcard berth. Two of last season’s semifinalists – Pachuca and Puebla – are currently on the outside looking in.

Matchday 9 results produced two big risers – Monterrey and FC Juárez – and two big losers – León and Tijuana.

After two impressive victories (Concacaf Champions League semifinals and the “Clásico Regiomontano”), the Rayados of Monterrey climbed into the Top 3 of the Liga MX Power Rankings. Also climbing three spots was FC Juárez after the Bravos handed León its first home loss of the season to win its second in a row.

Headed in the opposite direction, León slipped three rungs as a result of that loss to the Bravos, while Tijuana did the same after following its first “W” of the season with a 4-1 spanking at the hands of Atlético de San Luis

Liga MX Power Rankings

A quick reminder: the figure in parentheses after club names indicates that team’s movement related to the previous rankings.

1. America (—)

The Aguilas stubbed their toes in Toluca (first loss of the season), but with the “Super Clásico” on the horizon they have no time to wallow.

1. Toluca (—)

The Diablos are a surprise co-leader thanks to the most potent offense in Liga MX (17 goals). No time to rest on their laurels, however, as Monterrey is their next opponent.

3. Monterrey (+3)

Have the Rayados suddenly found their mojo? Ask Cruz Azul and the Tigres.

4. Atlas (+1)

The Zorros boast the stingiest defense in Liga MX (4 goals allowed) and the Julio Furch-Julián Quiñones tandem up front is beginning to click.

5. Tigres (–1)

Miguel Herrera’s men have every right to feel aggrieved after ref Fernando Hernández played a role in Monterrey’s clinching goal. But that defense is vulnerable and the offense looked discombobulated.

6. León (–3)

Did the Bravos catch the Esmeraldas looking ahead to Wednesday’s Leagues Cup final against Seattle? An inexcusable loss at home for “La Fiera.”

7. Cruz Azul (–1)

The defending champs are just treading water as injuries continue to prevent the Cementeros from rediscovering their title-winning form.

8. Atlético de San Luis (+2)

The Tuneros are the revelation of the Apertura 2021. They are looking like a genuine contender … to make the Liga MX playoffs, not to actually chase the trophy.

9. Santos Laguna (–1)

Are the Guerreros starting to chafe under the aggressive style of coach Guillermo Almada? Last year’s finalist is really underperforming this season.

10. Guadalajara (–1)

The Chivas are on a four-game unbeaten streak heading into the “Super Clásico.” So what do you do? You fire the coach, naturally.

11. Puebla (+1)

Coach Nicolás Larcamón is somehow squeezing results out of one of the lowest payrolls in Liga MX

12. Pachuca (–1)

Coach Paulo Pezzolano is on a very hot seat right now. If the Tuzos lose to lowly Necaxa this week, I don’t see how he survives the month.

13. Mazatlán FC (—)

The Cañoneros are a middle-of-the-road team playing like a middle-of-the-road team.

14. FC Juárez (+3)

The Bravos have now defeated the last two Liga MX champions in back-to-back games. Is “Tuca” Ferretti starting to work his magic at the border?

15. Querétaro (+1)

The Gallos Blancos routed Necaxa (who hasn’t?) to get their first win of the season, but followed that up with a dud against a lethargic Cruz Azul side. Coach Leo Ramos has his work cut out for him.

16. Necaxa (–1)

If the season were to end today, the Rayos would be in the playoffs. But Memo Vázquez’s club is on a three-game losing streak (its second of the season) and is playing like it has no clue.

17. Tijuana (–3)

The Xolos are vying with Necaxa and the Pumas for worst team in Liga MX and Robert Siboldi is hanging onto his job by a thread.

Next. Chivas drama overshadows Rayados. dark

18. UNAM (–2)

The Pumas are winning the race to the bottom and their next three games – at Tigres, vs Santos and at América – suggest that’s the only thing they’ll be winning heading into the October FIFA break.